Budget 2020 ensures no OKU child will be denied education: Maszlee

12 Oct 2019 / 12:21 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The RM23 million allocation for schools to build facilities for special needs children (OKU) proves that the government is earnest in ensuring fair education opportunities for the group, says Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik (pix).

“This is good news for OKU children and their parents because for the first time, RM23 million has been set aside to enable us to implement the Zero Reject policy where no child will be denied an education,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby today.

The allocation was announced by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng in Budget 2020 today.

Maszlee, noting that the Education Ministry had been accorded the lion’s share of the budget, said he was very pleased and regard it as a responsibility to ensure that the funds reached the target group.

The ministry received an allocation of RM64.1 billion in Budget 2020, themed, ‘’Driving Growth and Equitable Outcomes Towards Shared Prosperity’’, compared to RM60.2 billion in 2019.

Meanwhile, Genius Kurnia Centre director Assoc Prof Dr Hasnah Toranyang who is also a Universiti Kebangsaaan Malaysia, Education Faculty lecturer said the allocation showed the government’s concern for special needs children to have the right to education.

“We had been waiting anxiously ever since Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik revealed that the ‘Zero Reject Policy’ would begin this year. This is because substantial funds would be needed to realise it.

“Looking at the budget today, we saw that the ministry is indeed sincere in wanting to ensure that no OKU student would be marginalised from school and the education system,” she told Bernama.

Meanwhile, Hasnah said physical aspects such as special lanes, ramps, and toilets for OKU students must also be taken into account in the implementation of any policy.

“Attitude can also be a hindrance. Maybe we can use part of the RM23 million to train teachers and educators so they could be better prepared and understand the approach in teaching OKU children,” she said.

Hopefully, she said, the RM5.9 billion allocation increase for technical and vocational education and training (TVET) would benefit OKU children with learning disability as well.

RM192 million was also allocated for the Professional Certification Programme under the Bumiputera Education Steering Foundation.

The foundation’s acting chief executive Ariff Ithnin said the funds would be optimised to produce more world class talented bumiputera.

“Throughout the seven years since its operation, the foundation had produced many internationally recognised talents and as a catalyst, our agency has produced 59 ‘World Class Winners’ in professional accounting certification,” he said.

Of the number, he said, 29 were world leading certified accounting technicians and members of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants’ (ACCA).

For 2020, the foundation would focus on key economic growth activities such as digital economy, Islamic financing and 4.0 technology industry, in line with the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030, he said. — Bernama

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