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Malaysia sets new digital learning ambitions

The Malaysian Ministry of Education (MOE) announced a refresh of its digital learning platform that is designed for teachers, students and educators.

Called DELIMa, which stands for “Digital Education Learning Initiative Malaysia”, the platform is set up through collaboration with US tech leaders.

The new DELIMa platform offers applications and services that are required by teachers and students within the Malaysian school system, which includes digital learning enabling tech and resources such as Google Classroom, Microsoft O365 and Apple Teacher Learning Centre.

According to a press release, DELIMa is averaging 1.7 million monthly active users to-date, encompassing 10,000 schools, 370,000 teachers and 2.5 million students in the system. This, the press release notes, makes it one of the largest national deployments in the world.

The press release also states that the DELIMa platform was envisioned with three guiding tenets. The first is Platform Democratisation – digital learning made accessible to all while supporting a multi-technology ecosystem. Secondly, Lifelong Learning – which denotes student-centric experiences allowing for learning to take place any time.

Lastly is Digital Transformation – described simply as MOE’s commitment to the country’s future digital needs.

In conjunction with the DELIMa launch, a webinar attended by the national community of Malaysian educators was organised by MOE featuring a keynote by Malaysia Ketua Pengarah Pelajaran (Director General of Education) on distance learning and the new normal for Malaysian education.

Country representatives from Google and Microsoft, along with an Apple Distinguished Educator, also touched on how technology is playing a vital role in Malaysia’s digital transformation.

Google’s country head for Malaysia stated that education and skills development are the key drivers of overall recovery post-movement control.

Whether the firm continues to adopt digital and distance learning, or embrace a hybrid schooling model, the company is committed to working with the Ministry of Education to keep Malaysia learning.

Adding to that, Microsoft Malaysia managing director stated that Malaysia Education Blueprint lays out access, quality, equity, unity and efficiency as the key aspirations for our education system.

The firm has long been advocates for technology to enable and enhance education around the world.

The integration of technology as seen through the launch of DELIMa is groundbreaking, both in terms of its scale and how uniquely it touches on every aspiration laid out in the Blueprint.

Digital education in Malaysia

While the coronavirus may have forced Malaysia’s schools to temporarily close, but when they reopen, science and technology learning will be firmly back on the government’s education agenda with the nation’s future set to be defined by STEM learning.

The National Council for Scientific and Research Development reported in 2018 that Malaysia would need 500,000 scientists and engineers by this year to cope with the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. However, at that point, it had only 70,000 registered engineers.

Exacerbating that problem is a shortage of students taking up STEM subjects at university. The government is trying to boost STEM education through its Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 that seeks an enhanced curriculum, the testing and training of teachers, and the use of blended learning models.

However, as a young country in which the average age is around 30, and with Internet penetration now as high as 82 per cent, Malaysia may have an ace up its sleeve as it seeks to bolster STEM learning in schools.

Of course, there’s no substitute for face-to-face teaching, but where schools, whether through lack of staff or resources, struggle to teach a full range of subjects such as Computer Science or Advanced Mathematics, they can look to online learning platforms to connect students to teachers around the world offering these subjects in virtual classrooms.

By leveraging cloud-based classrooms, supported by staff on the ground in schools, Malaysia can move quickly to widen access to internationally recognised, high-quality education.

Online tools can also provide an opportunity for Malaysian schools to introduce blended learning.

These platforms, which provide teachers with entire subject courses broken down into individual lessons they can plan out, allow them to set tasks and track pupils’ progress online.

Even when a school has fully- trained teachers across all STEM subjects, using online tools to flip classrooms greatly reduces the time teachers need to spend on course preparation, marking and reporting, freeing them up to focus on teaching in the classroom and guiding the learning experience for students.

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