Digital literacy, cybersecurity education sorely needed: Maszlee

 KUALA LUMPUR – Digital education and cybersecurity must be taught in schools to minimise digital illiteracy in the country, said Maszlee Malik (Simpang Renggam-Independent). 

Speaking at the Dewan Rakyat today, he said that as the government initially tackled the problem of illiteracy following the country's independence, it must now tackle the problem of digital illiteracy. 

“Whether we like it or not, digital literacy is a necessity for people in the 21st century. 

“Digital illiteracy is a big issue, especially when the country is adapting to the fourth industrial revolution. 

“The people’s dependency on digital technology today forces us to ensure the country’s digital illiteracy rate is reduced. 

“Digital illiteracy would make an individual easy prey to criminal scams, abuse, human trafficking and other types of frauds, crimes, and manipulation of the cyber world,” he said. 

On the other hand, he said the digitally literate could improve their economic status using applicable technologies for business, investment, and income generation via the gig economy. 

As such, the former education minister urged the government to take the issue of digital literacy education seriously, saying that all schools must have cybersecurity and digital literacy education as part of their curricula. 

He said education institutions must also make digital and cybersecurity subjects compulsory and available in courses they offer so that Malaysians become digitally literate. 

“We must remember that cyber-awareness is needed to ensure that the community lives in harmony. 

“Fake news and the spreading of racist sentiments and accusations could destroy the government and country. 

“This can be avoided if the people are equipped with a high level of digital and cybersecurity awareness,” he added. 

Maszlee urged the Communication and Multimedia Ministry to adopt an innovative approach to speed up the widening of internet connectivity in the country. 

He said the ministry must prepare at least 100kbps broadband for each school and educational institution, and mandate telecommunication providers to provide schools equal internet coverage.

“Internet coverage must reach all rooms needed for teaching and learning sessions, including the classrooms and laboratories,” he said. 

On sexual harassment cases in schools, Maszlee said he supported the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill’s presentation and approval in Parliament as soon as possible. 

He said since 2011, the Education Ministry has been using its standard operating procedures for student discipline and a guideline to handle sexual harassment cases among students. 

However, he said the SOPs and guidelines no longer fit with development today and must be replaced with a new one in line with Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017. – The Vibes, September 20, 2021

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