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KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 — Malaysia will focus on a learning system that is technology-centric with an emphasis on the English language, Education Minister Maszlee Malik said today.

In an interview published in Malay daily Sinar Harian, Maszlee said the focus is in line with the aspirations of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“The importance of people mastering the English language cannot be denied.

“The freedom of choice should be by the parents and students but if we look into the country's education plan, there is a focus on the need to master multiple languages.

“Therefore, we do not see this as an issue with the English language only, but it is about Malaysians embracing different languages and ethnicities to be our strength, such as training an individual who can speak more than two languages,” he told the local daily.

Maszlee said an education system that is based on technology would also help ease the burden of both students and teachers.

Citing his own personal experience as an academic, the Simpang Renggam MP said he had felt the load before and therefore would look into how other education systems in developed countries, such as Finland, could be adopted here.

“There, their early schooling years are known as ‘formative years’, where it is more about building personality rather than burden the students with examinations or many books.

“We want an early education system that is more focused on the concept of gathering information, critical thinking, as well as for us to study how to bring out the humanity in them,” he said.

Maszlee said the new government would create a culture within the education system that is characterised by the three elements of joy, affection and mutual respect.

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