Thursday, 6 October 2016

PRESSURE BUILDS ON MUHYIDDIN OVER 1BESTARINET FIASCO

I haven't posted an IT.Scheiss commentary for almost four months now and my last IT.Scheiss post on the Ministry of Education's 1Bestarinet online learning system for close to 10,000 schools in Malaysia was almost a year ago in October 2015 - hmmm! how time flies.

http://itsheiss.blogspot.my/2015/10/teachers-union-says-1bestarinet-useless.html

Whilst my criticisms of the effectiveness of the project mainly involve socio-economic and infrastructural issues, on 4 October 2016, pro-government political blogger who goes by the name "Seademon" ("John F. Seademon") revisits a question raised by the Pan Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), alleging corruption on the part of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin, the then Minister of Education and former Deputy Prime Minister in awarding of the project to YTL.

For those who may be unaware, "John F. Seademon" actually is Captain Abdul Rahmat Omar, formerly of the Royal Malaysian Air Force and son of a former Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Hanif Omar.

Earlier in March 2015, Free Malaysia Today carries an article by Zairil Khir Johari, Democratic Action Party MP for Bukit Bendera, Penang about how the government had cut the budget on teacher training by RM350 million and instead allocated RM200 million for spending on information technology (IT) facilities in schools, which are used by as few as 1% (one percent) of students, according to Auditor-General’s 2013 Report and Zaril argues that such spending only benefits IT companies.

Zaril is the son of Tan Sri Mohd Khir Johari, a former Malaysian Minister of Education during the time of Malaysia's first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman.

As a matter of interest, Muhyiddin is no longer with UMNO, having gone over to the Tun Dr. Mahathir camp, hence the opposition, after having been sacked from UMNO in June 2016, over a year after Zaril's article  criticising 1Bestarinet.

Sure, there are complaints about the quality and dedication of teachers in Malaysia's schools today compared to the 1950s and 60s and this human problem needs to be solved, not throw IT at the problem and expect it to work magic.

Well, that my friends is the "IT.Scheiss" (IT shit), which this blog is all about.

Besides about 20 years of writing about the IT industry in Malaysia, I earlier worked in the IT industry in a technical and executive capacity for about 10 years, so they cannot bull-scheiss me with their marketing hype, hoohah, bull-scheiss and ballyhoo about how IT can be an effective substitute for good human teachers.


Articles follow below.

Read on

IT.Scheiss


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1BestariNet: When Will Muhyiddin Be Investigated?

by: seademon

Muhyiddin recently appeared on a PAS platform in Kuala Terengganu to speak about 1MDB etc.  He was invited on the capacity of a former Deputy Prime Minister before the formation of Parti Pribumi which he is a pro-tem President.  Not once did he address the long-standing question from especially the PAS members – how much did he make from the 1BestariNet scandal?

PAS first asked this question back in April 2012. Mahfuz Omar of PAS asked then why was the project not given to known telecommunications players such as Telekom Malaysia, Celcom or TimeDotCom who would be able to provide better Internet backbone to support the project.

The 1BestariNet project is a RM4.077 billion project over 15 years to provide 4G Internet connectivity as well as virtual learning environment for 9,924 schools nationwide.  YTL, a known favourite of Parti Pribumi’s founder Mahathir, secured a RM663 million package signed by Muhyiddin when he was the Minister of Education.  The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in 2015 concluded that the implementation of the First Phase of the project is a failure. Not even a project steering committee and project technical committee were established at ministry-level to ensure its smooth implementation.

Responding to the PAC report, Economic Advisor to the Concerned Social-Minded Association (Persatuan Minda Sosial Prihatin) Suud Ridzuan called for Muhyiddin, the then Deputy Prime Minister cum Minister of Education to step down to facilitate the investigation into the scandal.

“According to the PAC, this project is a failure. Why was there a need to spend so much for this program?” he asked. “I urge the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission to investigate.”

The BN-friendly portal www.pru14.tv also raised a few doubts about the project.  They are among others:

1. the installation of 1BestariNet Receiver Integrated System (1BRIS) communication towers that are supposed to transmit and receive high-speed wireless data in schools that do not have the appropriate LAN (Local Access Network) structure,

2. the refusal by YTL to pay RM1,200 per month to the Ministry of Education (MoE) as recommended by the Property Valuation and Service Department for each 1BRIS site. The MoE has thus far bowed down to YTL by allowing them to pay RM1,000 for each 1BRIS site instead;

3. the installation of the 1BRIS towers increased the electricity bill for each school by RM120 to RM150 monthly.  With YTL’s refusal to pay the RM500 for each 1BRIS tower site, the MoE would have to fork out between RM5.77 million to RM6.92 million each year until the expiration of the contract.

The portal also alleged Muhyiddin’s son-in-law’s involvement in the project, an allegation that has gone unanswered by Muhyiddin.

Perhaps the MACC should seriously look into this issue as it has gone almost forgotten.  Nabbing errant GLC office-holders may be a good thing, but letting a former senior Minister go free after hunderds of millions tangible rakyat‘s funds have been spent without tangible good results will not go down well with the majority.

https://seademon.wordpress.com/2016/10/04/1bestarinet-when-will-muhyiddin-be-investigated/

Zairil: Spend money on teachers, not machines
FMT Reporters

Huge IT projects only produce profit for companies, not better educations, says MP.

Zairil Khir Johari, copyGEORGE TOWN: Pointing out that good teachers make for good students, an MP has criticised the Education Ministry for wasting the “huge funds being pumped into the education sector” on machines instead of people.

Zairil Khir Johari, MP for Bukit Bendera, said the government had cut the budget for teachers training and wasted billions on computer hardware and software, only to see it collecting dust.

“If the government thinks that better computers will make up for the weakness of our teachers, then it has not learned its lesson from the PPSMI fiasco,” he said, referring to the now-defunct programme for teaching science and mathematics in English.

He pointed out that expenditure on teachers was cut by RM350 million in this years’ Budget, but the allocation on IT rose by RM200 million. Government spending would not produce better performance if the money went on unnecessary big-ticket IT projects that were rarely used. Instead, the government should invest in teachers and students.

“What is truly shocking is the government’s denial syndrome and misplaced sense of priorities as they continue to channel billions of taxpayers’ funds into non-productive areas such as big-ticket infrastructure projects that only benefit private technology suppliers at the expense of the people that really matter – our teachers and students,” Zairil said in a statement.

He was responding to remarks by education minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Thursday, when Muhyiddin had said he was “shocked” by Malaysia’s poor performance in international assessment tests, which had shown that Malaysia’s “education standards, although said to be good, is not good enough”.

Malaysia placed 52nd out of 65 countries ranked by OECD in its Pisa international assessment, while 38 per cent of Malaysian students had failed to achieve the minimum benchmark in the TIMSS internatonal mathematics and science assessment.

Zairil pointed out that the government invested more than RM3 billion on computer hardware and software meant for the Mathematics and Science in English programme, but “most of this investment ended up collecting dust in school storerooms” as the programme had been discontinued.

“The same fate appears to be awaiting the RM4.1 billion 1BestariNet project; the Auditor-General’s 2013 Report revealed that less than one per cent of students actually used the system even though close to 9,000 schools throughout the country had already been equipped with it.”

By contrast, the budget for 2015 had cut spending on professional development of teachers from RM1.54 billion to only RM961 million.

Funds for “in-service training” of teachers was drastically slashed from RM410 million last year to RM48 million, “leadership training” slashed by two-thirds from RM181 million to RM62 million; and “pre-service training” were trimmed from RM948 million to RM851 million.

New expenditure of RM250 million was earmarked for “transformation of education service officers,” but even so, total spending on teachers was only RM1.21 billion, a drop of RM350 million compared to the 2014 budget. However, funds for IT expenditure were increased by about RM200 million for this year.

It was truly shocking, he said, that the government continued to channel billions into non-productive projects that would only benefit technology companies at the expense of the people that really mattered – the teachers and students.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2015/03/14/zairil-spend-money-on-teachers-not-machines/

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