The role of technology in schools can be a divisive subject, with some calling it a distraction and others calling it an enabler of learning.
Two years ago, world-renowned Finnish education expert, Pasi Sahlberg, suggested the adoption of digital devices in schools may be impacting negatively on learning.
However, a new global survey on parental attitudes to investment in education technology shows that Malaysian parents consider investment in technology as the best ‘bang for buck’ for their fees, ahead of improved facilities and even teachers.
According to the findings of the Varkey Foundation’s Global Parents Survey, six-in-10 Malaysian parents say they would spend extra school funds on digital technologies compared to those who wanted funding for better facilities (45%).
Interestingly, parental preferences for greater funding towards technology trumped funding for extracurricular activities (43%), school resources (43%) and even teachers (42%).
“Some of the highest demand for spending additional funds on teachers was in Western Europe with 76% of parents in Germany – the highest of any country surveyed – 70% in the UK and 65 per cent in France,” the survey said.
“There was also high demand in the US (67%). The lowest demand for spending additional funds on teachers was in Indonesia (22%).”
The survey also found that 37% of Malaysian parents said that they spend seven hours or more a week helping their children with academic matters. Indian parents were the most involved, with 60% saying they did so.
Fourteen per cent of Malaysian parents said they were not sufficiently qualified to help their children with school work, behind China (24%) Singapore (18%) and Japan (17%).
On the preference for free-to-attend school management, 63% of Malaysian parents felt that private companies and teachers would do justice in running such schooling system.
“Malaysian parents were much happier for private companies to run free-to-attend schools, than parents in European countries, such as the UK (23%) and France (24%),” the survey said.
“Almost three quarters (74%) of Malaysian parents would approve of groups of teachers running free-to-attend schools, higher than in any other country surveyed, apart from India (82%).”