By Nur Hijjat Baharuddin and NurFatimah Nasution Saleh
GOMBAK, 17 April 2021: “There is no meaning of development if the disabled people do not have access to education because sustainable development itself means everyone should be given access,” Director of Sejahtera Centre for Sustainability and Humanity, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zainal Abidin Sanusi said.
He was addressing a webinar on the topic “Quality Education and Disability Inclusion” held on Thursday (15 April) organised by Professional Speech Communication (COMM 3090) class.
Claiming that Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) emphasises the needs for education, Dr. Zainal Abidin said, “Education is the most important component.”
He said there are people out there who are different from us where they are in a disabled condition and cannot get access to all those things. “That is the reason the need for disabled person to be addressed,” he said.
“Education needs among disability people might help them to get access to all facilities and development we have nowadays,” he stressed.
He highlighted that the tagline or slogan “No one is left behind” has been used by the SDG4 to ensure the disabled people will not be left behind in any aspect because usually they are constantly being abandoned by society.
He shared, “The number of children who do not have access to education is 57 million, this is the reason why SDG4 emphasises on giving education. It is not about the high level of education, but it is about basic education, it is important especially for those in rural areas.”
He noted that the infrastructure costs to provide access to quality education is not cheap. The implementation or delivery for effectiveness is also something that it is not easy to be monitored and coordinated.
He further said that the nature and geography of Malaysia still have people living in rural areas where most of them cannot easily get access to education, which is why it is not easy to be monitored.
The government, he further noted, has taken necessary actions towards addressing this issue so that all people get access to quality education.
“Installing the internet substation in rural areas becomes one of the actions taken by the government, the purpose of which is to help the people get access to the internet to facilitate their access to education,” he added.
Besides, he shared, in terms of awareness in IIUM for example, all first-year students are made compulsory to take subjects on sustainable development. This is how to address this issue so that more people understand the concept of sustainability.
He also said that students do not have to understand what SDG is as long as they practice what the Islamic principles teach us because taking care of the environment is in fact in the Islamic pillars.
“We can achieve the objective, but we may not necessarily have a high level of understanding of what SDG is all about,” Dr. Zainal Abidin further said.
He urged the students to start showing concerns for the SDGs to make changes and contribute to protecting the planet. ***