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KOTA KINABALU, Nov 20, 2014:

An ongoing international conference, which attracted more than 100 foreign delegates to come and talk on lifelong education, proves that Sabah is indeed a safe state.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said the participants, who converged for the 3rd Lifelong International Conference 2014 (3LInC’14) need not worry, and may deliberate on their topics of discussion in peace.

Masidi made the comment, slamming Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, who recently stated several areas in Sabah were unsafe, and that he would not order his officials abroad to promote Sabah as he could not guarantee tourists’ safety until the two kidnapping cases were solved.

Since Nazri’s negative statement on Sabah, many had come forward to slam the minister, describing it insensitive and an unfair remark.

A total of 115 delegates from all over Malaysia, Indonesia, Oman, Thailand and Qatar attended the two-day event, organised by Universiti Utara Malaysia’s (UUM) Executive Development Centre (EDC).

Previously it was held in Kuala Lumpur in 2010 and Bangkok in 2012.

On another note, Masidi disclosed that more Malaysians were going back to school to be better trained and knowledgeable, attributing it to many public and private learning institutions available to meet their needs.

Masidi, who is also the Minister in charge-of Education in Sabah, in disclosing this, said the change in society’s attitude was essential to effectively promote lifelong learning.

“Education does not stop after we leave high school, or even college.

“It has to be ongoing, and continuous,” said Masidi at the launch of 3LInC’14, here, today, adding that learning was part and parcel of everyday living, and would only stop when a person stopped breathing.

He said the older one became, the need for education became greater, thus the need to continuously engage and learn new information, which he regarded was the most effective treatment for forgetfulness.

Taking Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as an example, he said the nation’s former premier took some time off from his busy schedule to learn carpentry, stressing that the ability to learn new skills throughout one’s lifetime was the best bet to ensure that one continued to be gainfully employed.

“For some, lifelong learning provides a second chance to pursue higher education after they missed the first chance to pursue higher education due to various constraints.

“The challenge is how to get more people from different walks of life to learn continuously.

“For this purpose, we need to increase awareness and participation of people in lifelong learning,” said Masidi.

He said a synergy between the public and private sectors, as well as relevant government agencies, would facilitate in achieving the promotion and provision of lifelong learning opportunities to the society, bringing about a more equitable social framework and new solutions to improving the related programmes.

Masidi stressed the concept that promoted an ongoing learning activity would lead to the improvement of an individual, the betterment of society at large and an investment in human capital.

“But what’s important for us to realise here is that in order for lifelong learning to be effective, there must be a paradigm shift or change in the attitude of society.”

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