Students were excited to take a photo with Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein after the Defence Ministry’s Education Excellence Award here at Wisma Perwira today. NSTP Pic by SAIRIEN NAFIS.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Defence Ministry is formulating a plan to enhance the quality of education received by the children of serving and former Armed Forces personnel.

Its minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said among the initiatives presented to him as part of the Education Blueprint Agenda is the development of more school facilities at Armed Forces camps; the setting up of an education fund; and the building of nurseries.

"A Task Force has been set up to fine-tune the initiatives before they are executed, so that necessary assessments could be made to ensure each and every initiative will directly impact the target group.

"(The initiatives) will add value to the children's (education), apart from giving their parents peace of mind while on duty. This effort is to give the (Armed Forces the) recognition they deserve, as well as to lessen their financial burden," he said at the ministry's Education Excellence Award here today.

The event saw Hishammuddin launching the Armed Forces’ online learning centre which caters to 1,784 Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah candidates, 1,312 Pentaksiran Peperiksaan Tingkatan 3 candidates, and 836 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia candidates.

The event also highlighted that, as part of the Blueprint, forty-five tuition centres were built at Armed Forces camps and schools nationwide.

Meanwhile, on the search and rescue effort for 10 sailors of the USS John S. McCain destroyer in the Straits of Melaka, Hishammuddin said the US has expressed its gratitude to Malaysia for coming to its aid.

"I met with the US Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Scott H. Swift yesterday. He expressed his appreciation for the initiatives taken by our navy and air force.

“It is during trying times like these that we know who our friends are, and who is there merely for lip service," he said.

When asked to comment on the proposed setting up of a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to re-investigate the Memali incident, Hishammuddin said it is important for the public to learn from the incident to ensure that such a tragedy does not recur.

"If we need to learn through the setting-up of an RCI, so be it. But the lessons need to be constructive. This is so we can take heed from the past.

"(But) what we need to focus on are the threats today – like the Islamic State," he added.