Press Statement by Member of Parliament for Kulai, Teo Nie Ching on 11 November 2020:
Online learning has become part and parcel of this ‘new normal’ that we are living in. Recently, the Ministry of Finance announced that GLCs and GLICs will be donating RM150 million to Tabung CERDIK. Furthermore, 150,000 students in 500 schools are expected to receive laptops in a pilot project which will help with the process of online learning.
This is a good initiative. However, in my opinion, this initiative is too few and too late. From 27 March until 2 April 2020, the Ministry of Education (MOE) conducted a Study on Student Readiness in Online Learning involving 670,118 respondents which were the parents of 893,331 students.
The study found that 36.9% of students doesn’t have any devices that would allow them to take part in online learning. It also showed that a majority of students weren’t able to effectively participate in online learning due to not having an appropriate device.
Moreover, there are also obstacles in getting access to the internet. As such makes comprehensive and uniformed learning to simply not be possible for all students.
We have a total of 4.7 million students that are attending primary and secondary schools. If 37% of them do not have any device to participate in online learning, that means a total of 1.7 million devices are needed.
150,000 students that will receive laptops in comparison to 1.7 million devices needed? What are MOE’s efforts to resolve this issue?
Furthermore, we are also uncertain as to when these donations from GLCs and GLICs will be received by Tabung CERDIK. Is it on January 2021? June 2021? Or even December 2021?
Therefore, I suggest that we use the RM85.5 million funds allocated to JASA for MOE to purchase devices for our students.
If we purchase tablets priced between RM600 to RM800 each, we will be getting 103,875 to 142,500 tablet units for them.
As what was said by the Finance Minister in his speech last Friday, the main objective of Budget 2021 is for the welfare of the rakyat.
Hence, I would like to urge the PN government to put aside political agendas and give priority to human capital development as well as student learning that is heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Teo Nie Ching
MP for Kulai