Media statement by MP for Kulai, Teo Nie Ching on 18 January 2021:
What is the latest planning for home-based learning and when will 150,000 laptops promised in Budget 2021 be ready for students?
Ministry of Education (MOE) has further postponed school opening. As of January 18, there is only 1 green zone in the whole Peninsular, ie Cameron Highland. At the same time, the whole of Melaka, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Selangor, Perlis and Pulau Pinang are red zones.
In contrast, when MOE made the decision to close all schools in November, there were 16 red zones in Peninsular. It is obvious that home-based learning is inevitable and we can predict that many students will be ordered not to return to school for the foreseeable future. Therefore it is crucial for us to know what is MOE’s latest planning for home-based Learning.
It was announced in the Budget 2021 Speech that GLCs and GLICs would contribute RM150 million into Tabung CERDIK to provide laptops to 150,000 students in 500 schools as a pilot project.
MOE conducted a survey involving 670,000 parents with a total of 900,000 pupils between March and April last year and found that:
- 6% of students have their own computers
- 5.67% own tablets
- 9% own laptops
- 46% have smartphones
However, there were also 36.9 per cent of students who did not possess ANY DEVICE with which to follow online lessons.
Therefore, to ensure that home-based learning can be carried out effectively, MOE should explain to the parents, especially those from the B40 group when these 150,000 laptops will be ready and distributed to the students.
At the same times, students are asked to download digital textbooks when they resume their school sessions.
When the digital textbook project was started, it was not meant to replace the hardcopy immediately, but to be used as an alternative. During PH times, digital textbooks were available for download while hardcopy were still given to the students.
I appreciate the effort of current MOE to introduce digital textbooks to the parents and students, but hardcopy should also be made available before school sessions resume because, as found out by the survey, nearly 37% of students do not possess any digital device. Even for those with digital device, prolonged usage of digital devices is not advisable for young children. Therefore, parents and students should be given the option to collect textbooks from school for their home-based learning.
MOE should know by now that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach which does not take into account variances in COVID cases, income level and digital gap, across districts and states is not going to be helpful and successful.
Teo Nie Ching
MP for Kulai