50 per cent of students in Sarawak unable to follow online learning

Datuk Amar Michael Manyin Jawong

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, June 11: More than 50 per cent of students in Sarawak have no internet access or electronic devices to follow online learning at home after schools closed and classes disrupted due to Movement Control Order (MCO).

Highlighting this, Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Datuk Seri Micheal Manyin Jawong emphasised that online learning or e-learning was not practical nor possible in Sarawak.

“E-learning is not applicable to Sarawak because more than 50 per cent of our students do not have internet access,” he told a press conference on schools reopening at his Ministry in Baitulmakmur Building here today.

Manyin pointed out that this issue was not only affecting rural students but also urban students who have no computers or tablets to benefit from online learning.

“The reason is because parents could not afford to get children a computer.

“For rural areas with no internet connection, students with tablets cannot even use it to follow online classes,” he said.

He noted that a lot of people have raised this issue and urged for non exam students including primary schools to go back to normal lessons.

Manyin added that the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) will be holding a dialogue to discuss this problem tomorrow (June 12).

Meanwhile, online learning has been touted as an alternative to lessons in physical classrooms as all schools had to shut down to help curb the spread of Covid-19.

Schools nationwide have been closed for three months since MCO kicked in on March 18 with two national-level examinations for Year 6 students (UPSR) in the primary schools and Form 3 students (PT3) in secondary schools called off this year.

Other public examinations namely SPM and STPM have been postponed.

Education Minister Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin yesterday (June 10) announced that schools will reopen starting June 24 with students sitting for public and international examinations being the first batch of learners to return to classes.

They include students sitting for Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), Sijil Vokasional Malaysia (SVM), Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) and Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia (STAM) as well as international examinations.

In Sarawak, this will involve 34,306 Form Five students and 6,782 Upper Six students in 188 secondary schools including Sekolah Agama, Technical Schools and Vocational Colleges.—DayakDaily