Direct all questions to ministry, not media to avoid misleading the public, says Manyin

From Left: Manyin and Dr Yii.

KUCHING, Nov 23: Education, Science and Technological Research Ministry hopes all questions on the ministry’s programmes and activities may be directed to the ministry instead of highlighting them in the media and mislead the public.

Its minister Datuk Amar Michael Manyin said the ministry is very open about all its activities and will be happy to respond to any queries and comments.

“To avoid misleading the public, the ministry hopes that all questions and comments about its programmes and activities are directed to the ministry first instead of highlighting them in the press or social media.

“Programmes that can contribute to enhance our student’s performance and reduce urban- rural divide should not be used as political capital to earn cheap publicity,” said Manyin in a press statement today.

The press statement was issued in response to the criticism of Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii, who believed that Raspberry Pi computer is not suitable for students and teachers as it does not run Microsoft’s Windows or Apple’s Mac operating system (OS).

Dr Yii said Raspberry Pi uses Linux OS called Raspbian, which many ordinary computer users are not familiar with as compared to Windows or Mac OS.

Manyin said the Sarawak government does not need to justify to Dr Yii since it is the prerogative of the State government to implement projects that benefit the rakyat.

However, for the public interest, the ministry would like to clarify the provision of Raspberry Pi to all primary schools in Sarawak, he added.

He said the State government has always been serious in nurturing an innovation culture and adopting ICT tools in teaching and learning in schools. However, this must take into consideration the students’ capacity and limitation through the use of appropriate technology platform.

The Sarawak government has appointed Sarawak Information System (SAINS), which is wholly owned by the State government, to supply a total of about 10,100 Pi packages to 1,265 primary schools, added Manyin.

Each package will consist of a Raspberry Pi 4 4G preloaded with an open-source office suite, a 19.5-inch monitor, one set of keyboard and mouse, and 64 GB Micro SD Card.

The package will include supply, delivery, and installation of the computers in the schools, training of teachers, plus three-year warranty for labour and parts. The warranty will relief teachers and students of worry as there will be a one-to-one replacement should there be any breakdowns.

The number of raspberry pi allocated to each school ranges from four to 30 units depending on their number of students.

Besides, the training provided to the teachers will include setting up and minor maintenance of the raspberry pi computer, using an open-source office suite, coding and programming, and internet browsing. SAINS will also provide a 24-7 Help Desk to provide first-level assistance when needed. There is no limit to the number of cases that can be logged to SAINS Contact Centre.

“SAINS is a very reliable and experienced ICT service provider to the State government, and we are confident of their ability and capability to implement this project successfully and provide the necessary services to the schools whenever needed,” said Manyin who explained clearly the reasons why the Sarawak government prefers Raspberry Pi instead of other more famous brands.

For the information of the public, he said Raspberry Pi is extensively used in primary schools throughout Great Britain, as well as in the United States and some countries in Africa and South America.

“The use of Raspberry Pi for educational purposes is gaining popularity internationally. The introduction of an alternative platform to our young children will prepare them to be not just users of technology but also as creators of new technologies.

“The Ministry of Education, Science, and Technological Research will complement the provision of the ICT tools with training for both students and teachers that will empower them to use the technology widely.

“Our objective of this programme is very clear. We want to ensure that all young Sarawakians are given the opportunity to learn and develop ICT skills as early as possible and empower them to use ICT to learn more effectively. The ministry has no ulterior motive of wanting to profit from this programme,” said Manyin.— DayakDaily