Education Ministry censured over slow Internet, halting computer class decisions

Lo speaking to reporters at the DUN Media Centre this afternoon.

KUCHING, July 13: Batu Kitang assemblyman Lo Khere Chiang today described as “stupid and ridiculous” the Education Ministry’s move to terminate Telekom Malaysia’s Unifi 100Mbps packages to some schools in the state and replace them with 1Mbps to 4Mbps lines from YTL Communications Sdn Bhd.

Lo is also furious that the same ministry had issued a directive to halt all computer classes in Chinese schools.

On the Internet line, Lo told a press conference that SJK (C) Chung Hua Batu 4 was one of the affected schools. Their Unifi line would be terminated at the end of this month.

“It will be replaced with three ridiculous wireless modems called ZoomYES, which has a speed ranging from 1Mbps to 4Mbps max. The service is provided by YTL Communication Sdn Bhd, and it was arranged by the Federal Ministry of Education.

“An ordinary household has at least 8Mbps internet speed. How can anyone expect to run any modern day computer with 1Mbps, let alone a school where many computers are expected to run at the same time,” he said at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Complex’s Media Centre.

Lo cautioned that such an ill-conceived move would affect the overall learning process in the affected schools.

“Our lower level English Language syllabus is being taught based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Teaching and learning of all other subjects cannot be done without this most basic 21st century education learning facility.

“I demand that the Ministry of Education provide adequate Internet speed to all our schools,” he insisted.

Lo said if the yearly RM15 billion oil revenue was returned to the state and Sarawak had autonomy over education, “we will be able to continue to assist Chinese schools like before, including all rural schools in Sarawak.”

He believed that with the oil revenue, the state government would be able to deliver affordable, robust and secure wireless platforms to all schools in the state.

On the scrapping of computer classes, Lo said it had caused one of the affected schools, SJK (C) Chung Hua Batu 4, to breach a four-year contract (2014-2018) to supply and maintain its Information and Computer Technology (ICT) facility, which had been confiscated by the supplier.

“A number of schools in my Batu Kitang constituency are progressing towards providing our classrooms with the necessary ICT facilities as educational tools in all areas of teaching and learning.

“The goal of attaining Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education is a priority in our education blueprint. However, it will not be possible without a tangible facility to start with — basic ICT infrastructure and internet accessibility,” he argued.

Lo opined that even though some of these were government-assisted schools, ICT equipment provided by the Education Ministry in these schools were more than 15-years-old and has either been disposed of or is already incompatible with present needs. So are the 40 odd notebooks supplied more than six years ago, as in the case of SJK (C) Chung Hua Batu 4.

He claimed that this abysmal decision had affected more than 1,000 schools and caused more than 2,000 computer teachers to lose their jobs.

“I demand that the PH (Pakatan Harapan) government allow at least four months of ‘soft landing’ to the affected Chinese schools,” he said. — DayakDaily