KUCHING, Nov 23: Sarawak Education, Science and Technological Research Ministry has decided to procure Raspberry Pi computer for students in the State because it provides more than 40 per cent cost reduction as compared to a standard personal computer or laptop.
“This saving means that more students can benefit from our limited budget. Each Raspberry Pi together with a 19.5-inch monitor, keyboard, mouse and preloaded software will cost RM 1,191.00 as compared to Intel NUC Mini PC which costs about RM 1,700 plus another RM 300 to RM 500 for each Microsoft Office license.
“Although Raspberry Pi does not use Microsoft Office software, it comes with preinstalled Open Source Office Suite, which is highly compatible with Microsoft Office Software. Hence students can learn to use necessary office software such as Words, Power-Point and Excel as much with a Raspberry Pi as they would with a standard PC,” said Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Amar Michael Manyin.
Manyin said although Raspberry Pi does not use Microsoft Office software, it comes with preinstalled Open Source Office Suite, which is highly compatible with Microsoft Office Software. Students can learn to use necessary office software such as Words, Power-Point and Excel as much with a Raspberry Pi as they would with a standard PC.
“The Raspberry Pi has a unique function called ‘internet-in-a-box’ which enables wireless access point with preloaded learning content. It works as an intranet network and ensures learning can still happen even where there no internet connectivity,” said Manyin.
Manyin further pointed out that the Raspberry Pi will serve as a platform to promote and strengthen innovation culture in schools.
“Students can learn coding and programming and explore innovative ideas through project-based learning beyond the classroom. There are already several schools that are using Raspberry Pi to do their projects for national and international competitions. This is crucial to nurture a culture of creativity and innovation among our students.
“Both Raspberry Pi and Standard PC have different complexity for multiple applications. However, for the usage of primary schools’ students where the emphasis is on basic ICT skills, Raspberry Pi will do the job well,” said Manyin in a press statement.
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.— DayakDaily