Nearly 40% of students throughout Malaysia do not have electronic devices: MoE

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Aug 18: A study on students’ readiness for e-learning revealed that some 36.9 per cent of students in Malaysia, including Sarawak, did not own electronic devices, to the detriment of effective online learning.

Deputy Minister of Education Senator Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon acknowledged that there were weaknesses in the implementation of home-based learning with teaching and learning being less effective compared to face to face education.

“As such, among the measures taken when schools reopened, are that teachers will reassess students’ proficiency and to take appropriate actions to ensure that students achieve a minimum level of proficiency in all subjects taken.

“The Ministry of Education (MOE) is also currently preparing a comprehensive plan to enhance digital education including home-based learning initiatives in the country.

“In addition, MOE is currently creating a home-based learning model as guidelines for teachers,” he said at the Dewan Rakyat in response to Lukanisman Awang Sauni (GPS-Sibuti) today.

In the study conducted from March 28 to April 2, Mah revealed that 6 per cent of students possessed personal computers while 9.3 per cent have laptops, 5.8 per cent have tablets and 46.5 per cent have smartphones.

“There are also students who possess more than one device for the use of online learning.

“Other issues preventing effective online learning include constraints to internet access which caused wholesome learning cannot take place uniformly among students,” he noted.

Mah however pointed out that when schools reopened on Aug 3, all students were able to follow face-to-face learning while home-based learning continued to be implemented for students which schools opted for phase reopening to ensure they can continue to learn.

“MOE is always working hard to ensure students have access to education including students in rural and remote areas as well as B40 children.

“To assist children facing internet connectivity issues and unavailability of suitable electronic devices for online learning, home-based learning is also implemented through educational TV and radio broadcasts as well as presentation of learning materials to students.

“MOE will continue to work hard to improve the effectiveness of home-based learning from time to time,” he added.

On whether the government had plans to come up with a loan scheme, especially to equip rural students or the B40 group students with ICT devices to enable learning, Mah stated that to enhance the digital education ecosystem in Malaysia, initiatives to improve digital education have been included in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0) study and digital economy plan.

“MOE also collaborates with the Ministry of Multimedia and Communication to increase educational TV broadcast and at the same time, guiding teachers in the implementation of teaching and learning using various latest applications,” he explained.

Lukanisman had emphasised that since Covid-19, while schools were becoming more dependent on digital technologies, this also raised the issue of digital gap and poverty gap between urban and rural areas.

He also urged for measures in the development of digital and telecommunication infrastructures for dilapidated schools in Sarawak and Sabah.

Meanwhile, on YTL Communications Sdn Bhd’s contract status which provided services comprising BestariNet (internet access and virtual learning environment to schools nationwide) and telco towers, Mah informed that the project has been terminated.—DayakDaily