Wiser to assist students in buying proper laptops instead of giving them Raspberry Pi, says Dr Yii

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING, April 20: The government should look into ways to assist students in purchasing proper laptops for learning, instead of giving them Raspberry Pi computers which have limited functions.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said government funds ought to be spent wisely and not on Raspberry Pi computers that may not be user-friendly for both students and teachers.

As RM12 million was spent to buy about 10,000 Raspberry Pi computers to 1,265 primary schools in Sarawak in 2020, he urged the Sarawak government to provide a clear, transparent report on the usage of these computers to ensure there are no elements of wastage.


“The government must first reveal exactly how many units of these compact single board computers were purchased, how many were sent to each school, exactly how much was spent for each unit and which company received the contract to supply such devices to the Sarawak government to ensure there is no possible corruption during the procurement of these devices.

“More importantly, have these devices been properly used by the schools for the benefit of the students as it is not as ‘user-friendly’ and powerful as a normal PC or laptop which has become a necessity for students of every level,” he said in a statement today.

Dr Yii said he had received feedback that many teachers and school staff find it difficult to properly update or download required programmes to get the computers running, which led to the devices being put aside and not fully utilised.

While Raspberry Pi may be suitable for engineers and programmers to run programmes on a low-cost basis, he pointed out that the computers do not run on Windows or Mac OS which students and teachers are often used to.

“The key to effective education is to remove barriers, not add them and provide obstacles to learning.

“While I acknowledge the usefulness of a Raspberry Pi in many other instances, but I have since the beginning question the suitability of these Raspberry Pi to provide a conducive learning environment for our primary school students especially in semi-rural and rural areas of Sarawak,” he added.

He reiterated that the Sarawak government and the Minister of Education should justify their decision to buy such computers to review its effectiveness. — DayakDaily