State governments should offer free laptops to needy students as well

SABAH Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor recently announced that hardcore poor students sitting for their SPM, STPM and STAM examinations at the end of the year will get free laptops as part of the Sabah government’s Bantuan Ihsan Komputer (BAIK) programme.

Under the first phase of the initiative, some 10,000 units of laptops will be distributed from July 19 until Oct 18, and the selected recipients will be students whose parents or guardians are categorised as hardcore poor in the e-Kasih system.

This announcement is a relief to many Sabahans, especially those who have been left out of the home-based teaching and learning (PdPR) programme due to the lack of proper devices.

But will it be a stretch to ask other state governments to consider the same move?

After all, with the federal government’s promise to deliver 150,000 laptops to students from B40 (bottom 40 per cent income group) families hitting yet another snag, no one can say for sure when the affected students will receive their laptops (or if they ever will).

Yayasan Hasanah, the government-appointed secretariat of the CERDIK initiative, recently said 13,000 laptops have already been distributed to state education departments by government-linked companies (GLCs) and government-linked investment companies (GLICs).

Of the total, over 1,000 students have received their devices so far.

Based on the current supply chain capacity, CERDIK is targeting at least 50,000 students to receive their devices by end-May, with the balance 100,000 devices expected to be distributed by end-September 2021.

But the numbers certainly do not add up. Up until June 6, the Education Ministry, according to Senior Education Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin, had distributed nearly 13,000 devices to school children from the B40 group.

Radzi said the handover of the remainder of the 150,000 laptops will be completed by the end of September 2021.

But why wait until September, when the school year is almost over? Why not now, when the school session after the current mid-year break is expected to continue with PdPR until mid-July?

For this reason alone, it would definitely be a good idea for other state governments to emulate the Sabah state government and get their hands on their own laptops as well, not just for those who are sitting for their examinations but for others as well.

But why wait until September, when the school year is almost over? Why not now, when the school session after the current mid-year break is expected to continue with PdPR until mid-July?

For this reason alone, it would definitely be a good idea for other state governments to emulate the Sabah state government and get their hands on their own laptops as well, not just for those who are sitting for their examinations but for others as well.

In fact, this would mean that there is one less student out there who is struggling to cope with PdPR due to the lack of appropriate devices, and at the end of the day, that is what really matters. – June 15, 2021

 

Photo credit: Mashable SEA

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