Inexpensive computers for students in rural areas


Kagan (black suit) having a chat with students after presenting Rasberry Pi’s to SK Telaga Air. – Bernamapic

KUCHING: More primary and secondary school students in Sarawak's rural areas will be connected to modern digital resources with the introduction of the “American Corner in a Box” project.

The pilot project introduced by the Sarawak State Library is to connect students and teachers in rural schools with poor Internet bandwidth, to modern digital resources.

The Charg d'Affaires of the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Edgard D. Kagan, today presented new digital resources to Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Telaga Air, about 40 km from here, the second school to be part of the project in Sarawak.

The first is Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Katibas, Song in Sibu Division.

Sarawak State Library Service Sector Head, Japri Bujang Masli said the project supplied schools with a Raspberry Pi (a credit card-sized computer that can connect to a monitor and keyboard) preloaded with a wide catalogue of information.

He said the resources available on the network included English language learning programmes, mathematics and Project Gutenberg resources.

“All of the resources can be accessed on the local network to help teachers supplement their lessons and schoolchildren develop their skills,” he said.

The small but very functional Rasberry Pi module that can function as a full fledged computer.
The small but very functional Rasberry Pi module that can function as a full fledged computer.

The basic cost of installing the whole system is only RM200. Pustaka Negeri Sarawak is collaborating with the US embassy to provide the equipment to more schools in Sarawak, especially those in the rural areas without Internet connection.

“This technology can help more people access information, hence narrowing the digital divide,” Japri said.

He said Pustaka Negeri Sarawak was currently working on some academic details as it wanted to install as many informative materials into the device, which students could access through their notebook and use in their daily studies.

“We have tested it with the teachers and students and it came out as very useful for them,” said Japri.

Meanwhile, Kagan when met at SK Telaga Air today, told Bernama that the embassy would supply more of the device to schools in Malaysia if the project was proven successful.

“This is the second in Sarawak and we are working with Pustaka Negeri Sarawak on the project. I wouldn’t know how many of the device we need in Sarawak. It will depend on how they're doing, how useful the device is and on feedback from the schools.

“It (the device) is still at the test phase now, our goal is to get more results because we want to see that it is tremendously useful for schools and the students.

“The ultimate goal is to gain knowledge, and people benefit from this,” he said. - BERNAMA

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Education , East Malaysia , American Corner

   

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