PETALING JAYA: Delays by local authorities and state governments are the reason why a two and a half year objective to implement the 1BestariNet project in 10,000 schools nationwide failed, said the Education Ministry.
It said the authorities and states were slow in approving the construction permits for towers in specific locations, needed by the RM4bil project aimed at providing 4G broadband connectivity and virtual learning environment (VLE) to the schools.
The ministry was responding to findings revealed by the third series of the 2013 Auditor-General’s report and said that it has been monitoring the contractors’ performances and status of the project’s implementation in all states since January.
“Regular checks have been carried out through an online system on the performance of the contractors and these matters were raised at all operations meetings,” the ministry said in a statement yesterday.
The project, awarded by the ministry to YTL Communications in 2011 and worth RM663mil, is part of a 15-year project that will cost RM4.077bil to complete.
According to the A-G’s report, the project was implemented before teachers and students were fully trained to utilise VLE.
“(As a result) VLE use by teachers, students and parents was very low – between 0.01% and 4.69%”, it said.
It also stated that proper school requirement studies were not conducted before the broadband system was installed.
The ministry explained that the contract specified that such a study should be carried out but this was not done by the contractors at all the schools.
“The contractors conducted a school requirement study on 430 of 1,600 schools that have a local area network (LAN).
“Of the remaining 8,289 schools that did not have a LAN, the contractors only conducted a study on 2,865 of these.
“Subsequently, we only received 430 written reports on this,” the ministry said, adding that YTL has been instructed to fulfil this obligation in the interim period.
The ministry also said it fined YTL RM2.4mil last month for a delay in providing broadband connectivity to 1,003 schools.
“The ministry arranged for an interim Internet service from other providers so that the teachers at the schools could continue conducting online learning activities,” it said.
The A-G’s report recommended that the ministry issue guidelines on VLE to all schools so that it can be optimised by teachers, students and parents.
An explanation on the right approach to teaching and learning using VLE would also be useful, the report said.