KOTA KINABALU: Better Internet coverage and computer facilities in rural areas should be a major priority for Malaysia, with e-learning becoming a major education tool due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Parti Warisan Sabah deputy women's wing chief Joanna Henley Rampas (pic) said that there was a need to close the gap between rural and urban areas in terms of accessibility to education via information technology.
"Now more than ever, we have to prioritise Internet coverage and computer facilities at all rural schools in Malaysia.
"Unless the chasm in the technology and education accessibility is narrowed, this socio-economic equality will be further aggravated," she said.
In Sabah, she said the biggest challenge was to meet the needs of students who do not have reliable Internet access and were struggling to participate in digital learning.
She said that more then 70% of students living in rural and remote islands of Sabah do not have sufficient access to IT.
"It is impeding online learning classes and they lose out on quality education," Joanna said.
She noted that most schools in affected areas were improvising to continue learning, but added that the standard of the experience relies on the level and quality of digital access.
Joanna said that the Covid-19 pandemic was changing the face of the education system with the closure of schools – not only in Malaysia but also worldwide.
She noted that there had been a surge in Internet usage with education technology recently.
"This is a new path we've never trodden on before, and this generation is in fact opening a new road of technological and digitalised transfiguration within all industries across the globe," she said, adding that it was important for all children in a developing country like Malaysia not to be left behind.
"The biggest challenge in this new education and learning experience is the wide gap of Internet and/or technology access, which has to be addressed," she added.
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