SEREMBAN: The government should speed up the distribution of free laptops or tablets to underprivileged students to ensure they do not continue to lag behind in their studies, says Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan (pic).
The Umno deputy president said these students should also be given free internet quota on a daily basis to follow online lessons as schools continued to remain closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said this had to be done quickly as online learning and teaching would continue for some time and some parents did not have the financial means to buy these devices.
"The value of education is priceless; ignorance is the price to pay should we fail to fulfil this duty.
"Parents are already feeling very burdened financially and we need to provide the needy students with these devices.
"We must not put a stop to the teaching and learning process regardless of the trials faced," he said in a statement on Thursday (Feb 18).
Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz, when tabling Budget 2021 on Nov 6, announced that government-linked companies and government-linked
investment companies would contribute RM150mil to a fund called Tabung Cerdik to provide laptops to 150,000 students in 500 schools as a pilot project.
Mohamad said it was also time the government started a digital revolution of the education system on a large scale.
This, he said, was because the national education system was ill-prepared to face the new age of education which emphasised digital technology.
"The Education Ministry must use this opportunity to reimagine and reengineer the national education sector as we are clearly lagging behind in this.
"Our teachers are not trained to teach virtually and the students not taught to study online.
"Parents are also burdened by this new mode of teaching and learning," he said, adding that digital education was here to stay and would become the new education paradigm in Malaysia.
Mohamad said teachers and students should also be encouraged to be imaginative and more creative.
"This is the time to unravel all the ideas, creativity, imagination and exploration of extraordinary methods in teaching and learning," he said, adding that the new mode of online learning and teaching should not be a platform limited to giving out assignments.