KUALA LUMPUR, July 16 — Just 15 per cent of students had personal computers with which to access home-based learning lessons during the various movement control order, according to Senior Minister Radzi Jidin.
In a written parliamentary reply to Teo Nie Ching (PH-Kulai), the education minister said a survey of 670,118 parents of 893,331 students between March and April also found that 5.8 per cent only possessed a tablet computer while 46.5 per cent had to rely on smartphones.
“However, there were also 36.9 per cent of students who did not possess any device with which to follow online lessons,” he said.
Teo had asked the minister to state the effectiveness of home-based learning and its effects on students when schools were ordered closed.
Radzi explained that the lack of devices meant a significant portion of students could not effectively participate in the online classes, which were their only mode of learning for over three months.
“Additionally, there were also restrictions from the aspect of limited Internet access. These were among the most significant obstacles as learning was not holistic and universal to all students,” the minister said.
He then noted that online learning was a relatively new phenomenon — for educators, parents, and students — which meant there were still issues to be resolved and adjustments to be made.
Radzi said some matters that must be addressed going forward were broad based, such as the diversity of the students in terms of demographics and socio-economic standing that indirectly affected the efficacy of online learning.
However, he said his ministry would continue efforts to enhance online learning and teaching, including developing a comprehensive implementation strategy for digital classes.
Schools nationwide had been closed even before the initial MCO was imposed on March 18 and were only reopened yesterday.
After Radzi’s ministry announced that universities would remain closed until the end of the year, it had been thought that primary and secondary schools would also stay closed indefinitely.
During the closure, national school students received only very limited online classes in lieu of their traditional learning, leading to concerns about the quality of their education.