KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 ― The Malaysian Academic Movement (Gerak) called on the government today to distribute the rest of the 150,000 laptops promised to students by the Ministry of Education (MoE) in February and to vaccinate teachers as soon as possible.

In a statement, Gerak said it was “appalled” that only some 13,000 of the laptops, pledged to students in 500 schools nationwide, have been distributed.

“The various movement control orders notwithstanding, MoE should have assessed the situation and worked out a strategy to get the devices to the needy students.

“If not the MoE, with its body of experts and departments, who else?” it said.

Gerak also disagree with the government's decision to close schools, saying that the decision was haphazard when the government’s online education initiatives were not effective.

It said the government must consequently enable schools and education-related institutions to reopen as soon as possible by prioritising vaccinations for teachers.

“We must treat all teachers, all educators, as front-liners.

“Gerak is appalled to know that, up until today, not all the teachers and educators are prioritized to receive any of the Covid-19 vaccines.

“The government is reportedly going to distribute more than 14 million doses of vaccine to all states in July. This provides the perfect opportunity for this government to right a wrong by prioritising education workers in this programme,” it said.

Gerak also called for a concrete and “well-thought-out” plan to open all educational institutions for the resumption of face-to-face teaching and learning after all teachers and staff have received the full amount of the needed vaccine doses.

On April 19, National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin promised that 500,000 teachers will be vaccinated during the programme's second phase — set to run between April and August.

Although it is unclear how many teachers have been vaccinated to date, three weeks ago, on June 6, Senior Education Minister Datuk Mohd Radzi Md Jidin said that over 70,000 teachers had received at least one dose of their respective vaccines.