TAWAU: Tawau MP Datuk Christina Liew has urged the Federal Government to continue and include the distribution of free laptops to B40 students under the CerDik programme, in the 2022 Budget.
She said the programme, which is a part of the 2021 Budget, is greatly beneficial to students from lower-income group families who find it difficult to put food on the table, let alone buy laptops for their children to facilitate online learning as the ‘new normal’ of education.
CerDik is coined from two words – Cerita (story-telling) and Didik (educate) – meaning to educate through story-telling. The
programme is a collaborative pilot initiative of Yayasan Hasanah, working in partnership with the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and Ministry of Education (MOE).
Liew, who is also Api Api Assemblywoman, noted that according to the MOE, based on a survey, 37 percent of students in the country do not possess any electronic devices for online learning. “Which means 1.7 million students nationwide still do not have suitable digital devices for the online teaching and learning programme (PdP).”
According to her, 518 laptops (out of 150,000 laptops for 500 schools nationwide under the CerDik Programme) have been distributed to only two schools in Tawau – SK Taman Tawau (197) and SMK Balung (321).
“The number is definitely insufficient as there are many more needy students in my constituency, who are eligible to receive free laptops from the Government,” said the Tawau MP after being informed of the distribution by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in the Dewan Rakyat, recently.
The Tawau parliamentary constituency is extensive as it consists of three state constituencies – Sri Tanjung, Apas and Balung.
“Although Tawau is represented by the Opposition, we should keep politics out of education for the sake of the young generation. The well-being of schoolchildren transcends politics and should be given priority. I believe many students from B40 households might have been inadvertently left out from the CerDik Programme.
“The prolonged Covid-19 pandemic has inevitably raised the poverty rate in Malaysia in general, and Sabah in particular, causing millions of families to struggle for survival,” Liew said.