Phase one of the program’s application deadline ended on the 15th of May 2022. Today it has been two months and applicants are complaining that they have not received any feedback on the application for a tablet. Yet, classes are ongoing and the government is doing little to address the “loss generation” issue in the education sector post pandemic. We want to know how many applicants have applied, how many qualify and when will those who qualify receive these promised tablets?
On May 9, Communications and Multimedia Minister (MenKOMM) Tan Sri Annuar Musa announced that the first batch of students would receive their tablets under Peranti Siswa Keluarga Malaysia programme in the second week of June.
However, the tender for the PerantiSiswa initiative has been reopened and therefore KKMM would only begin distributing in July.
It will now be 3rd week into July and we have not seen the first phase of the PerantiSiswa program take place. Applicants are eager and parents of applicants are hopeful that their children will be able to cope just fine despite the post-pandemic challenges.
Presently, we have no form of guarantee from the government that the tablets will indeed be distributed by July. In the meantime, can the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia reassure students? This is particularly significant to those who have applied so a response and an acknowledgement will reassure students of some form of assistance in the near future.
However, the issue is also the tenability of tablets for students pursuing higher education. In my previous statement regarding this, I had already raised that the government should provide a laptop to students belonging to the B40 category instead of providing tablets. Laptops are more conducive for learning and submission of assignments especially for university students. It was announced in Budget 2022 that: “In order to ensure that education for B40 students is not disrupted, the Government in collaboration with selected telecommunication companies will implement the PerantiSiswa Keluarga Malaysia initiative to supply a tablet to every B40 student in institutions of higher learning. For this purpose, the Government will provide an allocation of RM450 million in addition to a commitment of RM65 million from the telecommunication companies. Insya-Allah, a total of 600,000 students from B40 families are expected to benefit from this initiative.”
The Government in Budget 2021 allocated RM150 million to provide laptops to 150,000 students. Why then downgrade this in Budget 2022 to providing tablets to university students but continue to give laptops to primary and secondary school students? What’s the rationale behind such a decision?