The government will implement a plan to supply laptops to all form five students sitting for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysian examination in Sarawak. According to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, this is to help bridge the digital divide between students and increase exposure to information technology.
These laptops will be provided on a rental or loan basis, although no concrete plans have been revealed yet. Najib said that the laptops would be returned at the end of each school year, and would later be passed on to the following year of students. The government hopes that this pilot project will result in improved academic performance.
Many details of the programme as still unknown, although this isn’t the first time that the government has tried to implement using computers in classrooms. The failed 1BestariNet was dogged by delays and multiple issues before it was allowed to die. It was also the first time that the government promised to supply laptops to schools.
However, the project for Sarawak is much smaller in scale; and may be somewhat easier to implement than the massive virtual learning environment infrastructure that the 1BestariNet called for.
Still, supplying laptops to the 33,000 fifth formers in the state will not be an easy task. Laptop makers offer a wider range low power budget machines these days, especially with Intel’s reintroduction of its Pentium and Celeron processors.