Saturday, July 4, 2009

No plans for e-book computers


KUALA LUMPUR: There are no plans by the Education Ministry to emulate the Terengganu government's move of providing e-book computers for students.

Director-general of Education Datuk Alimuddin Mohd Dom said such a move would be too expensive to apply in other states as there are five million students nationwide.

"Although the programme is a good initiative, we need the funds for other development projects such as boosting infrastructure in rural areas," he said.

Alimuddin said the ministry would have to evaluate the effectiveness of the programme for at least two years first before deciding.

"I am aware that schools in developed countries are using this method as a step towards exposing their students to information technology but it can be difficult to monitor," he added.
National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Lok Yim Pheng agreed.

"The money can be better utilised to improve facilities in rural schools ," she said.

Lok said it would also be difficult for teachers to monitor what sort of content the students would be downloading in the computer notebooks.

"They are definitely advantageous to the programme but what is more worrying is everything and anything is very accessible in cyberspace," she said.

Lok stressed the need to look after the welfare of teachers before efforts to improve the quality of education could take place.

For University Malaysia Perlis Environmental Engineering faculty dean Dr Khairul Nizar Ismail the programme is much more suited for secondary school students.

The e-book programme, is aimed at giving information and communications technology exposure to students as well as to lighten their schoolbags.

The Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka provides the digital textbooks installed in the laptop, but recently there have been reports of students downloading songs as well as unsavoury materials.NST

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