By Emma Victoria
NOT all families in Sarawak longhouses can afford to buy modern gadgets such as a laptop, smartphone or a tablet and have the internet access to online learning in rural Sarawak.
However, most of them do own a television, hence, to increase the number of educational TV programmes could somewhat help rural students to catch up on their studies.
Sibu Kenyah Uma Baha Women’s Association chairman Umie Liau said most rural children do not have internet access at home or electronic devices to carry on with online learning.
“Thus, they were left out for nearly a year in 2020 as schools were closed almost throughout the year. Hence, any additional educational TV programmes can benefit the children as most of them have a television,” she said when contacted.
Citing her longhouse in Uma Baha, Bakun Resettlement Scheme, Sg Asap-Koyan, Belaga, she said most of the longhouse folks there also have access to Astro.
“Although not 100% of the longhouse residents own a television or have the access to Astro, the kids can always gather at someone’s house with the access and study together,” she said.
“People living in a same longhouse are like a big family and it is what communal living is all about – hence, it is a non-issue for the kids to study at a neighbour’s house,” she explained.
Umie, however could not deny the fact that the students still need to be equipped with gadgets and access for online learning – especially when it comes to discussing their homework or asking questions for further explanation from their teachers.
“This is something the government needs to look into… to ensure effective teaching and learning process for rural students who don’t have the access to study online,” she said.
Yesterday, it was reported that the government has agreed to increase the number of educational TV programmes to complement the online learning experience for students at home, as well as for examination students who are attending classes in school.
The education ministry said an additional two-hour slot would be added in the Didik TV programme on NTV7, specifically to help Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) 2020 candidates.
“This slot will focus on educational content to help SPM 2020 candidates prepare before facing the examination which will begin on Feb 22,” it said in a statement, adding that the additional programming was scheduled for weekdays from 3pm to 5pm.
The ministry said it will also be adding another five hours of programming on Saturdays and Sundays, from 9am to 12pm and 3pm to 5pm, respectively.