BAU (Aug 4): The delivery of the first batch of Raspberry Pi computers for 344 primary schools, mostly in the rural or interior of Sarawak, has been completed, said Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Amar Michael Manyin Jawong.
He said the schools which already received these devices are under the jurisdiction of district education offices (PPD) of Baram, Belaga, Kapit, Song and Daro.
He revealed that the provision of the Raspberry Pi is now under its second batch covering 515 schools mostly in the sub-urban areas, and it had reached 73 per cent completion as of July.
According to Manyin, all 1,265 primary schools in Sarawak will be provided with the Raspberry Pi computers and its provision is now being carried out in three batches from May to December this year.
Funded by the state government through a RM12 million allocation under Projek Rakyat, he said the project aims to solve the lack of basic computer facilities in many primary schools.
He also said the allocation covers the cost of the devices and training for school personnel on basic operation of the computers, and each primary school is given between three to 25 units of computers depending on the school population.
“I hope all the teachers and pupils will make full use of the devices given to the schools.
“The Raspberry Pi and its ‘Internet-in-a-box’ function is a very powerful tool to improve the teaching and learning in schools, as it can bring knowledge and learning content to pupils who are offline or without internet access, for example anybody nearby with an old smartphone, tablet or computer.
“Teachers can also guide and help pupils to learn coding and programming through ‘Scratch’, an educational tool pre-loaded in the Raspberry Pi,” he said at the presentation of Raspberry Pi computers to schools under Bau district at the Bau Civic Centre yesterday.
The event saw the symbolic handing over of 288 units of Raspberry Pi computers to 40 primary schools in Bau including one at the Bau PPD office. The delivery of the computers to schools in Bau is expected to commence in the first week of September under Batch 3 of the Raspberry Pi provision project.
According to Manyin, all Raspberry Pi computers come in complete sets with monitor, keyboard and mouse, while the hardware is covered by a three-year manufacturer’s warranty and support service and 24/7 help desk support by Sarawak Information Systems Sdn Bhd (SAINS).
“In line with the State’s digital economy agenda, the government strongly encourages mastery of digital skills amongst the younger generations, as early as primary school.
“Early exposure to computers and ICT enables school pupils to be proficient with computers, to be taught computer-based technology and to be exposed to the digital world from an early age,” he said.
On another matter, Manyin said approximately 3,600 teachers in Sarawak will benefit from the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for Non-optionist Teachers in Science, Mathematics and English funded by the state government.
He pointed out the Sarawak state government has approved an allocation of RM6 million for this training programme which is implemented in collaboration with teacher education institutes in Sarawak and the State Education Department.
The move is expected to solve the problem of many non-option teachers who are now teaching subjects they were not trained for due to the unavailability of option teachers in their schools.
“Due to Covid-19 pandemic, the courses will be conducted mainly online and it is hoped to be completed before the end of this year (2021),” said Manyin.
Also present at the event were Tasik Biru assemblyman Dato Henry Harry Jinep, Serembu assemblyman Miro Simuh, Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research permanent secretary Kameri Affandi and Bau PPD acting officer Josephine Josy Nyogia.- The Borneo Post