Penang initiates special task force for education


THE Penang government has announced the formation of an ‘E-Learning Computer Program’ Task Force dedicated to developing the education sector in a new normal.


Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the task force, consisting of government agencies, private corporations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and dedicated individuals, aims to ensure that the education of students in the state is not compromised.


“As a state that has always priorities human capital growth, we realise that many educational activities have to be implemented online to adapt with the new normal due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


“However, there is no denying that there are some challenges to be faced such as internet access, lack of proper equipment and hardware, low computer literacy among students, parents, teachers and so on.


“Therefore, under the E-Learning Computer Program Task Force, various initiatives will be implemented to tackle these challenges,” he told the public via Facebook Live on his Facebook page today.


The initiatives include:


1. Computer device loan scheme.


2. Used computer grant scheme.


3. Technical support and maintenance.


4. Computer literacy training programmes.


5. Empowerment of communities through e-dialogue and e-forums.


6. Purchase of computer devices at discounted prices and interest-free instalment scheme.


All this is to ensure that the children of Penang can make the transition to the e-learning system smoothly.


“Under the computer device loan scheme, we are delighted to obtain contributions from several corporations such as Intel Malaysia, SNS Network (M) Sdn Bhd, Acer, PITH Computer and Lenovo.


“These corporations have provided computer devices to be lent to qualified students who are recommended by their schools,” he added.


To date, Chow said Intel Malaysia has contributed RM250,000 for the purchase of 120 laptops, SNS Network has contributed 15 laptops, while Lenovo, PITH and Acer each has contributed 10 laptops for the purpose of the scheme.


“Next, under the used computer grant scheme, used computers will be collected and repaired by Swisspac Resources Sdn Bhd and it will then be donated free of charge to eligible students.


“As of today, five qualified students will receive their respective computers under the implemented scheme.


“For maintenance and online training services, it is free of charge to those facing technical difficulties. All further details can be found on the Facebook page of the Penang Chinese and Mission Schools Affairs Coordinating Committee (PCMSACC),” Chow said.


According to Chow, students who come from the middle income family can get discounted prices for computer devices from participating companies.


“The discounted prices starting from RM199. Zero percent interest instalment is also offered to those in need according to the terms set,” he said.


At the same time, Chow also urged the corporate sector as well as the public to donate their old computers to the Penang Science Cluster (PSC) to be loaned, or to Swisspac for repairs to be able to distribute the computers to students in need.


Chow said the state government would also empower communities in the education sector through regular e-dialogue or e-forum.


To date, PCMSACC had organised three e-forums. Scholars, teachers, principals, leaders and members of the school board both local and overseas such as Hong Kong and Taiwan were invited to share their experiences.


An e-forum titled “Post Covid-19 Lockdown: School Reopening – Are You Ready?” which will involve speakers from Japan, Sweden and Denmark will be broadcasted live on the Buletin Mutiara Facebook page, the state government’s official publication site on May 29 at 4pm.


Chow said the Penang government also will continue to strive to ensure that the state remains competitive in the new normal and that all Penangites regardless of race, religion, gender, age or social class will not be left behind and affected by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.


Regarding the PgCare application that was launched on May 15, Chow said until today, the application has registered more than 8,400 business premises, reached nearly 170,000 users and recorded nearly 302,000 check-ins.


At the end of his speech, Chow also wished the Muslim community in the state ‘Salam Aidilfitri’ in view of the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr celebration.


He also encouraged all Penangites to continue to apply preventive measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 and maintain the ‘green zone’ status.


Story by Riadz Akmal
Pix by Darwina Mohd Daud
Video by Noor Siti Nabilah Noorazis