Students need laptops and handphones to follow lessons online as schools are closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

PETALING JAYA: Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki wants the government to use its powers under the current state of emergency to compel conglomerates to donate laptops to students for online learning.

Noting that more than 4.7 million students in 10,220 primary and secondary schools may not have the necessary tools for online learning such as smartphones or laptops, Asyraf described it as an issue which the government should pay “serious attention” to.

“The government should utilise its full powers under the current Emergency Ordinance to urge conglomerates to donate laptops to school children and direct paid private TV stations such as Astro to provide educational channels, monitored by the education ministry,” he said in a Facebook post.

Apart from allowing the government to take temporary possession of land, buildings and movable property, the Emergency Ordinance also stipulates that resources may be utilised for any purpose the executive deems necessary.

Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki.

Noting that the government had agreed to provide laptops for 150,000 students to facilitate online learning, Asyraf said this amounted to only around 3% of the 4.7 million students in primary and secondary schools.

It was previously reported that government-linked companies (GLCs) are set to contribute RM150 million to the Cerdik fund for the purchase of laptops for 150,000 students in 500 schools, according to the 2021 budget.

Asyraf also called for an expansion of the Education TV broadcast by changing some government-owned TV channels to Education TV completely throughout the duration of school closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He also hoped the education ministry would be “more proactive” and immediately address the various issues and constraints surrounding online learning so as to prevent students from dropping out of school.

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