Fatimah: No order to bar students from bringing netbooks to schools

KUCHING: The government does not prohibit students from bringing their 1Malaysia netbooks to schools in Sarawak, says Minister of Welfare, Women and Family Development Datuk Fatimah Abdullah.

What had happened at a number of rural schools in the state was an isolated case that can be solved by the respective schools.

“Isolated cases like these can be discussed at the school itself. The government has never given instructions that forbid students from bringing their netbooks to school.

“Netbooks and computers are important for students, especially those in the rural areas to lessen the digital divide between students in urban and rural areas,” she said at a press conference here yesterday.

On May 6, Bernama reported that Deputy Minister of Information, Communications and Culture Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum was flabbergasted that some rural schools in Sarawak had prohibited students from bringing their 1Malaysia netbooks to school.

He said he was informed that the schools did not want the students to recharge their netbooks at school because this would increase their electricity bill.

“If such a ruling is the norm or going to be one, it is a great loss to the government as well. On my part, I will bring up the matter with the Education Ministry to find out and seek an amicable solution for the sake of the students,” Salang had said.

Fatimah said the government was committed to providing access to (computer) facilities to rural students to ensure that they were on par with those in urban areas.

“The state government provides schools without electricity (some with generators) which is an effort of the Education Ministry to provide 24-hour electricity,” she added.

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