GLICs, GLCs provide RM150m to enable digital learning for B40


GOVERNMENT-LINKED investment companies (GLICs) and government-linked companies (GLCs) have joined forces in a RM150 million initiative to provide lower-income families with laptops, tablets and data connectivity for online learning.

Thirteen GLICs and GLCs under Khazanah Nasional Bhd, Permodalan Nasional Bhd, the Employees Provident Fund and Petroliam Nasional Bhd are involved in the initiative called “Cerdik”.

The programme will start rolling out next month.

Education Ministry (MoE) secretary general Datuk Yusran Shah Mohd Yusof (picture) said the aim is to bridge the learning gap between those who can afford digital devices and those who cannot.

“Furthermore, we hope this initiative will also pilot digital learning models for future adoptions,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Cerdik was announced in Budget 2021 as a pilot initiative which will be fully funded by the GLICs and GLCs.

The measure is aimed at helping students from lower-income families adapt to the new norm of online lessons, e-learning and outside-classroom teaching.

Students and school selections are determined by the MoE, which has also carefully decided on the hardware and software specifications to ensure a more sustainable implementation including warranty support, usability and longer shelf life for future digital learning.

Yayasan Hasanah, the impact-based foundation of Khazanah, is the secretariat of the Cerdik initiative.

The foundation will administer the contributions, in cash and kind, from participating companies while working in partnership with the Finance Ministry (MoF) and MoE.

Yayasan Hasanah MD Shahira Ahmed Bazari said the foundation is deeply committed to supporting innovative and scalable learning models that promote equity and level the playing field to enable access to quality learning for all.

“Hasanah has been working very closely with MoE in the design of the Cerdik initiative to ensure its sustainable implementation. Cerdik will roll out the first tranche of devices from February onwards.

“We are working hard with all parties to accelerate the pace of distribution. We are humbled to lead this initiative with MoF, MoE and our GLIC-GLC partners to make a difference during these trying times,” Shahira said in the statement.

Yayasan Hasanah and Khazanah have been working with the MoE on various system-level educational initiatives since 2010 to support inclusive education for students in Malaysia.

The implementation of the home-based teaching and learning for students nationwide, also known as the PdPR, is seen as a challenge not only for parents but also teachers and students especially those with limited access to computer devices and the Internet.

Many parents are forced to buy new devices for their children to ensure they can participate in digital classes but the bottom 40% income group (B40) households are at risk of being left behind if they do not have the facility or can not afford to buy one.

The Communications and Multimedia Ministry (KKMM) is expected to launch the free-to-air TV Pendidikan, a cluster of educational television channels via its broadcasting arm Radio Televisyen Malaysia within the next two months.

KKMM Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said the new channels will benefit students at large as Malaysia enters the second phase of the Movement Control Order due to the rise in Covid-19 cases.

He said the development of content for the channels is a collaboration between KKMM and the MoE.

Read our earlier report

GLICs, GLCs roll out RM150m initiative for digital learning