Slightly over 300 students in my school are getting free netbooks; and that is almost have the school population. I read over a year ago that the PM proposed to give away 1 million netbooks worth about RM1 billion under this 1Malaysia free computer programs. The requirement is that the family income does not exceed RM3000. Last year newspapers reported abuses of this program in Sarawak where teachers purportedly allocated the computers to their own children. And then there are those who sold their their free netbook for profit.
I read somewhere too that the recipients of these netbooks also get to subscribe TMNet Broadband at discounted rate. I wonder the benefits of this program. I am sure there are many other projects which can be carried out at school with this sort of allocation. Need to do research to prepare their folios?? I guess that can be done at school. With so much money there are so many facilities that can be provided.
As for the 300 over of my students who will be getting this windfall? I don't see much tangible benefits except that this is a freebie. First and foremost most of them can't understand English well enough to want to read any academic stuff or get involved in any online intellectual discourse. What I do know is many will probably spend more time after they get their netbooks (and broadband subscription)playing online games and perhaps even more time chatting. Talk to any teenager and see what their main preoccupation with the computer is and you'll see what I mean. One rarely sees kids poring over articles at the computer. What one is more apt to see is a kid glued to the screen displaying any of the popular online games.
And parents! I think many of them will now have kids who tell them to shove off since the netbook is given to them. We might be seeing a new wave of 1Malaysia netbook related problems from this. Probably the one good thing out of this might be the cyber cafes now have serious competition. LOL! Kids don't need to hang out there. They can play in the safety of their homes. Parents will have a great babysitter in the netbooks.
Netbooks to encourage self-learning? Even with guidance also, many of them are already not interested. So how can a netbook help? It's not like the MOE has digitalized the textbooks. And even if they have done it, what about the others who didn't get their netbooks? What about those whose parents earn just slightly above RM3000? They too can claim that they cannot afford to buy netbooks for their children. The price of sugar has just gone up 20 sen. Chicken is also getting more expensive. In the coming months, we are going to see prices of more things going up. Battery prices are up. Prices of butter has gone up too, I heard.
I think we are carrying this 1Malaysia thing is wasteful. What comes easy is seldom appreciated. What is given freely often times makes us lose our competitiveness too.
An official was reported to be saying that recipients cannot sell their free netbook as there are records. This is Bolehland, where follow-ups run out of steam very quickly or leaks; just like the Puduraya new bus terminal. Built to be the state of art bus terminal, the double decker busses can't really go in. The other joke is the roof leaks! .... just like many leaking (or falling) roofs of new buildings built in the last decade.
1Malaysia netbooks!!!! If I didn't know better, I'd think that this might be one way to unload all the old stock now that the iPad is slowly eating into their marketability.