Press statement by YB Phee Boon Poh, Penang State EXCO Member for Environment and Welfare cum Vice-Chairman of Penang Green Council on 1st February 2021.
Mankind worldwide have been battling Covid-19 since the end of 2019. We pray this will end soon. Before that day comes, please strictly adhere to the SOPs and stay safe. Life will still have to go to ensure survival of the people and economy afloat, especially the education of our children.
Covid-19 outbreak has seen many shocks and surprises – borders were closed, cities went on curfew, movement restrictions were implemented, wearing a mask became mundane, celebrations shrunk and etc. All thanks to technology, the world was still able to stay connected albeit virtually.
There is no doubt that the pandemic has sped up the digital transformation in many industries including education. Schools have to close down but education must be continued. It gave governments the very reason to push forward innovation for distance learning which eventually will benefit many more especially those in rural areas who do not have physical learning capacity within close proximity. This expand the horizons of accessibility to education no matter where and when. Children being one of the most vulnerable group, the rise of e-learning definitely help to keep children accessible to education.
During the MCO and CMCO periods, we are happy to know that many schools were preparing for e-Learning when and where physical learning could not take place. For example, SMK Convent Pulau Tikus hosted an international webinar to share their green practices with schools from Singapore, Australia and Qatar. SJK(C) Union also got their students to create their own videos whilst practicing 5Rs at home. This way, traditional in-person classroom learning can be further complemented by new learning modalities from live broadcasts to virtual reality experiences.
The involvement of public and private stakeholders with schools have bring more exposure and opportunities to schools or communities with limited resources such as funding. For example, students and educators are now more accessible to free online resources like teaching materials and tutorials. If distance learning will be the next new normal, the level and quality of digital access will play a substantial role. By saying so, the Penang State Government has been working hand in hand with multiple industry partners such as Intel and Dell Technologies to provide digital devices for students from B40 families, ensuring they do not fall back on their studies. E-refurbishing to e-learning programme calls for the public to donate their excess used laptop which will then be refurbished and reformatted before handing them over to students in need.
To align with the Penang 2030’s theme D2 to strengthen mobility, connectivity and digital infrastructure, Penang Green Council decides to lead the way in transforming Penang Green School Award and Penang Green Kindy Incentive – digitally in 2021.
These two programmes will be opened for registration from 1 st February to 31 st May 2021. For more information on these programmes, kindly contact Ms Kimberly or Ms Ashawani at 04-2503322.