Device aid scheme for higher education students

PETALING JAYA: Device and data plan assistance are now available for higher education students, particularly those from the B40 group.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad (pic) said the ministry launched several initiatives to facilitate students’ access to the online teaching and learning (PdP) process.

She said the ministry’s device aid scheme would see 8,965 targeted B40 students in public universities receiving either free or loaned laptops, or cash or vouchers to purchase such devices to use for their PdP.

“At the same time, all higher education students will be given a special discount (to purchase laptops) from companies such as Acer and Samsung, ” she said during the launch of the Data Plan and Device Packages for Higher Education Institution Students yesterday.

She also said RM24mil had been allocated to provide over 320,000 B40 students with SIM cards, or cash or vouchers, to subscribe to data plans.

She also announced the launch of a crowdfunding initiative called Tabung Prihatin Siswa, which will be jointly conducted with the Student Volunteer Foundation, to ensure B40 students do not miss out on Internet access.

“The impact from the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the number in the B40 groups in the country, when some lost their jobs and suffered declining sources of income, ” said Noraini, who added that new students for the 2020/2021 academic year would be receiving a RM50 cash aid to purchase data plans and other necessities.

About RM3.8mil has been allocated for this and is expected to benefit more than 76,100 students, she said.

Noraini added that the ministry was always sensitive to those in the B40 groups and understood the impact the financial crisis had caused.

She said public higher education institutions had worked together with the ministry to identify the students who need this assistance.

“The ministry, together with all higher learning institutions, are planning and working on improving the infrastructure and digital learning content, as well as computer applications to strengthen the Digitisation of Education agenda in the higher education sector.

“This agenda is important for the future and development of higher education in Malaysia, ” she said.

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