Raspberry Pi computers are not suitable for students

Dr. Kelvin Yii

KUCHING (April 21): MP for Bandar Kuching, Dr. Kelvin Yii, is urging the government to help students buy laptops and full-fledged computers instead of providing them with Raspberry Pi computers which have many problems.

Although a Raspberry Pi computer can have decent processing speed, he said it cannot be used to replace a full-fledged PC, which is what students and teachers need.

“In fact, there are other alternative devices in this price range that run on Windows, which are more familiar to students and teachers,” he pointed out.

He added that these computers are unsuitable and not user-friendly for students and teachers, and may end up wasting RM12 million spent on them.

A sum of RM12 million has been used to purchase around 10,000 Raspberry Pi computers for Sarawak’s 1,265 primary schools, apparently at the end of 2020. To ensure there is no waste and that ‘it is properly used in all schools to help in teaching students in schools, he urged the state government to provide a clear and transparent report on this.

“The Government of Sarawak and the Minister of Education, Innovation and Talent Development should provide a clear and transparent report on their purchase of Raspberry Pi computers for all primary schools in Sarawak to properly determine whether it has achieved its target in terms of impact rate for students in each school as well as its utilization rate in all schools, whether urban, semi-urban or rural,” he said yesterday in a statement.

First, they must reveal exactly how many units of these compact single-board computers were purchased, how many were sent to each school, exactly how much was spent on each unit, and which company was awarded the contract to supply these devices to the Sarawak government to ensure there is no possible corruption in the procurement of these devices, he said.

More importantly, he added, have these devices been properly used by schools for the benefit of students, as they are not as ‘user-friendly’ and powerful as normal PCs or laptops which have become a necessary for students of all levels.

“We have heard comments that many teachers and school staff are struggling to use these devices and there are many barriers to properly updating or downloading every program needed to operate it. For this reason, it was left out and not fully utilized.

He pointed out that while the Raspberry Pi runs on a Linux operating system and can be a good device for engineers and even programmers to use to program things on a low-cost device, it can be a bit trickier. , especially for primary school students. who are more accustomed to Windows or MAC operating systems.

“The key to effective education is to remove barriers, not to add and create barriers to learning.

“Although I recognize the usefulness of a Raspberry Pi in many other cases, but I have from the beginning questioned the suitability of these Raspberry Pis to provide a conducive learning environment for our primary school students, in especially in semi-rural and rural areas of Sarawak,” he said.

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