Free Malaysia Today - Jaringan Prihatin good move to help B40 students keep pace with studies

15 May 2021 - Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: A parents group and the national union for teachers have welcomed Putrajaya’s Jaringan Prihatin programme worth RM3.5 billion, which will help students in B40 households keep pace with their studies.

With lessons moving online again following the worsening of the pandemic and enforcement of the third movement control order (MCO 3,0) nationwide, children in lesser off households are at risk of falling behind their peers.

The National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) and Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education (Magpie) said internet connectivity and access to devices had been a major issue for both students and teachers in the past year.

NUTP secretary-general Harry Tan said investing in Malaysia’s future was the only way forward, noting that a sizable RM2 billion had been allocated by the government for Jaringan Prihatin.

He said B40 families had been the worst hit and some were too poor or illiterate to register for aid programmes.

“Right now, this digitisation initiative is the best method for the teachers and students to carry out the PdPR (teaching and learning from home) programme.

“NUTP together with telecommunication provider YES is trying to reach out to as many underprivileged families with school-going children as possible to get free phones and free data plans for a year so that no one will be left behind.

“We do not know when the Covid-19 pandemic will end but we cannot just stay still and not try to educate our students no matter where they are,” he told FMT.


Magpie chairman Mak Chee Kin said the group had been advocating for an initiative like this since online lessons began, expressing his happiness at hearing about Jaringan Prihatin.

He hoped that the government would cut any red tape and implement this initiative immediately to benefit the current batch of students, especially with MCO 3.0 set to continue after the end of the Hari Raya holidays.

“The children have a limited amount of time left in school, especially those sitting for the SPM and STPM exams,” he told FMT.

Expressing some concerns on students’ self-discipline to utilise the facilities for their studies, Mak said parents play a key role in monitoring their children’s progress.

The Jaringan Prihatin programme, aimed at helping B40 households gain access to internet data services or mobile devices, will also see telecommunication companies provide free data worth RM1.5 billion.

Slated to benefit some 8.4 million recipients of Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat, the beneficiaries will get to choose between a rebate of up to RM300 for the device package or up to RM180 monthly of data plan rebate for 12 months.

First announced as part of the 2021 budget with an allocation of RM1.5 billion, a further RM500 million was added to Jaringan Prihatin under the Pemerkasa aid package, making it a total of RM2 billion.

The programme is a collaboration between the finance ministry, the communications and multimedia ministry and 12 telcos, including big names like Celcom, Digi and Maxis.

Interested applicants may register with the telco of their choice under Jaringan Prihatin until July 31. More information can be found here.


Legal Disclaimer / Privacy Policy / Security Policy
Copyright © 2020 Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission. All rights reserved.