How many primary and secondary students are there in Malaysia?
According to the Ministry of Education, there are roughly 5 million primary and secondary school students in Malaysia. When the pandemic hit in 2020, schools were forced to shut its doors and these students had to rely on e-learning for several months.
Do students have the right devices to study well?
- 37% did not have the appropriate devices necessary
- 46% have their own smartphones
- 5.7% own tablets
- 6% have their own personal computers
- 9% have laptops
Source: (Harian Metro, 2020); DOS (2020a)
Most students did not have their own digital devices and they had to share with one or more members of the family. While that may not be a problem with proper time management and a lot of give and take, what was most interesting was that a majority of these students were completing their assignments, attending classes and sitting for their examinations using their smartphones.
Do all Malaysians have internet access?
Having the right device is only one part of the solution. What about internet connectivity?
- Internet penetration in Malaysia homes stood at 90%
- Internet penetration to mobile devices is at 98.2%
The numbers are incredibly encouraging however this convenience is not guaranteed for all Malaysians. Some states are less connected than we think.
Sabah sits at the very bottom of the spectrum when it comes to mobile broadband penetration. Many rural villages have little or no mobile connectivity let alone an internet connection. It is no wonder we still read stories of students having to climb trees to get an education. Young Sabahan, Veveonah Mosibin from Pitas, Sabah did just that!
Other states such as Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu may have better internet penetration but they still have to put up with sketchy and unstable connections especially when the weather is bad. In the long run, improved internet accessibility and connectivity will give students the means to experience e-learning effortlessly.
Malaysia is doing pretty well, and we can definitely do better.
Malaysia ranked third amongst other ASEAN countries in terms of internet penetration. We have come a long way and the road ahead looks hopeful.
Tell us, how can we narrow the education digital divide?
The next generation will have better opportunities to expand their e-learning. While the government and business are working on improving infrastructure, what are some ideas you can put to the table to help close this gap?
Contact us to improve on this list!
Explore our sources:
- Ministry of Education Malaysia. (2020). Statistik Bilangan Sekolah, Murid dan Guru. Link.
- Department of Statistics Malaysia. (2020). ICT Use and Access By Individuals and Households Survey Report Malaysia. Link.
- Dzamira Dzafri, Soya Cincau. (2020). Here’s the truth about Veveonah Mosibin. Link.
- Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission. (2019). Communications and Multimedia Pocket Book of Statistics. Link.
- Simon Kemp and Sarah Moey, Datareportal. (2019). Digital 2019 Spotlight: Ecommerce in Southeast Asia. Link.