Hornbill Unleashed

November 11, 2014

RM663mil later, schools plagued by slow Internet

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM
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Mkini

After RM663 million of taxpayers’ funds were poured into introducing high speed broadband networks in schools, students have found themselves stuck with a sluggish Internet as the project comes to its conclusion.Also, according to the Auditor-General’s Report 2013, the 1Bestari Net project, which also includes a virtual learning environment (VLE), that cost the bulk of the spending, is also rarely used by teachers and students.

Under the contract, 9,191 schools were to be supplied with a broadband network with a minimum speed of 4Mbps and up to 20Mbps.

A small number of schools, 698 in total, were to be equipped with broadband that has a minimum speed of 2Mbps and up to 4Mbps.

However, an audit of 46 schools found 41 of them or 89.1 percent, only obtained speeds between 0.2Mbps to 3.62 Mbps.

“The broadband speed performance is too slow to support VLE if it involves 30 to 40 users at a time,” it said.

In another feedback survey of 491 schools, it found 297 schools (68.9 percent) had a speed below the required 4-10Mbps and another 48 schools (80 percent) were under the required 2-4Mbps speed.

Only 146 (29.4 percent) of schools achieved their required speed.

According to the breakdown of the RM663 million contract granted to YTL Communications Sdn Bhd, a total of RM87.32 million was allocated for broadband with speeds of 4-10Mbps and RM5.29 million for speeds of 2-4Mbps.

A total of RM250.5 million is also allocated for the VLE service and another RM262.81 million is to maintain and management the VLE applications in an online learning platform.

However, the audit report found less than a third of schools used the VLE platform in March this year.

“In the same period, the audit analysis found the usage of VLE based on students’, teachers’ and parents’ logins in schools throughout Malaysia is very low,” it said.

According to the report’s statistics, during that period, student logins was at 0.17 to 0.63 percent, teachers  at 0.57 to 4.69 percent and parents at 0.01 to 0.03 percent.

‘High volume of users’

In a statement later today, the Education Ministry explained the slow broadband speed was due to congestion from the high volume of users.

As such, it said the school principals and headmasters must ensure prudent use of bandwith.

On VLE, the ministry said the usage stood at five percent and it was working to increase it to 30 to 35 percent within a year.

The ministry said a total of 8,886 out of 9,889 schools were already equipped with broadband networks under the contract.

“Another 1,003 schools could not be equiped with 1BesteriNet bcause the company could not get approval from local authorities to construct telecommunications towers in a few states particularly Sarawak, Penang and Kelantan.

However, it said that YTL Communications has provided interim Internet services and the govenrment has fined it RM2.4 million until Oct 27 for late delivery.

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