Last Friday (27 March), the Ministry of Education had announced that students in primary schools, secondary schools, as well as junior colleges and centralised institutes will have one day of home-based learning a week starting in April.
This move was decided due to the increase of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Singapore and enhanced measures to curb the spread of the outbreak, according to CNA. Education Minister, Ong Ye Kung, stated that the new system will allow Singaporeans to “get used to” the idea of home-based learning. Mr Ong said that it will also allow the Ministry to expand the new system to more days if necessary.
The Ministry mentioned that schools will provide instructions to students and parents on accessing home-based learning materials on Monday (30 March).
However, there are students who do not have the equipment needed for home-based learning, such as laptops or internet. Therefore, Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has launched a programme called NEU PC Plus Programme which provides a brand-new computer with the price of less than $225 for needy students. This programme also comes with a free broadband connection, so students need not worry about not being able to go online to access learning materials.
According to IMDA’s website, the NEU PC Plus Programme offers an opportunity for low-income households with student or person with disabilities to own a brand new computer at an affordable price.
The website explained that an applicant must have a permanent disability or is a full-time student (aged 25 and below) in a Government/Government-Aided School, Junior College, Centralised Institute, Independent School, Specialised Independent School, Specialised School, Institute of Technical Education, Polytechnic or MOE-funded Special Education School. Other than that, the gross monthly household income must not exceed $3,400 or per capita income not exceeding $900 ($1,125 if there is a permanently disabled household member).
Earlier today (1 April), Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Koh Poh Koon, had brought his experience to Facebook, sharing about how he delivered a reconditioned laptop to one of the students in need. Mr Koh stated that he also helped the student to apply for the IMDA NEW PC Plus Programme.
“I delivered a reconditioned laptop to one of our students in need recently and helped him to apply for Infocomm Media Development Authority – IMDA NEU PC Plus Programme which provides a brand new computer at less than $225 for needy students and comes with free broadband connection,” wrote Mr Koh.
Emphasising that this scheme is extremely useful with the commencement of home-based learning by the Ministry of Education, Mr Koh explained that it is part of the enhanced safe distancing measures against COVID-19.
Mr Koh ended his post by urging people to share this piece of information with the students whom they know need to be supported with laptops or computers.
“This scheme is particularly useful with the start of Ministry of Education, Singapore’s one-day-a-week Home-Based Learning today. #HomeBasedLearning is a part of the enhanced safe distancing measures against COVID-19. Do share this with other students whom you know needs to be supported with laptops or computers,” Mr Koh said.