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Bridging the Gap of Digital Divide with CERDIK



The pandemic may have reversed decades of global progress on education in many parts of the country, but the unprecedented crisis has caused further disruption to the most vulnerable sector of communities, the B40. As COVID-19 had suspended formal classroom learning for 4.9 million schoolchildren nationwide while enabling digital learning, B40 students with no access to equipment and internet are the most affected.

Following the initial COVID-19 outbreak, the Ministry of Education had shifted all schools to Full Home-Based Learning (HBL) to safeguard the wellbeing of all students and school staff. However, low device ownership and persistent inequalities have offset the implementation of online learning. In bridging the digital divides between schools and communities, CERDIK was established as a Corporate Responsibility pilot initiative by Government Linked Companies (GLC) and Government Linked investment Companies (GLIC) to provide digital access to students from lower-income families.

Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) had allocated RM18 million for this initiative, benefitting a total of 8,428 B40 students from 66 schools in 30 districts, in 10 states and 2 federal territories nationwide. The execution of this initiative is also supported by more than 30 YSD Huluran Kasih employee volunteers from the 3 Sime Darby companies.


Cikgu Shahirah Saadon, Student Affairs Senior Assistant, SMK Dato’ Lela Pahlawan, Padang Serai, Kedah
En Shahrizan Zalihan, Assistant Officer, Information Technology, PPD Hilir Perak


YSD speaks to En Shahrizan Zalihan, Assistant Officer, Information Technology from Pejabat Pendidikan Daerah (PPD) Hilir Perak; and Cikgu Shahirah Saadon, Student Affairs Senior Assistant, from Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Dato’ Lela Pahlawan, Padang Serai, Kedah to learn more about the challenges of digital learning and how this initiative has benefitted the students. They have shared their perceptions on digital remote learning during the pandemic.

En Shahrizan Zalihan

1. Please introduce yourself and elaborate on your involvement in facilitating the installation of MOE-approved Mobile Device Management (MDM) software.

My name is Shahrizan Zalihan, and I am the Assistant Officer of Information and Technology at Pejabat Pendidikan Daerah (PPD) Hilir Perak. I am in charge of managing and ensuring the MDM is installed in all laptop units. Besides that, I also ensure that the MDM software can be logged in and accessed by students through designated log-in identifications (IDs) before handing them over to the schools.

2. How is the provision of these laptops different from the other types of support you have facilitated prior to this?

This support is different, especially since it is managed by Yayasan Sime Darby and Rentwise because the sponsorship includes a layer of inspection whereby Rentwise and YSD conducted the first layer of device inspection before distributing to PPD to be handed over to school students. YSD also provides technical briefings and support for the troubleshooting of the devices. Additionally, YSD ensures that laptop units received have basic essential applications installed and are easily accessible. YSD has prepared a complete set of guidelines to facilitate the PPD and schools in terms of reporting and documentation.

3. What are some of the challenges you face in the execution of this initiative?

Challenges arise when we have to troubleshoot some technicality issues, i.e., dongles and connectivity of the devices, as we receive more laptop units, given the limited number of officers at PPD Hilir Perak. However, YSD has been truly supportive in providing technical support and delivery services.

4. How could this initiative benefit the students in the long run?

This initiative helps a lot in filling in the digital divide, especially one that concerns learning infrastructure. In a short period, we can see that students are no longer estranged from virtual learning, and it has reduced technology alienation in online learning and how to deal with it. In the long run, this would help in knowledge propagation and will foster students’ independence and confidence. This initiative is a good starting point.

5. How is the physical distribution of the devices to selected schools being carried out in times of COVID-19?

The most effective way of distributing the devices in times of COVID-19 is by implementing a “drive-thru” system to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections, and is not time-consuming. We at PPD have suggested this method to many schools, and so far, there is no issue with it. Briefings are also pre-recorded for parents and students. At the same time, some schools have also taken the initiative to prepare a briefing document to be given to parents during the distribution of devices.

Cikgu Shahirah Saadon

1. Please introduce yourself and elaborate on your involvement in this initiative.

My name is Shahirah Saadon, Student Affairs Senior Assistant at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Dato’ Lela Pahlawan. I have been directly involved in this initiative from the beginning when we received PPD notifications, until the devices are distributed to the students.

2. What are some of the challenges you faced prior to this initiative?

Prior to this initiative, most of our students did not have devices and data connectivity to follow online lessons that have been taking place for the past year.

3. What was some of the feedback received from students upon being able to have access to the laptops?

The feedback we received from students has been encouraging, and they are now able to attend and participate in online classes. However, despite the digital access to devices, some students still face issues with limited data connectivity.

4. How has this initiative improved overall digital learning at your school?

More students, especially Form 3 students are able to follow online learning sessions now.

5. What are your plans to incorporate using these laptops into your lessons for your students?

Moving forward, we’re hoping students can learn how to obtain information independently from available resources while teachers can continue to provide guidance in the implementation of the teaching and learning processes.

6. How was the transition to incorporating the laptops into your lessons? Was the support and training useful?

The virtual teaching and learning process requires everyone to have device and data connectivity. There is no specific training given to students. Still, guidelines are accessible, and subject teachers are also able to guide students in terms of how to use the device and the process of joining online lessons.

7. How is the physical distribution of the devices to selected schools being carried out in times of COVID-19?

Distribution is carried out on a drive-thru basis according to the respective allotted times to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections. Students and parents who come to collect the devices must adhere to the SOPs that have been set.


Volunteering Employees from Sime Darby Industrial Kuantan at Pusat Kegiatan Guru Pekan
Arrival and inspection at PPD Kluang
Arrival and inspection at PPD Kulim
Volunteering Employees from Sime Darby Industrial Johor Bahru at Pusat Kegiatan Guru Pasir Gudang
Laptop distribution in SMK Dato Sagor, Perak
Laptop distribution in SMK Dato Sagor, Perak
Temperature measurement and registration at SMK Dato' Lela Pahlawan
Device inspection and tagging process at SMK Dato’ Lela Pahlawan
Device handover to SMK Dato' Lela Pahlawan by YSD
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Last Updated:
06 Oct 2021
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