Bridging the digital divide: Success and challenges in the e-Book project in Terengganu, Malaysia

Year: 2012

Author: Hoon, Chang Lee, Loke, Siow Heng, Eng, Lee Siew, Dzainuddin, Mohd Faris bin, Noor, Zanariah

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Since 2009, the Malaysian state of Terengganu launched “e-Book Project” aimed at providing a netbook to every primary school pupil beginning with Year 5 (age 11).  The project was designed within the context of a nationwide strategy to develop a knowledge-based economy and offer digital access and skills to all citizens.  The e-Book content includes digitized textbooks, test preparation programs, Al Quran, and dictionaries.  This paper examines the design and implementation of the project, using qualitative data consisting of interviews with stakeholders within the national Ministry of Education, and the state of Terengganu, as well as visits to four schools that included interviews with schoolteachers, principals and pupils, and class observations. The initiative was successful in bridging the digital divide with low-income families and rural areas, and pupils evidenced pride in ownership of the e-Book. A number of challenges identified were related to pedagogical training, e-Book content, resources, and evaluation.