The closure of schools nationwide as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown has caused many students to be left behind, due to the lack of access to the gadgets needed to follow online lessons.

Instead of seeking donations from the public or expecting government handouts, a Tamil school in Penang has come up with an ingenious way to solve the problem themselves.

SJK (T) Bayan Lepas headmaster Sangga Sinnayah devised the "One Student, One Tab" initiative, which involves making reusable and recyclable cloth bags to sell for RM10 each, and using the proceeds to buy tablet computers for underprivileged students.

So far, the school has managed to sell 1,500 bags to raise RM20,049, which is enough to purchase tablet computers for 40 students.

The students are expected to get their devices this week, while the second batch of 2,000 bags are being prepared to raise funds for another 43 devices, to be delivered by the end of this month, reported Makkal Osai.

According to the report, the initiative has received widespread support not only from parents and non-governmental organisations (NGos), but also members of the public from various races across the country.

The first batch of bags even sold out in two weeks!

To the uninitiated, Sangga is no stranger to green initiatives. Astro Ulagam had previously highlighted his efforts in banning plastic in his current school, as well as SJK (T) Sungai Ara in George Town, Penang, which he was previously in charge of.

Besides the no-plastic policy, Sangga also drummed up the importance of recycling among this students in SJK (T) Sungai Ara, to the extent that none of the student generate waste in school. The school also had a mini farm behind its premises, where the students tend to vegetables and fruits planted there, which is then sold to generate revenue for the school.

Fresh after taking the helm of SJK (T) Bayan Lepas, Sangga implemented rainwater conservation efforts and changed all the lights to LED bulbs in the school.

Since the students were tasked to be responsible for the waste they generate, the cleaners, who had earlier requested for more manpower, were then left with nothing much other than wiping off dust off the class windows and clean the toilets.

All of Sangga's policies are in line with the UN's (United Nations') 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include good health and well-being, quality education, sustainable cities and communities, and responsible consumption and production, among others.

A brilliant effort indeed. Hope other schools can follow ideas similar to the "One Student, One Tab" initiative to alleviate the suffering of their students who are lagging behind in following online lessons due to the lockdown.

Source: Makkal Osai
Photo source: Bernama, Sangga Sinnayah Facebook