Singapore — A petition has been launched against the Ministry of Education (MOE) implementing a device management application (DMA) on each student’s laptop.
There has been growing support for the petition after a user posted it on the Reddit social media platform on Sunday (Jan 24). As at Monday (Jan 25), more than 2,400 people had signed it.
The online unhappiness is targeted at the MOE, which has made public that the DMA will have to be installed on at least one personal learning device (PLD) per student.
According to the petition, the DMA has 3 main functions:
1. Allows the teacher to control and monitor the use of the PLD to “improve student management and deliver effective teaching”.
2. Allows remote deployment of teaching and learning applications and comes with security patches. Schools may also leverage on the Mobile Device Management Service to install the school’s teaching and learning resources.
3. Allows the school/teacher to be able to control how much one uses a PLD, as well as whitelist/blacklist any programs that one may need to run, with the owner having no real control over how they can do it.
Many students are unhappy with this program, arguing that it reduces the control, freedom and privacy which they have. Since the DMA is required to be installed on each student’s PLD, this means that should students not have one, they would need to install the program on their personal laptops. Furthermore, information and data are at risk of being hacked should the program be breached.
Those who have signed the petition want their privacy to remain intact. With the installation of the program, there is no certainty that their usage is not monitored or that their personal matters are not being seen by others.
While there are benefits to having the DMA installed, users are more concerned that it would be installed on their personal devices. Many online users expressed the lack of financial resources to buy a second device on which to install the DMA. This means that the DMA would have to be installed on their own laptops, which contain much private information.
On the other hand, some netizens have pointed out that this would be beneficial to parents. As most parents are busy with work and unable to monitor their children during Home-Based Learning, this move would be largely beneficial to younger children who may not have the discipline to properly use their devices.
Denise Teh is an editorial intern at The Independent SG. /TISG
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