Discuss concrete measures for education, govt told as ‘school break’ stretches on

Pupils have been on a break since March when the movement control order was implemented to curb the spread of Covid-19.

PETALING JAYA: An educationist has urged Putrajaya to kickstart discussions on new norms for education in light of the Covid-19 pandemic instead of continuing to rely on ad hoc teaching as schools remain closed under the government’s partial lockdown.

Teo Kok Seong, a professor at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, said children had not attended school since March when the movement control order (MCO) was implemented.

He acknowledged the initiatives taken so far but said these might not include all pupils.

“Some will study, some may not. Some may have internet connection and others may not even have the gadgets to study,” he told FMT.

He urged the education ministry to set up an online platform to allow discussions between experts and parents on how to ensure that pupils continue receiving an education.

“They can also list down their ideas on a platform at the education ministry’s website.

“The ministry can then choose the best ideas for implementation,” he said.

He said parents were becoming restless as they had not heard of any measures from the ministry on how their children would receive an education.

“We cannot blame anyone because this situation is unprecedented, but at the same time we cannot allow this to continue.”

Teo said the government might have been prioritising the health aspect of the crisis which has seen the health director-general giving daily updates on the situation.

“But education is equally important, and the public wants to hear the measures taken to educate their children, including from the higher education sector,” he added.

The MCO has seen teachers turning to platforms such as Google Classroom and WhatsApp to keep classes going. Some Parent-Teacher Associations have also been hand delivering notes and homework to students who are without internet connection.

Teo said these were good ideas but still being done on an ad hoc basis.

While the government has announced that priority will be given to those sitting for SPM, STPM and other equivalent examinations, he said, others too need to study as children could lose interest over a long break.

“We need to rebuild the nation together, and we need to be prepared for what will happen if the crisis continues.”

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