Scale it all down, NUTP says on back-to-school plans

Teachers at a school in Kajang arrange tables in a classroom according to social distancing rules. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) has called for reductions in class sizes and school hours when schools reopen.

The union is proposing a limit of 15 pupils per class in the interest of social distancing and the teaching of just four subjects a day to prevent prolonged crowding, according to a spokesman.

“If there happens to be more than 15 pupils in a class, it should be conducted in a larger area, such as a school hall,” he said.

He spoke to FMT about a pedagogy study that NUTP recently conducted with several educationists to address the issue of high density classrooms while Covid-19 remains a threat and said the union decided to recommend that pupils be made to go to school three days a week and attend online lessons for another two days.

NUTP has also suggested that the mandatory training courses for teachers and school gatherings such as Canteen Day be postponed until Covid-9 is no longer a threat.

Zuwati Hasim of Universiti Malaya’s education faculty called for a reduction in the number of subjects taught at the various school levels.

“There is no need to have eight or nine subjects per level,” she said. “The curriculum could be broken down through the years of schooling.”

She also called for a focus on providing a standard operating procedure (SOP) and on the planning of the new norms.

She warned of challenges that could come from primary school pupils in establishing the new rules. “We can foresee it will be hard to control the young learners. Hence, it is suggested that parents teach the SOP to their kids and practise along with them.”

Referring to social distancing, she said there was a need to resolve the problem of crowding in school canteens during recess.

“As a start, food should be ordered and delivered to the classrooms,” she said, adding that parents should also prepare lunch boxes for their children.

She also proposed that school assemblies be cancelled as long as Covid-19 remains a threat.

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