PETALING JAYA: Funds should have been provided for hybrid learning in the 2022 budget as the new process will bridge the loss of learning suffered by school children during the pandemic, says a parent group.
Parent Action Group for Education president Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim questioned why specific funding for hybrid learning was absent despite it being the new way of learning in the 21st century.
“Hybrid learning can bridge the learning loss during the pandemic, as well as remove the excessive burden on teachers by turning students into self-learners. While the world speaks of a new normal, especially in education, the budget should have capitalised on our strengths,” she told FMT.
She also said the one-off payment of RM100 given to 400,000 teachers in the country for teaching aids was “laughable and an insult”.
The federal budget announced on Friday provides RM52.6 billion for education, and a RM450 million allocation to provide RM150 cash aid for 3 million pupils.
Page honorary secretary Tunku Munawirah Putra said issues like the loss of learning in young children and getting back on track were never brought up, despite finance minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz speaking of a budget for education.
“It was definitely (a budget) to fish for votes from young people and women, but they forget that women are also mothers, highly concerned about the loss of learning in children,” she said.
Other education groups, however, expressed their satisfaction with the education allocation.
Sarawak Teachers Union president Adam Prakash Abdullah told FMT that 165 dilapidated schools in Sarawak should be given better facilities and infrastructure using the RM746 million allocation for Sabah and Sarawak.
He hoped that education minister Radzi Jidin would make good on his observations made on visits to schools in Sarawak and speed up the process of disbursing project funds.
Melaka Action Group for Parents’ chairman Mak Chee Kin was grateful that the government had provided for a RM100 subsidy for teachers to buy teaching aids. “I know many are spending their own money to buy these aids,” he said.
However, there was still the need to end the bureaucracy involved in fund distribution to schools that require assistance.
“Top officials should conduct site visits and receive direct briefings from the school management and their parent-teachers association, and if justified, approve funding immediately.”
He added that priority should be given to upgrade Form 6 colleges that were in bad shape. “They should be on par with matriculation colleges, at least,” he said.
National Union of Teaching Profession secretary-general Wang Heng Suan said teachers would appreciate the RM100 incentive and would not pass judgement on the amount given.
Wang requested that the government review the RM1,000 rebate to teachers for the purchase of laptop computers for home-based teaching.