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Sunday, May 30, 2021

Education Ministry must come up with post-lockdown schooling plans - opposition


The Education Ministry needs to be proactive so that teachers, students and parents can better prepare as school classes resume in mid-June, said opposition lawmakers.

“The ministry should come out with post-lockdown plans in a transparent way, so that the teachers, parents and students can make early preparation during the term break,” said Pakatan Harapan’s Education Committee in a statement today.

The ministry should not make decisions related to school sessions at the last minute like how it did in the past, stressed the group.

The school session will resume on either June 12 or June 13 after a two-week term break from May 28 or May 29.

Putrajaya announced a three-phase nationwide lockdown that starts with a “total lockdown” from June 1 to 14, where all sectors are not allowed to operate except for essential economic and services sectors listed by the National Security Council.

If the first phase is successful in bringing down the number of daily Covid-19 cases, the second phase, which allows the operation of certain economic activities, will be held for four weeks.

The committee said teachers and students were still struggling with various problems, from poor internet access, lack of devices to a non-conducive learning environment, while the learning and teaching were designed for physical classes instead of online classes.

“What are the ministry’s plans after the end of the movement restrictions?

“When will the ministry announce the following plans for the upcoming school session? Will the students go back to physical or online classes? What is the plan in case the travel restrictions are extended?

“We do not want the decision to be made at the last minute as usual,” said the committee.

The statement was signed by Maszlee Malik, the Simpang Renggam MP and Harapan education committee head, alongside three other lawmakers - Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (PKR-Setiawangsa), Teo Nie Ching (DAP-Kulai) and Hasan Baharom (Amanah-Tampin).

Out of 64,046 children infected with Covid-19 as of May 21, the committee pointed out that 23,739 were children below 12 years old.

The committee reiterated that the government should expedite the vaccination process for the teaching force instead of prioritising teachers who are in the high-risk group.

The group also called for one-off incentives for the teachers who forked out their own money to purchase data plans for the PdPR classes during the movement control order.

Lastly, the committee demanded that the government expedite the delivery of 150,000 laptops to students as promised in Budget 2021.  - Mkini

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