Malaysia Bagus News
Malaysia Bagus News
PETALING JAYA - After more than three months of not going to school because of Covid-19, over half a million youngsters nationwide will finally attend classes from June 24 - but with stringent rules to abide by.
Notably, they would have to follow a staggered schedule, said Education Minister Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin.
Students were going through online lessons since the movement control order (MCO) was implemented on March 18.
Radzi said students who are candidates of public examinations as well as international exams of the same standard could resume lessons in schools.
A total of 500,440 Form Five, Form Six, Sijil Vokasional Malaysia (SVM), Sijil Tinggi Agama (STAM) and Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) students from 2,440 schools and hundreds of international schools will be returning to schools.
The schedule (of staggered classes) will be announced at a later date.
"We (ministry) decided to have staggered classes because we are worried there may be a surge in the number of people (at school) if parents decide to send their children personally.
"All decisions made by the ministry are based on recommendations and advice from the National Security Council and the Health Ministry, " he said in a live telecast yesterday.
Radzi said everyone, including parents, should adhere to the ministry's standard operating procedure - which is continuously being fine-tuned.
These SOP, which include small classes of no more than 20 students; 1m distance between tables; students buying pre-packed food at separate times; and eating only in classrooms under the teacher's supervision; are applicable to all schools and institutions registered with the ministry.
"The effectiveness of these SOP has been tried and tested in 12 government schools and eight private schools.
"Students must make it a habit to wash their hands frequently and maintain social distancing, " he said, adding that parents should not send kids with symptoms like cough, flu and fever, to school.
If they do, these children should be sent for a medical check immediately.
Deputy Education Ministers Dr Mah Hang Soon and Muslimin Yahaya as well as the ministry's officers will be conducting unannounced visits to see how the ministry can help schools adhere to the SOP.
National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Harry Tan said its 220,000 members were "ready" to be back in class.
He said 93 per cent of 10,500 respondents surveyed by the union as part of its Post Covid-19 Pandemic Schooling Research Based on Social Distancing Pedagogy' study wanted face-to-face teaching.
"That's why we proposed for schools to be reopened in stages, " he said, adding that after the novelty of online teaching wore off, disciplinary problems surfaced.
"Poor attendance, frequent distraction such as not paying attention to the lessons and incomplete homework became a problem, " he said.
Parent Action Group For Education Malaysia (Page) chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said schools would have to reopen as the alternative method of learning turned out to be "little or no learning at all".
Home learning, she said, had been tough on students, parents and teachers as there was inadequate preparation to lead and guide online teaching and learning online.
"A majority of students do not have the necessary devices.
"There was little structure and students were taught by teachers who took the initiative to conduct online classes while some subject teachers failed to communicate with students, making any contact redundant and inactive.
"Assignments and learning videos were given randomly with little scheduling, " she added.
While the ministry's school reopening guidelines might appear ideal, Forms Five and Six students, she added, would determine its effectiveness and practicality.
Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education chairman Mak Chee Kin said it was good that schools were reopening soon.
Some family environments were not conducive for e-learning, he said.
Some parents even made their children do chores while e-lessons were ongoing.
"Online learning at home requires both parent and student to be disciplined so it's better to let those sitting for exams to go back to school.
"Further delay will only cause greater stress and anxiety among the students, " he said.
In Johor, secondary school teacher R. Kalyani, 44, said she had started preparing for the reopening of schools few days ago, including looking into improving lesson plans.
"I miss teaching in a classroom, " she said, adding that there were elements of face-to-face teaching that cannot be replaced with virtual classes.
Another teacher Aznatul Fazliah Mohammad Razim, 29, said it would take time to adapt to the new normal but "we'll get used to it over time just like how we got used to teaching virtually".