Current Affairs

3 failures of the PN Government in the management of the reopening of schools during Covid-19 pandemic

3 failures of the PN Government in the management of the reopening of schools during Covid-19 pandemic: No transparency, No promised free laptops and No additional Teachers.

Lack of Crucial Information

Schools have reopened in stages since March. According to the data released by stakeholders, at least 186 schools recorded Covid-19 positives cases since then.

Datuk Mohd. Radzi bin Md. Jidin is the Senior Minister for Education and Society 

Question is, why the Ministry of Education is not providing daily Covid-19 updates involving schools. We do not know how many teachers and students are detected by Covid-19 positive. We also do not know how many schools and classes are closed. And if certain schools are not closed, the reason behind why it is safe to remain open, what are the precautionary steps taken by the government and what are the sanitisation and restoration efforts taken to resume operations.

MOE should and must do a daily update regarding the actual situation in schools. There is no two ways about this principle of transparency. The parents and teachers have the right to this information so parents can make informed decisions. At the same time, it will help to restore the confidence of parents.

Broken Promise of Free Laptops!

Tengku Zafrul promised 150,000 free laptops to help students who faced difficulties with E-learning.

With more and more students reverting to online learning due to the surge of Covid-19 cases, the Minister of Finance should tell us where are the 150,000 free laptops for the students?

Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz in a statement dated January 27 stated that the roll-out of 150,000 laptops by government-linked companies and related investment firms has been expedited to February. But until now, we are entering end of April with not the slightest hint of 150,000 laptops promised by the Minister of Finance. What is even more tragic is the silence that ensues.

“I have raised this question in numerous statements and the audacity of the Finance Minister and the collective irresponsibility of the Cabinet to ignore such an important question is disastrous.” – Teo Nie Ching

It simply implies that they do not care about our children’s education. It is no wonder the #KerajaanGagal hashtag is trending.

No additional teachers

Certain schools are facing shortage of manpower when teachers are ordered to go through home quarantine. The PN government introduces MySTEP or Short-term Employment Programme in Budget 2021 with an allocation of more than RM700 million. Under this initiative, 35,000 job opportunities will be offered in the public sector, with priority to fill up positions such as nurses, medical attendants, social welfare officers and temporary teachers. As we blink and realised the passing of the first quarter of 2021, we have not been informed of the additional temporary teachers our education system needs. Where are the additional temporary teachers promised by MOF? Teachers form part of the nation’s fore front in assisting the nation to recuperate from the effects of this pandemic. And yet, we see a lackadaisical attitude and response.

The government has failed miserably in its primary obligations in putting the interest of students first and teachers interests following students’ thus placing the burden on teachers and parents to sort this mess on their own. The lack of leadership is telling and should be called out.

Teo Nie Ching

Kulai Member of Parliament

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