Weekly Highlights

MOE still not prepared for online learning?

As 58 students have tested positive for Covid-19 so far since schools reopened last week for SPM and STPM students, is MOE prepared to offer online learning for those concerned?

On November 8 2020, when there were 16 red zones in the Peninsular and 14 red zones in Sabah, the Ministry of Education ordered all schools to be closed. At that time, the total number of active COVID-19 cases was 11,689.

As of January 25, the total number of active COVID-19 cases is 41,074. This time, there are zero green zones left in the Peninsular while East Malaysia only has 6 green zones left. Nonetheless, SPM and SPTM candidates are still asked to return to school.

Closing schools nationwide back in November but opening schools now is a clear sign of MOE’s bad planning and short-sightedness.

While students are given an option not to return to school, the option is not a viable one as online learning isn’t offered to those who choose not to come. So, what options do SPM and STPM candidates really have?

MOE should know by now that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach that does not take into account discrepancies in COVID-19 cases, income levels and the digital gap across districts and states is not going to be effective and helpful. Therefore, viable options should be given to parents and students.

For students who have no or limited access to online learning, returning to schools will definitely improve their preparation for the coming national examinations.

However, for parents and students who are more concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic and have no problems continuing online learning, home-based learning might be their preference.

In fact, a petition urging MOE to re-consider its decision of face-to-face learning for SPM and STPM candidates was started a week ago.

No doubt, national examination candidates for 2020 are one of the most stressed and unlucky batches around. Since MOE does not plan to cancel SPM and STPM this year, MOE should use the remaining time left to offer intensive revision lessons for candidates.

In addition to providing physical classes, MOE should also gather the best teachers for each subject, record their lessons, put them online, and broadcast them via free educational TV channels.

For that purpose, MOE and the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia should work together and create these special channels for national examination candidates.

Teo Nie Ching,

MP for Kulai

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