Teachers’ union, education groups say many questions about academic year 2020 left unanswered

Education Minister Mohd Radzi Md Jidin (right) during a visit to SMK Engku Husain in Kajang June 3, 2020. — Bernama pic
Education Minister Mohd Radzi Md Jidin (right) during a visit to SMK Engku Husain in Kajang June 3, 2020. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — The National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Harry Tan said 220,000 of its members remain in the dark as to whether the academic calendar would be revised, The Star reported today.

The union's statement came after Education Minister Mohd Radzi Md Jidin announced that over 500,000 pupils would resume classes on June 24, three months after the government-imposed movement control order (MCO) to contain Covid-19.

Tan said teachers did not even know whether the year-end school holidays had been changed.

“When teachers teach, they need to plan and finish their syllabus in preparation for the coming exam.

“They also need time to do revision with their students and, more importantly, students need to plan their strategy to do well in their exam. All these need a proper timetable or schedule so that teachers can execute their game plan well,” he was quoted as saying.

Sharing similar concerns, the Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education (MAGPIE) chairman Mak Chee Kin is hopeful that the Education Ministry would consider allowing Lower Form Six students to return to school in July.

The Lower Form Six students, he said, would normally start their semester in May.

“I am concerned about this as students would be left idle and they may lose interest and direction as they wait for an announcement,” he told the daily.

In addition, Parent Action Group For Education (PAGE) Malaysia chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said the ministry must not forget about the other students who were still at home.

Announcing whether there would be changes in the academic calendar would provide some certainty to parents and families, especially those with younger children, she added.

“Due to the disparity in access to technology, some students have not benefited since the closure of schools.

“While the government is funding selected sectors of the economy, education should be at the forefront of spending.

“This is the perfect storm to jumpstart digital and 21st century learning, and they could look into funding one laptop for each household for education purposes,” she added.

On Wednesday, Mohd Radzi said a total of 500,440 Form Five, Form Six, Sijil Vokasional Malaysia and Sijil Tinggi Agama students from 2,440 schools and hundreds of international schools would resume classes.

The schedule (of staggered classes) will be announced at a later date.

According to Mohd Radzi, this decision was made to prevent a surge in students returning to schools.

He added that all decisions made by the ministry are based on recommendations and advice from the National Security Council and the Health Ministry.

Related Articles