Kit Siang: Let individual states decide on school closure

A security guard at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Bandar Utama Damansara 4 closes the school gate in Petaling Jaya October 12, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
A security guard at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Bandar Utama Damansara 4 closes the school gate in Petaling Jaya October 12, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 16 — DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang today lambasted the government's decision to close schools nationwide, saying that it should be up to the respective state administrations to decide. 

He said that the Education Ministry should try to keep schools open during the Covid-19 pandemic instead of closing them, especially those that are not located in Covid-19 red zones.

“One of the lessons in fighting Covid-19 is that no one rule fits all circumstances as school closures impact not only students, teachers, and families, but have far-reaching economic and societal consequences,” the Iskandar Puteri MP said.

He then quizzed Education Minister Dr Radzi Jidin’s reasoning on the issue, saying his reply in Parliament that the closure of all schools was to prevent the spread of Covid-19 was unconvincing.

Lim added that it was “inconceivable” for schools and universities to remain closed until a vaccine is found, and they should be reopened with stricter SOPs or smaller classes. 

“Decision-making on the closure of schools and universities should be decentralised. For example, mandate each state government to decide on the issue instead of a national agency.

“Education NGOs and parents groups should be involved in the process to keep schools and universities open during the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said, adding the blanket closure of schools was an “easy way out”.

Recently, Mohd Radzi had announced that schools and vocational colleges were to close starting November 9 until the last day of the 2020 academic calendar year, with students continuing with lessons as decided by their teachers.

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