KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 — Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) Education Committee today slammed yesterday’s announcement by Education Minister Datuk Mohd Radzi Md Jidin that schools are set to reopen nationwide, starting March 1, calling it a “shocking” decision.
The committee urged the government to pay heed to the problems faced by both teachers and parents, especially those in Covid-19 red-zone areas, as well as movement control order (MCO) ones.
“The reopening of schools throughout the country should take states and the different phases of the MCO that they are under into account.
“School authorities, including management, PTA (parent-teacher associations) and boards of directors (if any), should have the autonomy to decide whether to reopen or stay closed because circumstances may vary on a case-by-case basis as well as depending on location.
“The Ministry of Education should not make a blanket decision when our country is in the midst of a pandemic,” the committee said in a statement today.
The committee consists of former education minister Maszlee Malik, his former deputy Teo Nie Ching, Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad and Tampin MP Datuk Hasan Baharom.
It also recommended vaccine priority for teachers, among other measures.
“At the same time, schools should let teachers focus on education. All administrative tasks, paperwork and classroom-related work should not be a priority at this time.
“Teachers and other school staff should be given (Tier One) priority in the vaccine programme because when schools reopen, they are also frontliners striving to educate the nation.
“The government must draw up comprehensive plans for all scenarios involving the Covid-19 pandemic so that parents, students, teachers and all others who might be affected can work on the preparatory measures,” the committee said.
Yesterday, Radzi announced that Malaysian students are expected back in classrooms under the new normal from the beginning of March.
In a special press conference, he explained that preschools and those in Standard 1 and 2 would resume in-person classes on March 1, while Standard 3 to 6 would do so on March 8.
As for secondary schools categorised under Group A, which consists of Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu, they will commence on April 4, he added. All remaining states, categorised under Group B, will begin on April 5.