Pakatan education council offers several recommendations to improve home-learning after Raya holidays

File picture shows SPM student Nurul Ain learning after the launch of Didik TV by the Prime Minister, at her house in Wangsamas, Kuala Lumpur, February 17, 2021. The Ministry of Education creates the channel for education TV broadcasts. — Picture by Hari Anggara
File picture shows SPM student Nurul Ain learning after the launch of Didik TV by the Prime Minister, at her house in Wangsamas, Kuala Lumpur, February 17, 2021. The Ministry of Education creates the channel for education TV broadcasts. — Picture by Hari Anggara

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 9 — The Pakatan Harapan education council has made several suggestions to the Education Ministry on the implementation of the home-based Teaching and Learning (PdPR) method following the Aidilfitri holiday period.

The members, comprising Pakatan’s education chairman Maszlee Malik, PKR’s Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, former deputy education minister Teo Nie Ching, and Parti Amanah’s Datuk Hasan Baharom, said the ministry’s current plan is seen as a knee-jerk reaction without a long-term plan which has caused much unease among parents and teachers.

“Many concerns and criticism have been voiced on social media, but the ministry has not yet responded in a responsible manner,” it said in a statement.

Starting off with the closure of all schools following the holidays, the council said this decision made it difficult for school personnel to carry out administrative tasks, and resulted in teachers being unable to prepare for classes without rapid preparation.

“The ministry needs to differentiate between green, yellow, and red zones. The Hotspots Identification for Dynamic Engagement (HIDE) system can aid in determining if schools in a zone are suitable to remain open or otherwise.

“This is especially for interior or rural schools far from concentrated areas of infections, with little to no movement in or out. Such schools should remain open as their Internet capacity is insufficient to conduct PdPR,” it said.

Another pressing issue is the lack of an alternative plan for students who may been left behind in the school syllabus, especially for those whose parents did not permit them to attend school physically out of a concern over the increasingly critical Covid-19 situation.

“As early as a year ago, the ministry should have prepared self-learning materials for the students with a new and flexible pedagogy.

“However it has taken the easy way of opening and closing schools, and only ordering PdPR. Has our education system run out of new ideas to guarantee the continuation of students’ education?” said the council.

It also pushed for more additional incentives to be given to teachers when the PdPR commences.

“Teachers are burdened as they must organise classroom schedules, even when online. Not only would they have to sit in front of the laptop all day, they might even have to spend their own money to purchase additional data or teaching tools,” said the council.

Concerns over the status of SPM students for 2021 were also raised, as Form Four students last year already faced disruptions to their studies which in turn have affected their performance.

“If last year’s SPM students only faced a year of disruption, then this year’s students have now lost two years of education, due to the latest PdPR.

“Given the weakness of this year’s students in Form Four and Five subjects, the ministry should instead reduce the number of suitable topics in line with their actual period of study,” it said.

The council urged Education Minister Datuk Radzi Jidin and his deputies Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon and Muslimin Yahaya to take proactive steps in engaging with various parties to improve the situation.

“We also urge that all the recommendations mentioned above should be raised in these discussions, since they reflect the rakyat, grassroots, and academics’ views,” it said.

On April 26, Radzi announced that school sessions will be held online for two weeks after the Hari Raya Aidilfitri holidays through PdPR.

It will be implemented from May 16 to 27 for group A schools (in Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu) and May 17 to 28 for group B schools (in Perlis, Penang, Perak, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Melaka, Pahang, Sabah, Sarawak, Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya).

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