Opposition to MOE: Stop idling, students are missing out on education!

IRATE by the Government’s “knee-jerk reactions”, several Pakatan Harapan leaders urged the Education Ministry (MOE) to get pro-active and creative as students are missing out on schooling due to the pandemic.

“I urge Minister Radzi Jidin and his two deputies to get their acts together and engage relevant stakeholders to improve the situation.

“Dily-dallying and keeping mum are no longer an option as we’re talking about our children’s future here,” Pakatan Harapan Education Committee said, in a statement.

AS COVID-19 cases reach alarming levels, the Government announced that schools across the nation will be closed after the Hari Raya holidays.

The Government also announced that students will embark on the home-based teaching and learning (PDPR) method during the period.

Back in April itself, the Pakatan Harapan education committee have voiced concerns on how students from the B40 groups are being left out from PDPR, as they lacked Internet facility.

“This is also true for those who live in areas where Internet accessibility is a luxury. With no choice, teachers have to fork out their own money to help their students to gain connection.

“Plus, they also have to use their own funds to get students and their own kids learning materials so the latter won’t get left behind,” the committee said then.

On the school closures, the committee said it was best if the Government rescind its blanket directive and only close schools affected by COVID-19 clusters alone.

“Lost Generation” a ticking time-bomb?

For starters, they said the MOE could use the Hotspot Identification by Dynamic Engagement (HIDE) system to identify areas in red, yellow and green zones, to decide on which schools to close.

“For rural areas far away from affected areas, with little to and from travels, MOE can allow the schools to open as usual especially if they lack Internet coverage.

“Another option is for the Government to open classes in several phases. For example, those sitting for SPM this year should be allowed to attend school daily.

“But for those in Form 4, they can come to school on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for PDPR lesson, with Thursdays reserved for DidikTV session,” they opined.

As for SPM, the committee urged the Government to reduce the topics covered in the national exams, in line with what they actually studied during the lockdown period.

This is so as most Form 4 students last year did not really study comprehensively, due to the mess in the PDPR system.

The committee added that MOE should have also provided self-learning materials to students, coupled with new and flexible pedagogy.

“Parents are worried as they don’t know how much their kids have progressed. They can’t scrutinise their children’s workbooks and MOE did not guide them, physically or by using a specific application, for them to do so,” they stated.

In general, the committee urged MOE to address the problems faced by the “Lost Generation”, as it would impact children and Malaysia’s future.

“Opposition have given plenty of ideas on how to deal with the situation but the Government is not serious in addressing the problem.

“Have they thought about how this will affect us in the next five or 10 years down the road? Are we going to see massive socio-economic problems as a result of our inactions now?

“MOE should find radical and collective solutions to this before it’s too late,” they remarked.

The committee members include former Education Minister Maszlee Malik, his ex-deputy Teo Nie Ching, Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad and Datuk Hassan Baharom. – May 9, 2021.

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