KUALA LUMPUR (SIN CHEW DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – There are two recent measures introduced by the education ministry that have drawn much attention among Malaysians.
Firstly there will be a sharp increase in the number of hours for online teaching, and secondly, face-to-face teaching for Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and Sijil Vokasional Malaysia (SVM) candidates will end on February 9.
Talking about home teaching and learning (PdPR), home teaching is currently conducted by schools in accordance with the proposed guidelines issued by the education ministry on October 2 last year, namely an hour a day for pre-school students, one to two hours a day for primary school students, two to three hours a day for lower secondary and three to four hours a day for upper secondary.
To students, this amount of learning will never be sufficient and the effects may not be comparable to face-to-face teaching.
For primary school students in particular, how would an hour a day of home teaching enable them to learn effectively? For many students, they have wasted almost a whole year of school education!
Unfortunately it has taken the education ministry such a long time to realise the deficiency and the need to extend the hours of home teaching.
While this is definitely a good move, the question is: why has it taken them so long to see the problem?
Home teaching is easier said than done, and because of that, it requires effective planning, collaboration and prompt actions from the education ministry as well as relevant authorities to make sure our youngsters can continue to learn effectively during this pandemic.
It is sad that after more than a year tackling the virus and quite a long time conducting online lessons, the authorities still fail to effectively integrate the resources in order to implement this measure appropriately.
Among the problems encountered by students include inadequate equipment and poor internet speed.
When the finance minister tabled the 2021 Budget last year, it was mentioned that the government would allocate RM150 million (S$40 million) for the purchase of notebook computers for 150,000 needy students, but so far there has been no follow-up on this.
The finance minister said earlier this allocation would be disbursed in February but already in the second week of February now and the allocation is still nowhere in sight while online teaching has been carried out for so many months now.
In the meantime, the education ministry has also announced that students sitting for SPM and SVM will no longer need to go back to school from tomorrow.
Again, this is controversial as the students have only come back to school for a very short period of time and no one can understand the logic behind such a move.
While the authorities may have valid reasons to support their decision, they should perhaps do more explaining during such a trying time in order to clear the doubts of the public.
It is everyone’s knowledge that education is the bedrock of nation-building and the government is therefore duty-bound to plan well ahead to ensure teaching quality so that our students will not be left behind.
Unfortunately the pandemic has also exposed the shortsightedness of our government and education ministry in the planning and execution of effective education for our young.
It is imperative that they make amends as soon as possible, for education is of paramount importance and must not be compromised even in the midst of this pandemic.
Sin Chew Daily is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 23 news media organisations.