Spell out plans for 2021 school year, PKR lawmaker tells education minister as Covid-19 bites

A notice of closure is seen at the entrance of SJK (C) Yak Chee in Puchong October 12, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May
A notice of closure is seen at the entrance of SJK (C) Yak Chee in Puchong October 12, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 7 — Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil today urged Education Minister Mohd Radzi Md Jidin to make clear plans for the school system this year, so that students are not left behind in their studies due to the pandemic.

The Opposition lawmaker said the lack of guidelines was worrying as come January 20, over 10,000 schools would be re-opened for the new school-year, involving nearly 5 million students and 400,000 teachers.

“The education minister needs to be more proactive in working towards immediate solutions to our children’s education problems. Do not let them become a ‘lost generation’, stranded and shackled in the future due to the failure of today’s leaders,” Fahmi said in a statement.

The PKR communications director then put forward several suggestions he thought were necessary.

The first is to conduct a Covid-19 screening program for teachers and school administrative staff, especially for schools in red zones or for those who travelled across state borders — especially in the last week of 2020.

“Secondly, clearly announce the process that students will have to undergo if they are forced to stay in the same grade or form as they were in 2020.

“Thirdly, improve the online-learning system so that it is better than what students went through in 2020, and state the status of the delivery of 150,000 laptops that was promised by the finance minister in the tabling of Budget 2021,” he said.

Fahmi added that a thorough action-plan should be made clear for schools in areas under the conditional movement control order (CMCO) or enhanced movement control order (EMCO), which stops students from attending schools.

Lastly, he suggested introducing a program to ensure school-dropouts — which increased in number last year — are interested in returning to school.

Schools were unexpectedly closed in March last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting government restrictions. Classes were then moved online, however, many especially in low income groups, had difficulty joining such classes due to a lack of digital devices and internet connectivity.

Even as schools were reopened later that year, constant disruptions due to varying restrictions reacting to the rise and fall of Covid-19 cases in the country left prominent government exams either cancelled or postponed, hindering further education for most students.

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