Despite harsh road conditions, a dedicated teacher from Sabah has been making arduous journeys to ensure his students' lessons are not interrupted.
Franky Collin Kulam, 40, is a primary school teacher at SK Buayan in Penampang, a remote school located 30km from Penampang town. The school only has 38 students and 10 teachers.
However, the students do not have access to the Internet and cannot attend e-learning classes during the movement control order imposed due to Covid-19.
Since the start of the MCO on Jan 18, Franky and his colleagues have been taking turns driving to the school to hand out learning modules prepared by teachers.
"These modules are for Year One to Year Six students. On Fridays, I will collect the students' completed work and hand them to their respective teachers in Kota Kinabalu. The modules are then marked and returned to students the following week," said Franky, who teaches Science, Moral Studies and Visual Arts to Year Four, Five and Six students.
Franky and three other teachers are stationed at Kampung Buayan every Wednesday to Friday, while others hold the fort from Monday to Wednesday.
Last Thursday, Franky uploaded a video of his journey on his YouTube channel, Oringg ba, to highlight the plight of students living in remote areas. The video has since garnered over 1,600 views.
The road conditions connecting Kampung Buayan and Penampang aren’t for the faint-hearted and one needs to be skillful and brave to drive through the jungle. The six-minute video shows Franky deftly manoeuvring his four-wheel truck through deep mud terrains to reach the village.
"Although the school is just 30km from Penampang town, it can take up to 90mins to reach it, especially after a heavy downpour. The road conditions are bad and villagers must cross three rivers to reach Penampang. Things become even more challenging whenever a landslide occurs," said Franky over the phone from Kota Kinabalu recently.
The video has since received positive feedback from Malaysians.
VeeRInC wrote: "Sabahans appreciate your deeds for the better(ment) of our younger generation Cikgu. Stay blessed."
Angela Han wrote: "You’re the best, Teacher. The sincere efforts of a teacher. Be careful as the roads are challenging. SK Buayan has a beautiful view.”
Franky and his colleagues do not mind going the extra mile for their students.
"We don't want students living in remote areas to be left out because they have no Internet access. Hopefully, with better road conditions and Internet connectivity in the future, these children will have better access to education," said the father-of-three who lives in Penampang.