Lessons from the pandemic

  • Education
  • Sunday, 09 Aug 2020

THE scourge that is Covid-19 has had a stranglehold on Malaysia’s internal affairs, subjugating its people to the asphyxiation of strangling new norms and challenges. Our country’s frontliners have helped alleviate the wounds inflicted by this invisible assailant on our people and our authorities have monitored tirelessly to ensure compliance with the standard operating procedure (SOP).

Collectively, we strenuously helped mitigate the effects of the crisis.

Nevertheless it remains very much alive and in hiding. But who would have thought that it would be the effort of a third world country that would be ranked among the top five according to a global survey.

Malaysians are to brace themselves for the possible onslaught ahead and are to persist with this new normal.

Are there other areas where a new normal could be realised as a result of the pandemic, potentially revivifying Malaysia’s position in education internationally? What would the new normal for Malaysia’s education look like?

The prominence of the education sector rests upon the responsibilities of the institution involved in the overseeing and supervision of new proposals and policies put forward.

Malaysia’s reliance on the National Security Council during the pandemic was crucial to its success whereby the officials involved had proactively assessed the situation at hand and attempted to predict potential problems so that rational decisions could be made.

Analogously, the Education Ministry could be proactive and adopt a similar method of decision-making in the event of abrupt changes to the education sector to avoid back and forth reactions to syllabus and timetable implementations which would ultimately place students and teachers in a state of frenzy.

Another display of Malaysia’s resistance to the pandemic was seen in the efficacy of its frontliners.

Malaysian frontliners, doctors and nurses alike, had persisted continuously in their engagement with Covid-19 patients despite the unique nature of the situation they faced.

Some frontliners were subsequently rewarded for their work by the government through contract extensions, an incentive to increase continued engagement to reach desirable results.

Teachers stand as the light bearers that serve to bestow upon children the gift of the flame that is education.

However they inadvertently endure a fate similar to that of Prometheus as they are chained to walls, the livers of their enthusiasm exploited, expected to continue their efforts despite heavy constraints.

Teachers could be liberated from their chains through the introduction of new incentive programmes and financial leniencies to guarantee their continued enthusiasm and commitment in the sector.

Among Malaysia’s innovative efforts, the introduction of new technology was among its most ingenious.

The implementation of the MySejahtera app was pivotal as it served to help Malaysians overcome technological barriers to achieve smoother transitions.

The education sector should strive to find ways to incorporate as much technology in education as they can, albeit the cost may be significantly high initially, the alleviation of students in rural and sub-urban areas from having minimal sources of educational references to having new sources may prove to yield valuable fruits for the future.

The introduction of technology shouldn’t be treated as a luxury whereby it is reserved for some schools, rather it should be a widespread necessity designed to adapt to the challenges of the world.


Shah Alam

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