Strategy key to effective PdPR


AS the nation continues to grapple with soaring numbers of Covid-19 cases, attention has increasingly been focused on the need to take care of our mental health.

Despite the multiple efforts put in by individuals, non-governmental organisations and communities, mental health issues remain a cause for concern.

By now, many of the problems posed by the pandemic, which has swept across the nation since March last year, should have been resolved – that would have been a testament to our futuristic thinking, creativity and innovation.

Instead, in the realm of education, our teachers and students are still struggling with home-based teaching and learning (PdPR), with many reportedly feeling stressed.

Without the provision of Internet connectivity and electronic devices, those affected find it hard to keep up with the demands of online classes.

Even teachers who are diligent have felt limited by the constraints of carrying out lessons from behind a screen. They lament the challenges of giving students hands-on projects to work on.

A teacher said to me, “We are asked to be creative and give students fun projects to do but their resources are limited. The students need materials to complete the projects. They need to source for the materials from bigger supermarkets but children are not encouraged to leave their homes. Not everyone shops online. So, what can they do? It is such a dilemma.”

Many teachers are facing the above issues. They are doing the best they can but they are unable to reach out to every student in their online classes.

The main issue here is strategic planning. When eateries are allowed to open, wet and dry markets, grocery stores and supermarkets are allowed to operate, as well.

Likewise, if we want PdPR to run smoothly, there is a need for shops selling stationery, computers and telecommunications devices to be allowed to operate.

Were all these carefully thought through when PdPR was implemented? It was only from July 16 onwards that these shops have been allowed to open, after being shuttered for months.

In conclusion, strategic thinking and forward planning are vital especially in times like this; they make a big difference in different stages of civilisations.

The voices of students and teachers must be noted by all involved in the decision-making process in education as this is the only field that advances the citizens in every nation.

ASSOC PROF DR VISHALACHE BALAKRISHNAN

Director , Centre for Research in International and Comparative Education, Universiti Malaya

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