PETALING JAYA: The onus is on older students to make the Education Ministry’s school reopening management guidelines work, educationists say.
A total of 500,440 Forms Five and Six and Sijil Vokasional Malaysia and Sijil Tinggi Agama students from 2,440 schools and hundreds of international schools resume classes today.
Forms Five and Six students’ compliance with the ministry’s standard operating procedures (SOPs), said Datuk N. Siva Subramaniam, could determine whether other students get to return to school.“Their example, starting today, may affect the future of other children.
“These students must set an exemplary precedent and habit; they know what must be done,” said the educationist and former National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general.
Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education (Magpie) chairman Mak Chee Kin agreed, saying the battle against Covid-19 is not over and advised students not to take matters lightly.
“Do not be mischievous and play pranks on your friends when you reunite with them in school.
“Heed the rules stipulated in the SOPs,” he stressed.
He, however, argued that it is up to the school management and teachers in ensuring the SOPs are successfully implemented.
While it may be easier for Forms Five and Six students to comply with the guidelines, he said their level of readiness cannot be used as a benchmark against other students, especially primary school pupils.
“The success of these students in practising the SOPs does not necessarily translate to the readiness of younger pupils as the latter lack the level of maturity and discipline to fully abide by the rules.
“I doubt the younger ones will be able to control themselves by not playing and physically contacting their friends,” he said.
NUTP secretary-general Harry Tan said the older students must also be streetwise, especially as they are on the threshold of adulthood.
They know when and where the danger lies, he added.
“However, they need to heed the advice of professionals so that they can be protected.
“It’s difficult for students to stick to guidelines for a long time as they are social beings.
“The novelty of keeping apart will wear off once they interact and see that everything is back to normal, even though the threat of Covid-19 still lingers,” he said.
A Form Six student who wanted to be known as Ziann said as seniors, it’s vital for them to set an example.Commending the ministry’s move to only resume classes for older students at the moment, he said it is crucial for these students to take responsibility and comply with the SOPs while in school.
He added that parents should also do their part and keep track of their child’s health.
“Students who are sick and show symptoms should not return to school and should be quickly sent for treatment,” he said.
Nur Aina, a Form Five student, said if “seniors” stick by the rules, the ministry might even consider reopening schools for other students.
Education Minister Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin previously said that the ministry would see how the guidelines were being implemented once schools reopened and if there was room for improvement.
It would then be carried out to ensure that students follow the teaching and learning (PdP) process in a safe environment, Bernama reported.
Muhammad Yusuf Nazaruddin, a International Islamic University Malaysia third year Economics and Science Management student, said he wants to return to campus soon, especially since his fees have not been reduced.
“Hopefully if the SOPs are successfully implemented in schools, it can be adopted in higher education institutions (HEIs),” he added.
Agreeing, Mohamad Ariff Fikri Ali said if the SOPs work well for Forms Five and Six students, it could be applied to HEI students.
The Universiti Putra Malaysia student representative council vice-president however said that factors such as the number of students in each HEI, for example, must be taken into account if the SOPs are adopted.
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