PETALING JAYA: Preparing for tighter restrictions and a possible lockdown, anxious parents are making sure that their children’s education is not interrupted if physical classes are cancelled.
Parents are taking matters into their own hands and making their own preparations in light of the spike in Covid-19 cases and the uncertainty over whether the scheduled Jan 20 school reopening will go on as planned.
The impact of a lockdown weighed differently on children, so preventive and proactive measures must be taken, said mother of two Fauzia Sultan.
“My youngest son is 11 and mildly autistic. For children like him, online learning can be very challenging as he is easily distracted.
“It is difficult to keep him focused for hours without other forms of stimulation which classroom learning provides. I’m looking at ways on how we can engage him in lessons that fascinate him, such as coding, ” she said.
For her eldest son, who will be sitting for the SPM 2020 exam in February, Fauzia is getting an online private tutor to help him.
“It’s a challenge to manage schooling during lockdowns, ” she said.
Not wishing to wait until the eleventh hour, a parent who only wanted to be known as Kogilavani has enrolled her eldest son, who will also be sitting for the SPM 2020 this year, for one-to-one sessions with an online tutor to work on his weaker subjects.
“The rise in Covid-19 cases is so worrying. The thought of schools reopening is frightening. I am not keen on sending my sons to school if cases continue to increase. I hope online classes will continue if measures such as lockdowns are imposed, ” she added.
Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education chairman Mak Chee Kin said the onus was on parents if a lockdown were to happen.
For children who face difficulties with online learning, parents should find alternative methods with which to engage them, he said.
“Be proactive and get in touch with your children’s teachers. Take the initiative to submit their homework to the teachers.
“No doubt, it is more work for parents, and time consuming too, but it is for the betterment of their children, ” he said.
Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim suggested that the Education Ministry should continue online classes for all students, except those in Forms Five and Six.
Forms Five and Six students could be allowed to return to schools, with tight standard operating procedures in place, she said.
“We are very concerned over the spike in cases. For areas without connectivity, books still remain an important source of knowledge, ” she said.
National Union of the Teaching Professions secretary-general Harry Tan said he was not worried about his teachers’ ability to conduct online sessions once again.
“Teachers have been teaching online for most of 2020, ” he said, adding that any form of a lockdown, which would require them to extend their online teaching this year, would not pose “much of a problem”.
“The ministry’s school reopening management guidelines – released in June last year – still applies and will be reviewed from time to time to meet health requirements, ” he said.
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