Stop flip-flopping, say parents and teachers

PETALING JAYA: Safety must always be the priority but the authorities should also avoid flip-flopping on their decisions regarding the reopening of schools, say parents and teachers.

A teacher, who wanted to be known only as Ram, said he supported the ministry’s change of mind.

“No one wants this (not resuming face-to-face learning for the whole country) and it is a tough call when you are the decision maker.

“Once and for all, they should put themselves in students’ shoes before making any decision at this point. They should not keep changing important decisions as it affects the mindset of students, ” he added.

Ram also said he was not surprised that the Education Ministry decided to implement home-based teaching and learning (PdPR) in light of the current situation.

Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education chairman Mak Chee Kin said parents were left wondering how the Education Ministry came to decide earlier last week to allow students in states under the conditional movement control order and recovery MCO back in school but not those in MCO states from Jan 20.

This decision by the ministry was changed on Saturday to disallow all education institutions under its purview from resuming face-to-face lessons.

Only students sitting for the 2020 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), Sijil Vokasional Malaysia (SVM), Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia (SKM), Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM), Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia (STAM) and Diploma Vokasional Malaysia (DVM) as well as other international level exams certified by the ministry are allowed back to school.

“Didn’t they study and explore all their options and models before making a decision, especially on such matters that affect everyone’s safety?” Mak said.

He added that although students from Year One to Form Five would not need to return to school, Form Six students were still required to do so.

“This is very worrying with the high number of cases right now.

“The students in Form Six colleges will face problems maintaining physical distancing and adhering to the standard operating procedure when they still have the same number of classrooms with the same number of students in them.”

Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said the Education Ministry had reiterated that any decision it made regarding educational institutions under its watch would require the go-ahead from the Health Ministry.

“While the Education Ministry may appear to be flip-flopping, it is based on the recommendation of the Health Ministry. After all, positive cases are projected to rise significantly, ” she added.

National Union of the Teaching Profession secretary-general Harry Tan Huat Hock said teachers understood why the ministry made such decisions that were based on what current information it had.

“The Education Ministry has no choice as safety is its priority as the number of cases keeps growing, ” he said.

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