Unis to students: We’ll get you back home


We’re coming home: UPM students Nurul Natasha Mohamad (left) and her roommate Nur Arsya Mohd Shamsuri packing up their belongings before returning to their hometown for Hari Raya. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Universities around the country are putting measures in place to ensure their students get home in time for Hari Raya next week.

Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) deputy vice-chancellor (student affairs and alumni) Prof Dr Arifin Abdu said UPM has arranged for more than 20 buses to take 1,400 students back to their hometowns or to the airport.

“This is to accommodate students whose parents are unable to get them from campus and do not have their own transport, ” he added.

He noted that besides flying, students were not allowed to use public transport to return home.

Prof Arifin also said the buses will begin departing UPM’s Serdang and Bintulu campuses from Friday.

Students will undergo health screenings, and given hand sanitisers, face masks and also a meal for breaking their fast on their journey home, he told The Star.

Prof Arifin also said the number of students per bus will be kept low to maintain physical distance, and the buses will be sanitised before departure.

He said the university had about 6,000 students who will be returning home with 2,268 being picked up by their parents, 1,590 using their own vehicles, and 682 taking flights.

As for those who choose to stay back on campus, UPM will be providing meals for Hari Raya.

Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Student Affairs) said more than 200 vehicles – buses, multipurpose vehicles and cars – will be used to send over 16,000 students from 30 UiTM campuses back to their hometowns across the country.

The university said 700 staff members, with the help of its student representative council, college representatives committee and other relevant departments, will be on hand to ensure full compliance with the standard operating procedure.

It also said there will be Hari Raya celebrations on campus for those not returning home.

Sunway Education Group chief executive officer Prof Elizabeth Lee said it is ready to assist students who do not possess their own vehicles and will not be picked up by their parents but wanted to return home.

She said students will be provided with inter-district or interstate travel permission letters, and that there will also be a virtual celebration for those who will not be returning home this year.

National Association of Private Educational Institutions president Elajsolan Mohan said many private universities do not have campus residential facilities and as such, students are arranging their journeys back to their hometowns on their own.

Most private varsities, he added, do not have as many facilities as public universities, such as campus buses.

“Those living outside the campus arrange their own transport either by driving themselves or by getting picked up by their parents.

“Many students have prioritised their safety and are avoiding any travel.

“They are also worried about what might happen if the number of cases increases rapidly and the government decides to introduce a lockdown because they would then be stranded and won’t be able to return to their campuses to continue face-to-face teaching and learning, ” he said.

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