PETALING JAYA: Home-based learning (PdPR) will continue until the National Security Council decides otherwise, says Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin.
The programme will continue until schools reopen on June 13 and 14 for Group A and Group B schools respectively.
Group A are schools in Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu while the other states fall under Group B.
“They (national schools) will undergo at least 25 days of PdPR until the (one week) mid-semester school holidays, which starts on July 16 for Group A and July 17 for Group B.” he said.
Radzi added that international schools, private schools and expatriate schools must also carry out PdPR throughout the 25 days, based on their own academic calendar.
He said the ministry will give one week’s notice before schools resume face-to-face classes.
Exam year students will be the first to go back to school when it reopens.
While noting teachers and students have problems completing the syllabus using PdPR, Radzi said the ministry had realigned the curriculum last year to three main components – basic content, additional content and complementary content.
Thus, to ease the burden of completing the syllabus, he said teachers are required to focus on completing the basic content of the curriculum, that must be mastered by the students, before moving onto the other two components if they have the time.
Regarding the Cerdik initiative, Radzi said the ministry has distributed 12,887 digital devices with data plans to 95 schools to date, with another 40,290 units to be distributed by June 12 and another 96,823 units by the end of September.
The initiative, announced in Budget 2021, aims to provide 150,000 students from lower-income families with digital access in the form of laptops, tablets, and data connectivity.
On another matter, Radzi said he has spoken to National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin and that they hope to expedite the vaccine programme for teachers so that they can receive at least their first dose before schools reopen, possibly, at the end of July.
More than 70,000 teachers have received at least their first dose to date.
The Peninsular Malaysia Malay Students Federation president Mohd Alif Anas Md Noor welcomed Radzi’s announcement to continue with PdPR when schools reopen, saying that this would be a way to prevent the spread of Covid-19 among students.
The National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) said although the minister has stated that PdPR 2.0 is not set in stone, without an official directive, it will be “business as usual.”
“The administrators will follow the circular on PdPR to the letter, the state education departments and district education will monitor the schools like a hawk and none will be the wiser,” its secretary-general Harry Tan said.
Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education chairman Mak Chee Kin said it is wise to keep schools closed judging from the latest pandemic statistics.
However, he questioned if PdPR was effective as there is no equal access to it across the board with device, Internet and availability of trained teachers being the biggest factors.
Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE) chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said there needs to be continuous and consistent checks and balances by school leaders to ensure PdPR is of a high standard.