Some want physical schooling postponed

GEORGE TOWN: Form One student N. Khirankhumar has forgotten when he last went to school to attend classes.

And although the 13-year-old is keen to go back to see his teachers and friends, the high number of Covid-19 cases is making him hold back.

“I want to go back, but I’m afraid of Covid-19. It’s not hard to put on a face mask throughout the day but not every student will follow the rule,” said Khirankhumar, who lives with his family of five in a People’s Housing Project flat unit in Jalan Sungai.

When lessons are done online, he and his siblings are on their own at home while their parents are at work. He said they have learned to manage their school activities at home.

“We just cook simple food like instant noodles and then follow our lessons on mobile phones.

“Sometimes, my mother buys takeaway food and helps us with our revisions,” he said.

His mother R. Maliga, 45, a cleaner, said she hopes schools will only reopen next year after the Covid-19 situation improves.

“It’s already nearing the end of the year. All my three children are not vaccinated. We would rather have our children take online lessons at home while we are out working,” she said.

Housewife Lee Joo Im, 43, who has three children aged 16, 15 and eight, also wants physical schooling to be postponed until the Covid-19 situation improves.

“Although my children are sometimes forced to share mobile phones for their lessons and struggle with poor connectivity, we would rather face these difficulties than the risks outside,” said Lee, whose 16-year-old daughter studying in Form Four has a medical condition, which reduces her immunity.

“The younger children still lack awareness on keeping themselves safe,” she added.

So, she said, despite the struggle at home to get the attention of teachers and the barriers in accessing learning materials, her family would rather “go slow and stay safe”.

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