Parents prefer going back to January school year

PETALING JAYA: Some parents are in favour of the academic year reverting to January instead of the current arrangement that starts in March as it would be more convenient for them to plan and keep track of their children’s education.

Chartered accountant Christine Koh, 39, from Melaka, said the current arrangement could disrupt the plans that parents have for their families, which include school preparations and year-end family trips.

“It will be good to adjust the school session back to January. If possible, let’s not wait until 2026 as announced,” said the mother of three primary school pupils.

On Saturday, the Education Ministry said it would postpone the suggestion to revert the academic calendar to January for the time being after considering the potential impacts.

The ministry said it could be done by gradually shortening the school holidays from 2023 until 2026.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic that hit the country in 2020, school operations were disrupted, pushing the conventional academic year to start in March instead of January.

Another parent, Mohd Zahid Zulfiqar, also said reverting to January would provide longer school holidays for the students.

“Families can then spend more time together,” said the 51-year-old from Kuala Lumpur.

Entrepreneur Nicholas Tham, 40, of Petaling Jaya, said he was fine with the move as long as his four children could catch up on their studies with their peers.

The ministry also announced that the academic calendar for the 2023/2024 school session will be from March 19, 2023, to March 9, 2024, for Group A, and from March 20, 2023, to March 10, 2024, for Group B.

Group A comprises Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu while Selangor, Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Penang, Sabah, Sarawak and the three Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya are listed under Group B.

Parent Action Group for Education chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said the government must address the issue of measuring the standards of students following learning loss due to the pandemic.

“What is crucial is not when the new academic year should begin but whether the students have met standards, benchmarks and targets in order for them to be elevated.

“Since returning to face-to-face learning, students have been assessed individually to determine their levels. The question is whether these assessments were considered as teachers began to re-teach or is it merely to appease parents?” she said when contacted.

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