Appeal for schools to stay open


PARENTS and teachers alike were happy when schools were reopened in July and face-to-face teaching and learning resumed.

But schools were suddenly directed to close again on Oct 14 in Sabah, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya. Then, on Nov 6, all schools nationwide were forced to close until Dec 6. On Nov 8, the Education Minister announced that schools would be closed for the rest of the year.

I would like the Education Minister to enlighten us on the following issues.

All schools were about to conduct their year-end examinations and some were already in progress. With no PT3 exam or assessment, how would students apply for residential and other elite schools? How would streaming be conducted for Science and Art classes for Form 4?

The Form 5 trial examination was also not held. With the SPM delayed, the result of the trial examination would have been helpful to those intending to apply for A-Levels, diploma or matriculation courses.

Since Form 5 students will be continuing their studies until January 2021, the ministry moved Form 2 and 3 lessons online until after the SPM exam, thereby solving the problem of shortage of classrooms.

But this doesn’t address the issue of teachers. The number of teachers in a school is based on the number of classes. Their timetable and teaching periods are based on the current students in the school, including online classes. Who will teach this year’s Form 5 students?

If, on average, a school has four to six Form 5 classes, at least eight to 10 extra teachers would be needed. Does the ministry have the allocation for this?

The book loan scheme is another matter to consider. Students usually return them after the year-end examination, but this year these textbooks cannot be collected as the Form 5 students of 2020 would still need them until the end of February 2021. What will the

Form 5 students of 2021 do for two months without the textbooks?

The National Security Council (NSC) and Health Ministry acted without consulting the stakeholders. What is the reason for closing all schools nationwide? Only those in the red zones where the number of cases is very high should have been closed.

The last two weeks of school are very crucial for their management. This is the time when teachers have to close all their files and do their planning for the coming year.

Confusing instructions from the Education Minister do not help. For example, what does “Guru perlu kekal berada di stesen tempat bertugas masing-masing” mean? From my understanding, it means teachers must be at school, but I don’t think this is happening. It would be a big help if teachers are at school.

I appeal to the Education Minister, Health Ministry and NSC to please consider allowing Form 5 students to attend school and continue their preparations for the SPM, their most crucial examination and which determines their future.

S. ARUNANDY

Kuala Lumpur

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