Parent’s concern over SPM


AS a parent and spouse to an educator, allow me to share my opinion regarding the recent announcement about students sitting for major public exams this year and the announcement of the new school terms.

It is without a doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has derailed everyone’s lives. Drastic changes and difficult adaptations needed to be made for us to continue our lives under the new normal. And, of course, children and students of all ages have not been spared either.

The Education Ministry (including Higher Education), I believe, is second only to the Health Ministry in terms of grappling with the logistics of dealing with the sheer numbers under their purview. The welfare of students and teachers alike must be taken care of.

This pandemic, as all of us are aware, has affected our children’s education and development. It has also put pressure on teachers who have had to switch to online classes and make other adjustments, not to mention the difficulties faced by parents. It’s not an easy matter to balance health and the need for education. The following is my view of some of the problems.

For students sitting for major exams, the uncertainty and postponement of dates have unfortunately resulted in more mental pressure and anguish. Some have lost their drive and find it difficult to maintain their motivation at what is arguably one of the major turning points in their lives.

The need to sit for trial exams when they return has left them with little time to prepare for the actual papers, adding more stress to what is already a tense situation. I sincerely hope that no more postponements are made.

For teachers, the need to conduct online classes has posed a challenge, which I feel they have risen admirably to. What our educators are finding difficulty in managing are the ever-changing directives and guidelines from the higher officers of education.

Granted that the pandemic situation remains constantly fluid, but the changes that are made can sometimes come too often to reasonably deal with. Rosters, timetables and school administrative work have had to be regularly tinkered with, adding to the burden educators face.

Parents who are able to home-school their children are a dedicated group, but it is a task many find difficult. Online classes, although achievable, have placed many households into situations where devices and Internet lines have to be shared, and this can at times prove impossible.

There are also parents who have made the necessary preparations and travelled with their children to register them at boarding schools, only to be told to go home, a situation university students have faced before. Money is not easy to come by for some of us, and the current situation has worsened that factor, too.

There are many other difficult situations faced by students, teachers and parents – the ones I mentioned are truly just the tip of the iceberg.

It is said, time and time again, that there is a need to balance health and the country’s economy. But there is equally a need to balance between health and education. The vaccines will take some time to come, and although I understand the risks posed by the coronavirus, I am equally concerned that our children will truly become the lost generation.

MAM

Petaling Jaya

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