The Borneo Post (Sabah)

STU call for schools to revert to PdPR gains support as Covid-19 cases surge


MIRI: The Education Ministry (MOE) should revert to online classes to avoid endangerin­g students and teachers in Covid19 red zones in view of the surge in infections in Sarawak, said Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB) president Bobby William.

He said the ministry and the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) should heed the call of Sarawak Teachers Union (STU) president Adam Prakash Abdullah to go back to Teaching and Learning at Home (PdPR) immediatel­y until the situation in Sarawak is under control.

“Stop dragging your feet in ordering the closure of schools in red zones in Sarawak,” said Bobby.

Adam told The Borneo Post on Wednesday that the increasing number of cases lately had raised concerns among parents and teachers.

He revealed that STU had requested that teachers be put on the priority list for Covid-19 vaccinatio­n but to date, their request had not been taken into considerat­ion and there were now cases of teachers and students getting infected.

“The number of teachers and students affected by the virus is increasing and when teachers are in quarantine, other teachers have to shoulder the extra burden of substituti­ng for them,” he said.

Bobby also said parents in red zones are worried about their children’s safety in schools and, as a father himself, he preferred them to be safe at home with PdPR online learning.

Meanwhile, DAP Baram chairman Marcus Hugo Lejau, a retired school principal, agreed with STU that physical classes in red zone areas should be avoided but it should be allowed in green zones at isolated village schools with strict visitor control.

“As crowded urban schools make it a daunting challenge for teachers, MOE should opt for online learning from home to avoid the spread of the virus to the school population in urban schools in red zones,” he said.

Marcus said the Education Ministry could be keeping schools open in order to finish the syllabus and to keep to the academic year as closely as possible to avoid disruption­s not only to the normal school schedule but also the public examinatio­n timetable.

He called upon the ministry to be pragmatic and seriously review all assessment­s and public examinatio­n formats without sacrificin­g their standards and objectives.

“This could be done with the inputs of many experience­d experts in the country or abroad,” he said.

He suggested that MOE review and improve the modules for teaching and learning from home to monitor and accommodat­e all groups of students who find problems in adapting to their lessons, including in terms of their electronic devices.

Such review would enable the education system to adjust itself to be relevant and meet the needs of the present generation and the future, said Marcus.

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