Limited internet access a challenge for online learning, teaching

by BERNAMA/ pic by BERNAMA

THE online teaching and learning (PdP) method used to replace classroom teaching is one of the safest ways used during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period to break the chain of COVID-19 infections.

However, the snag is that some students do not have access to internet or may have a weak connection, especially those living in rural areas or from poor families.

So what can teachers do to ensure their students are not left behind during the MCO period?

English language teacher Mohd Fakhrul Anwar, 34, who is from Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Jemerli, Kuala Ketil, Kedah, feels that the PdP method is very challenging for teachers like him who teach in rural areas.

He said the biggest obstacle is that not all students have internet access or even electronic devices.

“Online learning is very dependent on internet access…for instance, in my school, students are given work through Google Form or Quizizz, but not all can get access.

“There are students who do not have online data, and it is a problem for families with more than one schooling child but only one handphone,” he told Bernama.

Mohd Fakhrul said students without internet data will probably fall behind in their studies, so teachers will have to call them to tell about homework and which textbooks to use.

“It is very difficult to hold online classes…I have tried using Google Meet but it was not easy and some parents even had to go out to the main road to get internet access,” he said.

Mohd Fakhrul said students who live in urban areas would not have any problems as their access to internet was good, but these were a small number.

Meanwhile, English Language teacher at a Mara Junior Science College (MRSM), Raja Maizatul Wizana Raja Mansor, 42, said students from the B40 group and had only one handphone which is shared with other family members are given more time to complete their assignments.

She said the assignments are also suited to the handphones and students can submit their work in condensed version while those with laptops and internet will have no problems sending in their work in a video.

“We in MRSM have been asked to provide various types of medium such as Google Classroom, Google Meets, Telegram, WhatsApp and the Short Messaging Service…so far, there have been no problems.

“So far, the students have no problem with internet access, regardless of whether they are rich or poor, in urban or rural areas…as long as they have a handphone, the PdP can be conducted…what is important is whether they want to learn or not,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mathematics teacher in a primary school in Taiping, Perak, Syafaat Nasib, 29, said he does not conduct online classes and homework is given through the Telegram application, but not all students are in the group.

He said teachers must be aware of students who may have problems with online study due to lack of internet access.

“However, if students have problems (with internet access), we will make up for it when the school re-opens,” he said.

Recently, Education Minister Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin said students who do not have internet access can keep up with their studies through educational television on RTM’s TV Okey.

He said this would benefit not just the students but also teachers and parents during the MCO period.