by ASILA JALIL / pic by TMR FILE
FORMER Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik (picture) has proposed solutions for the education system in the country, amid the pandemic, to ensure the learning environment is conducive for everyone involved.
The proposal is divided into two parts where the first part highlights 14 issues that are present during the pandemic, while the second part includes long-term solutions to be applied in a post-pandemic setting.
Among the problems underscored by Maszlee is the effectiveness of the home-based teaching and learning (PdPR) for students nationwide since a number of students does not have access to Internet.
He noted that the Education Ministry (MoE) should reevaluate its decision to resume online classes, especially in the current condition where many students are incapable and left behind.
“Provide autonomous power to the school administration to decide the best approach to conduct PdPR and do not burden the teachers with reporting tasks relating to online classes.
“The most important report that should be done by teachers is actually reporting to the parents or continuous communication between teachers and parents, as for secondary school students and above, there should be constant communication between the teachers and students themselves,” he said in the proposal outline.
Besides teachers, he stressed that parents who have taken up the former’s role at home require guidance and supplementary teaching materials to assist their children during PdPR.
The MoE is also urged to develop a one-stop centre website where teachers can download teaching materials, modules and exercises that can be used throughout online learning at home to ensure no students are left behind in their education journey.
On the reopening of schools, he proposed a rotational schedule to lessen the capacity in the school compound, thus avoiding the occurrence of a school cluster.
Similar to his proposal for PdPR, he said the school authorities should be given full autonomy to decide on the best solution for the issues surrounding reopening based on each school’s needs.
“MoE cannot opt for a blanket decision on matters relating to the opening or closure of schools.
“Authority should be given to the District Education Office and the school administration, with discussion with the Parents and Teachers Association, Health Ministry (MoH), National Security Council and the local council,” he said.
He also touched on the “lost generation”, which refers to a group of students who are unable to gain access to quality education especially during a pandemic where everything is technology-driven.
It includes those who do not understand why learning is being done at home and students who lack motivation due to an ecosystem that is not conducive for learning.
Maszlee said MoE should form a National Education Action Council made up of representatives from the National Union of the Teaching Profession, Unicef, MoH, NGOs and MPs from both political blocs to overcome the issue.
Meanwhile, among the solutions proposed by the former minister include a new education model (NEM) which focuses on nurturing holistic and a wide range of talents that are needed in the 21st century.
“NEM is a game changer that will bring Malaysia’s education system to a new level. It is aimed at making our education system on par with those of developed nations.
“NEM is formulated based on the current global condition, especially ahead of IR4.0.
“Post-Covid-19 environment seems like a huge opportunity for the country to do a great reset to the existing education system,” said Maszlee.
He also suggested the implementation of breakfast programmes in schools, which is expected to benefit nearly 2.7 million students and 50,000 teachers nationwide for a duration of 200 days a year.
He said 7,772 schools would be involved and this could benefit suppliers, namely 100,000 canteen workers nationwide and 500,000 workers.