2020-07-03 17:23:08  2300894
Learning the new normal way

Sin Chew Daily

With the coronavirus outbreak now largely under control and movement controls gradually relaxed, majority of economic sectors have been allowed to resume operation while schools are prepared to welcome back their students over the next two weeks.

Four months of lockdown has had a definite impact on the students' learning progress. While the education ministry has earlier encouraged schools to conduct "online classes" during the lockdown, the effects have been unsatisfactory.

The teacher-student interactivity through online learning is inferior compared to classroom learning. Online learning has been a feasible expedient solution during the lockdown. Once the virus is contained and the situation has improved, students must be allowed to go back to their schools and continue with face-to-face learning in order to achieve the most optimal learning effects.

Education senior minister Mohd Radzi Md Jidin has admitted that there are intrinsic weaknesses with the online or home learning model, making it less effective than classroom learning, and could even cause the students to chronically pull away from campus life.

The minister also highlighted the necessity to reopen schools and resume classes once the situation warrants, which we believe many parents understand.

Given the fact the coronavirus has yet to completely vanish and there are still risks, SOPs must be strictly adhered to as schools prepare to reopen their doors to students, such as maintaining social distances to ensure the safety of students and teachers alike.

Due to relatively larger enrollments and lack of space in some schools, students may have to take turns to attend classes. The ministry has outlined three class resumption models which individual schools can adopt based on their respective conditions so that students can learn with peace of mind.

Many parents are concerned about their children's health even though they know their children need to go back to school to more effectively pick up the lessons. Discovery of new COVID-19 cases when schools reopened in neighboring Singapore in early June has alarmed many Malaysian parents the same could also happen here.

Fighting the virus is a protracted war, and our society simply cannot stop running just because the outbreak has yet to be fully contained or vaccine is yet to be introduced to the market. The society has to start functioning again under the new normal when the outbreak has been controlled to a particular extent. The same goes for the economic and education sectors.

But more importantly, all departments involved, including the education and health ministries as well as school authorities, must do their bit to minimize the infection rate. Parents have the responsibility to teach and monitor their children to make sure they constantly keep good hygiene and not just to rely solely on the school.

In other words, all parties must do their parts and exercise due caution to make sure the students can go back to school safely and continue with their studies under the new normal.

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