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Start of home-based learning causing Orang Asli anxiety

The implementation of home-based teaching and learning (PdPR) across the country from tomorrow (Jan 20) has Kampung Orang Asli Kubang Badak and Tebong Stesyen Tok Batin, Besi Dulah, worried because of the lack of devices and Internet access for children in the two villages.

He said it will be hard for them because they will be relying on a parent’s mobile phone and sometimes they may have to share with their friends when their parents go foraging in the forest or to work.

“It is difficult to get a computer or laptop here. In fact, some people don’t understand how to use a computer,” he told Bernama today.

He said there are 15 Orang Asli children – eight primary and seven secondary school students — from 130 Temuan families living in these villages in the interior of Melaka, about 30km from Alor Gajah town.

He said that although you can get a broadband service at the Pusat Internet Kampung Kuala Sungga, about 4km away, some of the Orang Asli are shy to meet outsiders.

He said that when the movement control order (MCO) was imposed in March last year, groups of dedicated volunteer teachers came twice a week to hold free and informal classes at the Balai Raya Kampung Orang Asli Kubang Badak.

However, the 39-year-old said he doesn’t know if the classes will be held this year but would like the government to provide an appropriate learning method for the Orang Asli children.

“I really miss the teachers and my friends. It’s been a long time since I wore my uniform. Tomorrow I will have to borrow my mum or sister’s phone for learning so that I become smart and can go to university,” said Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Tebong Year 3 student, Kartiaini Ramesh, 9, who wishes school will return to normal this year.

Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced recently that primary and secondary school students will continue learning at home, while students sitting for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), Sijil Vokasional Malaysia (SVM), Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia (SKM), Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM), Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia (STAM) and Malaysian Vocational Diploma (DVM) will go back to school.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Kemas Kindergartens’ face-to-face school session postponed

Kemas Kindergartens’ face-to-face school session which is supposed to start on Jan 20 nationwide has been postponed to a date that will be announced later.

According to the Community Development Department (Kemas) in a statement today, it took note of the increasing COVID-19 cases and decided to follow the steps taken by the Education Ministry as a preventive measure.

“To ensure there are no dropouts among Kemas Kindergarten children, the Home-base Learning method set by the department will be used through the Learning and Facilitation (PdPc) implementation method,” he said.

On Saturday, the Education Ministry informed that the face-to-face school sessions starting on Jan 20 nationwide would only involve candidates sitting for major examination for 2020.

Meanwhile, Kemas explained that it gave conditional permission for Taska Kemas to operate if there was an application from parents who served as frontliners to send their children during the enforcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO).

MCO has been enforced in Penang, Selangor, Melaka, Johor, Sabah, as well as the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan from Jan 13 to Jan 26.

Kelantan and Sibu, Sarawak have now been placed under the MCO from Jan 16 to Jan 29

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Kemas Kindergartens’ face-to-face school session postponed

Kemas Kindergartens’ face-to-face school session which is supposed to start on Jan 20 nationwide has been postponed to a date that will be announced later.

According to the Community Development Department (Kemas) in a statement today, it took note of the increasing COVID-19 cases and decided to follow the steps taken by the Education Ministry as a preventive measure.

“To ensure there are no dropouts among Kemas Kindergarten children, the Home-base Learning method set by the department will be used through the Learning and Facilitation (PdPc) implementation method,” he said.

On Saturday, the Education Ministry informed that the face-to-face school sessions starting on Jan 20 nationwide would only involve candidates sitting for major examination for 2020.

Meanwhile, Kemas explained that it gave conditional permission for Taska Kemas to operate if there was an application from parents who served as frontliners to send their children during the enforcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO).

MCO has been enforced in Penang, Selangor, Melaka, Johor, Sabah, as well as the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan from Jan 13 to Jan 26.

Kelantan and Sibu, Sarawak have now been placed under the MCO from Jan 16 to Jan 29

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Limited internet access, lack of devices continue to shackle home-based learning

The implementation of home-based teaching and learning (PdPR) is seen as the best option for school students right now, following the spike in COVID-19 positive cases in the country.

However, based on its previous implementation, there are some issues that must be given due attention to ensure that all students can participate and no one will be missing out.

Poor Internet access and the lack of devices are the major issues that need to be addressed in order to embrace the new normal of teaching and learning which replaces face-to-face classes.

National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Harry Tan Huat Hock suggested that the government give emphasis on efforts to provide reliable Internet access and digital devices for students.

“The government can also provide a ‘Tax Holiday’ and tax exemption for parents to purchase devices for their children,” he said when contacted by Bernama TV today.

Tan said in fact, such issues which could also affect the effectiveness of PdPR especially among the less fortunate students, have been raised for several times.

Yesterday, the Education Ministry said that all primary pupils and students from Form 1 to Form 5 would follow PdPR according to the suitability of teachers and students from Jan 20.

The ministry said the face-to-face school sessions, commencing Jan 20, for the whole country would only involve students sitting for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), Sijil Vokasional Malaysia (SVM), Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia (SKM), Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM), Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia (STAM), and Malaysian Vocational Diploma (DVM) as well as equivalent international examinations last year.

Tan said the government could also forge collaboration with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the private sector to get funds to help the less fortunate to purchase devices or gadgets.

On the PdPR weaknesses which include students being less motivated as there is no physical presence of the teachers and poor time management, he said cooperation of all parties are needed to make it a success.

Tan said the NUTP had also received suggestions for PdPR to be implemented after working hours but it would have to be agreed upon by all parties.

He also opined that formal training for teachers should be provided to ensure virtual learning delivery process effectiveness.

Meanwhile, National Association of Parents and Teachers Association (PIBGN) president Datuk Mohamad Ali Hassan suggested that the setting up of a PdPR reference centre in every state education department (JPN), district education office (PPD).

“It can serve as a one stop centre to address any problems and challenges faced by teachers and students,” he said adding all parties should also give their full commitment to ensure all students would have an effective learning experience.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Long-haired students sitting for exams will not be penalised during MCO

Male students who will be attending school to sit for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia or Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia 2020 and 2021 during the MCO will be given flexibility if they sport long hair.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the matter was decided in a special session of the National Security Council (MKN) today which agreed that no action would be taken against long-haired students.

“The Ministry of Education has made a decision as a result of discussions in a special session of the MKN, that despite long hair, students will be allowed to go to school without receiving any reprimands from teachers as barbershops are still not allowed to operate,” he said in a press conference on the developments relating to the MCO, here, today.

Ismail Sabri said the economic sector, involving barber shops, in affected areas was still closed for two weeks, and this (rule) would be evaluated by the Health Ministry depending on the situation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the same press conference, Ismail Sabri said institutions of higher learning or schools should not impose conditions on students to undergo COVID-19 screening tests in order to enter dormitories or to sit for examinations except for students with symptoms.

He said this after a complaint about the issue that students have to bear the costs of COVID-19 test screenings.

In the meantime, for the operation of optical shops, he said, permission was given by the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry after examining the appeal of industry players but they were only allowed to operate with strict standard operating procedures or they would face appropriate action and punishment.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin previously announced the implementation of the MCO in six states — Penang, Selangor, Federal Territories (Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan), Melaka, Johor and Sabah for a period of 14 days from Jan 13 to 26.

Some economic activities are allowed throughout the MCO with operating hours between 6 am and 8 pm except for certain activities including restaurants, eateries, roadside hawkers, and open-air (eateries) as well as food courts where dining at the premises is disallowed but only deliveries, packing food and drive-throughs are allowed.

In addition, kiosks, grocery stores, convenience stores and those for daily necessities, as well as laundries except for self-service ones are allowed to open within the same time limits.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

School textbooks now available in digital form – MOE

Perbadanan Kota Buku (PKB) has developed a digital textbook application, known as ‘KPM eTextbook Reader’ on behalf of the Ministry of Education (MOE/KPM) to enable schoolchildren to get their textbooks in a digital form.

In a statement, the MOE said the application would give the school children access to digital textbooks when they resume their school sessions during this Movement Control Order period from today until Jan 26.

“By using the eTextbook Reader, the students can read their textbooks in standard EPUB files which have rich media content and mobile ability.

“This application can be downloaded free of charge via www.textbook.moe.gov.my,” the statement said.

According to the MOE, the application would enable the schoolchildren to access the textbooks using their mobile phones or tablets at any time anywhere.

Internet access is not required to use the application, it added.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

UKM to conduct research on Sheikh Abdullah Fahim’s legacy

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) through the Institute of Islam Hadhari has collaborated with the Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Legacy Organisation (LEGASI) to conduct research on the contribution of Sheikh Abdullah Fahim in the development of Islamic Education and Islamic Astronomy in the early 20th century.

UKM deputy vice-chancellor (Research and Innovation) Prof Datuk Ir Dr Abdul Wahab Mohammad said Sheikh Abdullah Fahim’s intellectual prowess in the field of astronomy through the the determination of prayer times, kiblat directions and the establishment of a star observatory was a legacy and treasure of knowledge that need to be studied in depth for the benefits of the current generation.

“Sheikh Abdullah Fahim is the grandfather of former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and an Islamic scholar in the country.

“It was through his leadership on his return from Makkah in 1916 that the development of Islamic Education began to take shape in the country,” he said at the memorandum of agreement (MoA) signing ceremony between UKM and LEGASI, here today.

The MoA was signed by Abdul Wahab, on behalf of UKM while LEGASI was represented by its chairman Datuk Jefridin Atan.

Abdul Wahab said the research which would be led by Institute of Islam Hadhari fellow Associate Prof Dr Ermy Azziaty Rozali would be conducted by six researchers using RM50,000 funds allocated by LEGASI, for a period of two years.

“The findings of the research will also be published in top journals,” he added.

Meanwhile, Jefridin said the research would expose the younger generation to the scholar who had determined Aug 31, 1957 as the date for the country’s independence.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency