KUALA LUMPUR – Barely a week after the school session started, there were voices of dissatisfaction from some parents with the implementation of home-based teaching and learning (PdPR) classes.
There are claims that teachers are not adequately prepared to teach using the PdPR approach hence disrupting the learning process.
However, prominent figures in the education industry are of the view that teachers should be given space and opportunity to adapt in new way.
National Parents-Teacher Associations Consultative Council (PIBGN) president Associate Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Ali Hassan said that relevant training could be introduced to existing teachers to expose them to PdPR methods and processes.
“As this PdPR is relatively new, all parties must understand the current situation by providing adequate space and opportunities for teachers to be truly skilled in implementing PdPR.
“Hence, at the same time, it is proposed that the Ministry of Education (MOE) employs one or two educators who are experts and skilled in PdPR, either local or from abroad, to teach the methods and processes to these teachers,” he said when contacted by Bernama.
He said that the training could be done online or face-to-face by adhering to strict standard operating procedures (SOPs), to equip teachers so that they can teach in front of a monitor screen confidently and effectively.
At the same time, intensive retraining for teachers such as teachers involved in teaching of Mathematics and Science in English (PPSMI), English subject and vocational stream should be done immediately and periodically.
He also added that some of the basic constraints that the country still faces should also be given the main focus because although teachers are capable while there are still many obstacles, then the goal of PdPR will not be achieved.
“Among them, the problem of internet coverage which has yet to be comprehensive, especially in rural and remote areas; the availability of adequate devices and other equipment including for large families; systematic e-textbook materials; local technical assistance; as well as monitoring and evaluating each level of effective PdPR,” he said.
Meanwhile, also sharing a similar sentiment is National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) president Aminuddin Awang who said that in the future, PdPR should be included in the curriculum of teaching courses at the institute of teacher education (IPG) and also the institute of higher learning (IPT).
He said that at the same time, the MOE also needs to improve and strengthen skills improvement courses for teachers, especially once the school environment returns to normal.
“The aspect of training for teachers in the field of PdPR is indeed a necessity after this … even if the school is opened as usual after this, PdPR will be an important medium of support for face-to-face schooling,” he said.
Not all students ready
However, Aminuddin said, on average, teachers are actually ready to teach through PdPR as they have experienced similar situation last year, but not all students have the readiness to learn that way.
“This year is the second year teachers use PdPR as a medium of instruction … last year, because it came suddenly and without the planning of the MOE, it is acknowledged that teachers did not have the experience and skills to implement PdPR then.
“But for this year, MOE, the schools and teachers already have the experience of managing school session during the COVID-19 pandemic, so various initial preparations have been made. The problem now is that, among students, there are various categories and levels in aspects of readiness to learn through PdPR, so that is the cause of the problems,” he said, asking for space to be given to teachers to carry out the plans.
He said that each party must realise that the impact of PdPR will not be the same as teaching and learning in the classroom as PdPR is the support medium for the face-to-face learning process that could not be implemented due to COVID-19.
“At the same time, we need to realise that there are various categories of students. Some have devices and internet access; some have only devices without internet access; others have devices and internet access but have to take turns with other siblings or waiting for the parents to return from work because they need to borrow the phone while some do not have anything,” he said.
School contributes smartphones
Not wanting poor students to continue to be left out of home-based teaching and learning (PdPR) online, drove a school in Kelantan, to launch an initiative to provide needy pupils with smartphones.
SK Che Deris headmaster Mohammad Fadzil Mat Il (il) said almost 30 per cent of the students in the school are from poor families who could not afford smartphones to follow online classes under PdPR.
“So far, the school was able to identify the pupils who could not afford to own smartphone for PdPR which began last week.
“Those from poor families are living in a fishing village as the income of their parents were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said when met by reporters at Kampung Tanjong Baru, Badang near here today.
Earlier, Mohammad Fadzil visited the house of his pupils, Muhammad Alif Irfan Yaso’, 9, and Fatin Nur Aimi Shahira, 8, to hand over a smartphone for the two siblings to follow lessons under PdPR.
Trying to raise funds
Commenting further, the school is currently in the process of raising funds from the Parent-Teacher Association (PIBG), non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and also private individuals to provide smartphones including data plans to students in need.
“We expect the problem faced by students who can not afford to own a smartphone to follow PdPR online to be resolved within two weeks under the initiative.
“People who want to donate to provide smartphones for SK Che Deris students can channel donations to SK Che Deris Parent-Teacher Association Bank Islam account at 03018010144382,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rosnani Ibrahim, 43, said before this her two children, Muhammad Alif and Fatin Nur Aimi Shahira, could not follow PdPR like their friends because they did not have a smartphone.
She said, she only used a regular phone which does not have data plan apart from not having WhatsApp and Telegram applications for her son’s PdPR online classes.
“I am grateful and thankful for the smartphone contribution given by the school. I cannot afford to buy a new smartphone as I am only working as a school cleaner with an income of around RM1,200 a month.
“In fact, I also have four other children who are still in school and at the university level besides my husband Yaso ‘Ghani, 47, is also unable to work due to hemorrhoids almost five years ago,” said Rosnani who also received a monthly assistance of RM450 from the Social Welfare Department .
Meanwhile in a related development, beginning tomorrow, the Ministry of Education (MOE) will increase the TV Pendidikan airtime on DidikTV@NTV7, specifically to help Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) 2020 candidates
MOE, in a statement today said the airtime for the programme which is broadcast on Monday to Friday from 3 to 5 pm on NTV7 has been increased by two hours.
“MOE has also added five hours of airtime for the programme aired on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am to 12pm and 3pm to 5pm,” the statement said.
The additional slot for the programme which is broadcast on TV Okey, Astro Tutor TV and DidikTV@NTV7 brings total airtime to 11 hours per day.
MOE also expressed confidence that TV Pendidikan programme can be utilised by students, teachers and parents as one of the effective methods of home-based teaching and learning (PdPR).
The programme schedule can be obtained by browsing MOE’s official portal at www.moe.gov.my or through its official social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @KemPendidikan.