KUALA LUMPUR: The school opening date for the first term of the 2021 session nationwide is set for Wednesday, January 20.
Senior Minister of Education Dr Radzi Jidin said that the date was set based on the 2021 calendar that had been finalised.
He said that the term calendar and school holidays for the year 2021 were prepared by taking into account various aspects that were affected by the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) following the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Hence, the solution to the challenges that arise during this period, of course, requires an unusual approach and method. The same goes for the context of amendments to the school and examination calendars.
“Based on this new date, we will open (school) much later than usual. The school calendar for 2020 has been amended by maximising the duration of school days and reducing the year-end holidays,” he said when winding up the debate on the motion of thanks for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s royal address at the Dewan Rakyat sitting, here yesterday.
Radzi said that the reduction in the year-end holiday will allow students to have an adequate face-to-face learning period in preparation for the following year.
This is because there are weaknesses in the implementation of teaching and learning (PdP) through home-based learning methods throughout the MCO period.
He said that the method was something new among teachers, students and parents, apart from the fact that many students could not follow online learning due to limited access to communications technology.
“If this situation continues, students will have difficulty in achieving the minimum level of mastery in each subject they take. This will affect the students’ interest and motivation to continue learning.
“The ministry has thoroughly conducted research for the medium and long term to ensure that students at least achieve the minimum level of mastery in each of their subjects,” he said.
He said that the ministry had also conducted a study on student readiness in online learning from March 28 to April 2 involving 670,118 parents with 893,331 students.
He explained that the findings of the study showed that six per cent of students have personal computers; laptops (9.3 per cent); tablets (5.8 per cent); and 46.5 per cent own a smartphone.
However, at the same time, there are still 36.9 per cent of school students who do not have any smart devices to enable them to follow online learning, he said.
“These findings show that most students are unable to follow online learning effectively because they don’t have a suitable device … there are also constraints in accessing the Internet. This situation causes learning unable to occur comprehensively and uniformly to all students,” he said.
Following that, Radzi said that home-based learning was also implemented through the TV Pendidikan (Educational TV) via TV Okey channel and Astro Tutor TV on channels 601 and 603, as well as through radio stations such as Kedah FM, Terengganu FM and Johor FM.
In addition, there are also teachers who implement PdP through the delivery of learning materials to students made through various methods such as postal services, delivery assistance by the Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) and drive-through counters in schools. – BERNAMA