PETALING JAYA: A refreshed approach is needed if Malaysia is to reverse the trend of having one of the highest learning losses among developing Asian nations.
Treasurer and co-opted committee members of the Sarawak Women for Women Society, Sara Nadia and Gill Raja, said a new approach sensitive to each child’s needs and which enables them to progress is required.
“To attract their interest, a more systematic and engaging method of teaching or learning that is relevant to their context and education level is required. The uneven loss in education due to the pandemic makes this even more essential,” Sara told theSun.
“We cannot assume all children can just fit right back into the standard national curriculum. If a child feels it is beyond him, he will be demotivated, feel like a failure at a tender age and could be at risk of dropping out of school,” she said.
Additionally, they agreed that no child should be left behind, hence schools need to be inclusive and safe.
“We still have a long way to go to enable children with disabilities to learn with their peers.
“In Sarawak, we have a high number of residential schools because our (geographically) dispersed population (means students in rural areas) have to make long journeys to reach schools which, like their homes, lack good internet connectivity,” she added.
Tiada.Guru representative Fiqah Roslan said the root cause of the issue needs to be examined, which is that our classrooms and education system are not digitally equipped, especially for our low-internet access, low-income schools (numbering about 10,200).
“There must be a default school environment with the culture of e-learning. It is not just teachers that must be trained, but the country itself.
“We must increase access to information and make open teaching or learning accessible to everyone. This encourages higher quality resources and increases self-responsibility of all parties, and creates accountability checks,” said Fiqah.
“E-learning requires a near-wartime strategy for national infrastructure resources and on-premises support. It doesn’t matter how well e-learning works in a workshop in the city. Come to rural schools, establish an IT team with required resources, and offer on-premises training and full-time support, like every other institution,” she added.
They were responding to the survey findings of the Asian Development Bank in April 2021, that showed Malaysia had one of the highest learning losses among developing Asian nations.
Think-tank Emir Research head of Social, Law and Human Rights Jason Loh said the government needs to be more proactive, rigorous and consistent in ensuring that no child is left behind, from socio-economic and geographic backgrounds.
“They need to work with the private sector (fibre optic providers) to speed up fiberisation, including provision of dark fibre, in rural and remote areas.
“Dark fibre refers to the fibre that is expected to be unused in the short to medium-term and hence has reserve capacity. It can co-exist with the used ones by way of a bundle of cables laid in a single duct and multiple ducts, which in turn can be buried in a single trench,” Loh said.
“For East Malaysia, we should be ‘plugging’ into and leveraging on our very own startup Angkasa-X, which is targeting to launch its first low-earth orbit satellite to connect Borneo to the internet.
“The company has partnered with Brunei-based HallBru Tech under the auspices of the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East Asean Growth Area. This will address the perennial issue of slower connectivity of existing satellite systems, including the use of very small aperture terminals,” he added.