Amanah Youth's education bureau chairperson Hasbie Muda blasted Education Minister Mohd Radzi Md Jidin for making a "last-minute" decision on allowing only higher secondary school students sitting for exams to return to school on Jan 20.
The ministry announced this after a discussion was held with the Health Ministry and the National Security Council (NSC), and it was decided that physical schooling sessions for students nationwide would only be for those sitting for Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), Sijil Vokasional Malaysia (SVM), Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia (SKM), Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM), Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia (STAM), Diploma Vokasional Malaysia (DVM), as well as international examinations for the 2020 batch.
"Amanah Youth regrets that this important announcement was made at such short notice as with other surprise announcements by the education minister previously.
"This last-minute habit makes it difficult for many parties, especially parents, teachers and students to prepare," Hasbie said in a statement today.
"The increasing trend of Covid-19 cases being over four figures did not start yesterday. The Ministry should be able to make projections in advance," he added.
Hasbie said that the ministry also needs to be aware of the problem of Internet access which is still at a low level in rural areas as is access to home-based teaching and learning (PdPR) online education facilities.
"Not all families are able to provide PdPR facilities.
"Given that most of the students are now at home and the situation does not show any sign of ending in the near future, the ministry should immediately increase the number of education programmes on free channels as such plans are too few.
"Provision for the Learning Resources and Technology Division (BSTP) should be increased to develop quality and attractive digital learning materials in line with the implementation of PdPR throughout the country," he added.
In making the announcement, the ministry had said that all primary and secondary school students from Form One to Form Five can follow the PdPR according to the suitability of the students and teachers beginning Jan 20.
The ministry added that Form Four and Form Five students who have registered for full-time boarding schools can remain in their hostels and follow lessons online or return home and continue with the PdPR.