KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 — Seven Opposition MPs including former education minister Maszlee Malik, today chided the Ministry of Education (MoE) for its abrupt announcement last Friday to reopen schools from March 1.
In a joint statement, the MPs said the MoE should have planned better and refrained from issuing “conflicting” announcements that caused difficulty to parents who had significantly invested in equipment for online learning.
“This MoE decision is seen as insensitive to the struggles of the people, especially parents and teachers affected by this ‘blanket decision’,” they said, in reference to the government’s announcement last Friday that all schools nationwide will be reopened on March 1.
“The first (suggestion) is that MoE stops making unplanned decisions and acting reactively without thinking of the effects to the public.”
Apart from Maszle who is Simpang Renggan MP, the statement was made by former deputy education minister and Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching, Muar MP Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, Tampin MP Datuk Hasan Baharom, Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, Kubang Pasu MP Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah, and Kota Belud MP Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis.
The MPs also urged the MoE to consider the suggestions made by Pakatan Harapan’s Education Committee on January 20, which urged the government to give schools autonomy to decide for themselves if they should reopen.
“MoE should also give leniency to the issue of school uniforms. Many parents are burdened with the pandemic and heavy spending for their children’s education.
“Allowance to wear free clothing should be given for at least this year seeing as some schools will be closed if the movement control order (MCO) is implemented again,” they said.
The MPs also said technology-based learning systems should be strengthened, such as with the use of the sophia.my online learning portal.
“Teachers and school staff must be given priority in receiving the vaccine like other front-liners,” they added.
The government earlier in the year made announcements that most students in areas under the MCO and conditional movement control order (CMCO) would be learning from home, as a response to rising cases of Covid-19.
The decision to reopen schools has caught controversy as Covid-19 cases are still relatively high, and the MCO is still in place in all states except Sarawak. Furthermore, all schools are set to reopen regardless if they are in areas that have a high rate of Covid-19 infections.
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