The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia’s (Suhakam) Children Consultative Council (CCC) said 56.1 per cent of students it surveyed last year felt the home-based teaching and learning (PdPR) introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic was ineffective.
From the same survey, 44.7 per cent said teaching input they received in the virtual classes was inferior to what they obtained in in-person lessons.
“The matter is further exacerbated when we take into consideration the issue of internet connectivity and the availability of proper gadgets for studying online.
“57.3 per cent or 4,201 school kids found difficulty finding a clear internet connection while 20.5 per cent or 1,503 said they faced these issues all the time,” said CCC president Chloe Gan today during a press conference.
“However, the lack of proper gadgets did not emerge as the main reason for the difficulty in studying online as 72.6 per cent or 5,323 kids said they had the right tools for studying online while 27.4 per cent or 2,008 said otherwise.”
The CCC consists of 20 children representatives aged between 10 and 17 of various backgrounds from across the country.
The survey was distributed through Google Docs, WhatsApp, and email, resulting in a total of 7,332 responses from August 9, 2021 until September 30, 2021.
The majority of respondents were aged 11 and from Pahang, and 75.9 per cent (5,565 respondents) were students from public schools.
“As for issues pertaining to motivation and focus during online classes we found that 34.3 per cent (2,517 children) said it was tiring to just sit in front of the computer, 32.9 per cent (2,414 children) said online learning made them lonely, unmotivated and lack energy while 53.4 per cent (3,915 children) found it difficult to focus on classes while at home.
“On the other hand, the positive effects we found was when 67.4 per cent (4,941) children said online classes gave them more time to spend with their families. Another 33.6 per cent (2,463 children) said studying at home separated them from the school bullies.
“In addition 67.8 per cent (4,971 children) said home learning afforded them the opportunity to make their own schedule and rules so they learnt how to manage their time better. Despite that, 31.2 per cent (2,287 children) said they were never prepared for group discussions while under PdPR,” said Gan .
The CCC also touched on the mental health and support system, with 31.8 per cent (2,331 children) said nothing changed, 31.4 per cent (2,302 children) said they did not like to study from home while 31.2 per cent (2,287 children) said they were more comfortable eating and learning at home.
Only 5.6 per cent (410 children) reported suffering mental issues during PdPR while 45.7 per cent (3,350 children) said they were unsure if their schools counseling unit provided sufficient support for them during the study from home period.
“In conclusion, around 76.7 per cent chose physical classes compared to online classes. The survey shows that studying online is a challenge and can affect one’s mental health,” Gan said in conclusion.
PdPR was first established in March 2020 when Malaysia went into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It went through various phases of fine tuning and improvements based on the rate of vaccination and number of cases in the country.
Many parents were concerned about their children sitting for major exams which have been postponed months due to the pandemic causing havoc in the education system.
Then, on April 17, Senior Education Minister Datuk Mohd Radzi Md Jidin said the Guidelines for School Management and Operation 4.0, which is currently in the fine-tuning stage, will be tabled this month.
He said the standard operating procedures (SOP) on the guidelines took into account the views of all quarters, including the Ministry of Health (MOH), to ensure the safety of teachers and students and protect them from COVID-19.
The SOP also covers co-curricular activities, which were only allowed to be held in the school compound previously, he told reporters after inspecting the first day of school operation without the rotation system at Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Ketereh, here today. — Malay Mail
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