NUTP to MoE: New online learning manual insensitive to realities

The National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) has urged the Education Ministry to postpone its latest version of home learning manual that fails to consider the challenges faced by teachers, students and parents.

The latest manual, sent by the ministry on Feb 2, saw longer online classes (7.30am to 1pm), failing to acknowledge siblings who share devices and parents who work from home.

NUTP secretary-general Harry Tan said the ministry should instead find the best approach for students to continue their education at home without additional pressure.

“The ministry should improve the earlier version of its manual that is slowly being accepted by more students and parents,” said Tan.

Tan added the ministry’s latest guide went against the recommendation by the America of Paediatrics and World Health Organisation where the daily screen time for pre-schoolers is set at one hour, primary school (one to two hours), lower secondary (two to three hours) and higher secondary (three to four hours).

NUTP ran a poll to gather feedback about the latest manual which saw 14,043 of the respondents disapproving it.

Among the feedback:

  • Students are not ready to learn from 7.30am to 1pm in front of a desktop or laptop or smartphone.
  • The number of subjects in a day should be reduced.
  • Many students, especially those from lower-income families, do not have gadgets for online learning.
  • Internet coverage and speed should be increased.

NUTP also gathered views from parents. In another poll involving 16,554 respondents, the feedback included:

  • Parents, especially those who are not highly educated, find it tough assisting their children in their lessons.
  • Online learning is a burden to students and they are given a lot of homework.
  • Most students are not focused as they do not seem to understand the lessons.
  • Students have to share gadgets with their siblings and there are clashes of online classes among them.

“The ministry should strengthen online learning by addressing the problems faced by students which include the lack of gadgets and poor or no Internet connectivity,” said Tan.

Tan added NUTP was “very disappointed” that the ministry did not invite the union to discuss the revised online learning manual.

Here’s the round-up of The News Normal today.

THREE-DAY QUARANTINE FOR MINISTERS SMACKS OF DOUBLE STANDARDS

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng has lambasted the government for its latest directive that allows ministers to be quarantined for only three days instead of 10 upon return from official trips abroad.

“With Parliament suspended under the Emergency Proclamation, there is no more accountability and the government can no longer be questioned as to the reason why ministers need to be quarantined a mere three days instead of 10 days,” the Bagan MP said in a statement.

“The government had practised double-standards previously. Ministers have not worn masks and enjoyed dinners in public, organised a public gathering recently to distribute Chinese New Year gifts all in open defiance of SOPs without getting punished while the rakyat is fined.”

Lim said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah would not have approved such “an irresponsible and selective application of Covid-19 SOPs”.

FEWER JOBS AVAILABLE LATE LAST YEAR

The private sector had fewer jobs to offer in the fourth quarter of 2020, the Department of Statistics Malaysia said.

There were 8.457 million jobs during the period compared to 8.661 million jobs in the same quarter in 2019.

“The decrease of 204,000 jobs indicates slower labour demand resulting from the resurgence of Covid-19 cases and containment measures (by the government) during the quarter,” said Chief Statistician Malaysia Datuk Seri Mohd Uzir Mahidin.

“Undoubtedly, daily economic activities were adversely affected, especially for local businesses and small enterprises.”

He hoped the government initiatives would provide more opportunities for businesses to recover and create more job openings this year.

MAKE FOOTBALL DECISIONS BASED ON DATA, NOT HUNCHES

Data is derived from information and statistics, allowing one to make an informed decision based on influencing trends and factors. A simple comparison can be made with the weather forecast. Without data how would the weatherman (or woman) predict rain?

However, it seems almost impossible to drill ‘data’ into the mindset of those running Malaysian football as they still seem to rely on hunches, writes Ghaz Ramli.