Get experts to train teachers to teach online, parents’ group tells Education Ministry

Had teachers allowed themselves to be guided and enhanced by digital learning, they would not be struggling now.

Those were the views of Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) president Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim as she highlighted that technology was introduced in schools in 2003 using high-quality reference material as teachers became facilitators.

“Unfortunately, six years later the policy of teaching of Science and Mathematics in English was gradually scrapped. The reason given was that students could not follow the digital lessons,” said Noor Azimah.

“The real reason was that while some teachers succeeded in using the tools to their advantage, most did not.

“Had teachers allowed themselves to be guided and enhanced by digital learning they would not be struggling now. In fact, with the fast and easy Internet connectivity and tons of reference material at the teachers’ fingertips, online learning should be a breeze.”

Since the Movement Control Order kicked in last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, schools have been closed for almost a year. Classes have been carried out online but much to the dissatisfaction of some parents and children.

Noor Azimah was responding to a report in Twentytwo13 yesterday, quoting the National Union of the Teaching Profession secretary-general who said teachers in Malaysia were never trained to teach online.

Noor Azimah said the Education Ministry needs to hire private-sector trainers and online training consultants to train teachers and set up the school infrastructure for online classes.

“And (the ministry) needs to do it quickly,” she added.

On a suggestion that retired teachers should assist in preparing children for classes, Noor Azimah said the ministry had in the past attempted to lure retired teachers on special terms but failed.

“It will take a substantial amount of funding and moral suasion for this to materialise,” she said.

“Year 1 pupils are excited with online learning. This is not surprising as 21st-century learning comes naturally to them. This cohort will not stray as teachers say they are better equipped this year.

“However, other students may require a quick assessment upon their physical return to school. This can be done quite easily by the existing teachers. It is the remedial action that requires patience, effort and time.

“As it is there are too many subjects (in the national curriculum). Release these teachers to assist in the remedial classes.”

She also said parents could persuade their children to supplement their online learning with other e-learning platforms.

“We like Khan Academy which is free for DLP (dual language programme) students where English, Science and Mathematics are of a high standard and globally utilised.”

Khan Academy is an American non-profit educational organisation created in 2008 that is aimed to create online tools that help educate students.

“There are homegrown learning platforms such as EduwebTV (by the Education Ministry), teacher-initiated YouTube videos and several other paying platforms like ITTV,” she added.