‘Get retired teachers to help kids who lost academic year’

A retired teacher has called on parents to pressure the Education Ministry to reveal its plans on how children can catch up once they are allowed back to school.

A. Velurajan said Malaysian children have lost a full academic year with the implementation of the latest Movement Control Order (MCO).

“We don’t know if the MCO will be extended. What we do know is these children will have a problem when they return to school,” said Velurajan, 68.

“My biggest concern is the Year 1 and Year 2 pupils. Will they be fully ready to read, write and count to prepare them for the following year’s syllabus?”

He said the base of the pupils will remain weak if nothing is done and that online classes were realistically ineffective.

“Parents need to work. They need their devices. Children’s attention span is short. How many of them are truly concentrating? How many of them have devices? What about children from families who can’t afford such devices?”

Velurajan said the way forward is to ensure the syllabus for Year 1 and Year 2 are amended for the affected ones.

“Parents can play a big role through Parent-Teacher Associations. They should ask for several months of remedial classes before their children start on the proper syllabus. This will allow teachers to recap and assess if the child has indeed progressed while studying from home.”

Velurajan, who is based in Rawang, said retired teachers can play a role by guiding these children after school hours.

“If the ministry insists the syllabus must be maintained, then I’m sure many former teachers are willing to assist by guiding the children during and after school hours.

“Perhaps it can be a three or six-month programme to ensure the pupils catch up on their basics – reading, writing and arithmetics.”

He called on parents to quickly engage with the ministry and to brainstorm.

“It should be done now. I’m very concerned about children from families in the lower income bracket.

“One full year has gone and we will hear ‘kena ikut sukatan‘ (must follow syllabus). But these are unprecedented times and action must be taken or this generation of pupils will suffer the consequences in years to come.”