Assess students before reopening schools

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KUCHING: The Education Ministry has been urged to assess students’ performance nationwide on their grasp of the subjects in the current academic year.

Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong said by doing this, the ministry could weigh its options on whether to repeat the last academic year, proceeding to the next year or formulating a hybrid syllabus.

“The Ministry of Education has published a 150-page school management and operation guidelines under the various phases of the National Recovery Plan.

“Instead of opening the schools when we are not well-prepared, the ministry should firstly carry out a thorough diagnostic assessment on the students’ performance nationwide.

“The main issue is that if the Year One students have not mastered the necessary skills, they will never be able to catch up with the lessons in the subsequent levels, thus creating a lost generation,” she said in a statement on Wednesday (Oct 6).

Yong said the curriculum could be separated into knowledge and skills domains, of which the former could be taught through self-access method where the content was distributed to students and developed to enable self-learning.

She said the latter could be focused when at school while other student group is at home learning the knowledge domain. She added that such is not a new strategy but a modified flip-classroom approach.

“The ministry must be aware that the pre-pandemic pedagogy and strategies are no longer appropriate. It is important to retrain every school counsellor to handle the stress of each student due to the movement control order and its related issues.
“This would at least ease the teachers’ burden of having to manage their students’ issues while trying to teach them,” she said.

She also suggested that the ministry conduct more comprehensive town-hall sessions to engage all stakeholders to iron out relevant issues as well as coming up with a collective strategy.

“Without a well-planned strategy and adequate support, the teachers’ efforts will be futile, and the students will experience even less learning,” she said.

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