KUCHING: The standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the reopening of schools in red zones in Sarawak need to be enhanced, said Welfare, Community, Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah.
She pointed out that Sarawak has more boarding schools as compared to Malaya.
“The schools are mainly located in the rural areas, some distance away from medical personnel, clinics and hospitals.
“We need to consider all of these as outside the red zone areas. Schools can reopen but they must comply with the SOPs strictly,” she said.
Fatimah also pointed out that online education does not work in areas where there is poor internet coverage or slow internet speed.
Furthermore, not every household has the necessary gadgets for online classes.
“In the case of preschools and primary schools, not all parents are able to become teacher assistants to their children during online learning or have the time for it due to work commitment or other responsibilities and household duties.
“Online education inevitably widens the gap in education and learning opportunities among children in Sarawak,” she said.
Fatimah also said schooling is not only about delivery of content, knowledge and information. It is a social process where children socialise, interact with one another as well as learn values and life skills from their teachers and peers.
“For preschools, due to their tender age, face-to-face learning is necessary to enable effective teaching.
“They are still too young to learn on their own through online learning,” she added.