KUCHING: The Ministry of Education (MoE) must devise ways for traditional and face-to-face teaching and learning process to take place in the rural areas.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing said online learning is only applicable if internet access is available but this is not the case for rural areas, especially in Sarawak.
In saying this, he pointed out that alternative methods must be provided for the rural students following recent reports that online learning would continue until the Covid-19 pandemic is over.
“The urban based learning system is biased against rural education and the rural students will be left behind.
“Temporary internet connections like CONNECTme NOW and so on are not the answers for online learning,” he said in a statement today.
The Infrastructure and Ports Development Minister pointed out that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak government is focusing on road connections to rural areas so that fibre optics could be brought in.
He said this was the only answer to online learning for the rural areas at the time of health pandemic but it would take time.
“The Covid-19 pandemic caught us by surprise. We are trying our best to shorten the time to deliver fibre optics to the rural areas.
“In the meantime, the MoE must devise ways where traditional face-to-face system can take place in the rural areas before the fibre optics are on.
“Social distancing is possible in rural schools due to the small number of students and the teachers must be fully vaccinated. This will safeguard them from the Covid-19 virus,” said Masing.
He also said that normal school time could take place in the rural areas and the lost school time, which was more than 100 days last year, must be replaced this year.