Parents look forward to school session despite virus fear

Mohd Iqbal (middle) with his sons, Irfan Athari, 7, (left) and Izyan Adrian, 11 (right).

KUCHING: Parents are looking forward to the commencement of face-to-face school session despite the concerning number of Covid-19 cases recorded in the state.

Mohamad Iqbal, 38, a lab assistant, said the decision to start the school session and allow students to have physical learning provided parents with a sense of relief. 

The father of two boys pointed out that it was challenging to monitor his children’s activities for the home-based learning and teaching (PdPR).

“It’s good that the children can return to school because there are too many distractions at home which makes PdPR not as effective. My wife and I work from 8am to 5pm so it is challenging to make sure the children are not just playing at home.

“When we hid the laptop and game consoles from them, they would play the smartphones instead. If we took away the smartphones then we would not be able to contact them. They can even access YouTube on the television so the children were productive in playing rather than towards their studies.”

He also said assisting in the children’s PdPR also proved to be a challenge for parents and not just teachers.

He hoped that the school session would include extensive learning activities so that the children would be able to catch up in their studies.

“As parents, it’s been a long time since we were students ourselves. Sometimes it might take awhile for us to refresh our memories and help our children solve maths or science questions.

“I think the teachers have limited time and find it difficult to entertain or cater to their students individually during online learning. Besides that, I’m sure that at times working parents like myself may not be able to accommodate the online learning timetable.”

Jessica Sarah (left) with her daughters, Sofia Bukang, 8 (right) and Alena Remang, 4 (bottom middle).

Meanwhile, Jessica Sarah, 35, said being involved in her children’s PdPR allowed her to recognise and understand their learning abilities.

The housewife applauded the teachers’ efforts and hard work in preparing as well as delivering lessons both online and offline.

“I am actually getting the hang of PdPR but my children are excited to go back to school to meet their friends. While the decision for physical learning is a good move, I do feel sorry for the parents who have invested in buying gadgets to support online learning.

“In the beginning it was a struggle to get involved in the children’s PdPR but once you commit and plan properly, it is productive for the children and to me as a parent. I spend more time guiding them and it makes me able to recognise their learning abilities.”

She also said commencement of the school session would bring about normal routines but it was important to remember about the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“This is a good news, especially for working parents because not everyone can work from home. However, with the children going back to school, it means normal routines will also resume.

“The roads will be jammed, coffee shops will be full again and the children will be playing around with each other. I hope the teachers will set a good example regarding compliance with standard operating procedures (SOPs).”

Nur Hidayah Abusamah (middle) with her children, Mohd Umar Fakhrullah, 6 (left) and Nur Yusra Fakhriah, 4 (bottom right).

Nur Hidayah Abusamah, 28, an entrepreneur, said parents were responsible for educating and reminding their children of SOP compliance.

She pointed out that concerns for the children’s safety was something shared by all parents.

“While the children’s safety and health are important, I believe their education is also equally important. Of course I am concerned about letting my children go back to school but I always remind them about the importance of hygiene and cleanliness.

“I hope that all parents will be watchful and responsible in ensuring that their children are in good health before letting them attend school. They should remind and discipline their children to comply with SOPs.”

Nur Hidayah said there was no need to shop for back-to-school items as the ones from the previous year are still in good condition.

She also noted that PdPR was challenging for parents as they were not well equipped in knowledge like the teachers.

“Helping with my children’s PdPR has shown me that not everyone can be as competent and proficient like teachers. This makes me admire as well as appreciate teachers and educators even more.”