Suspension not the answer

Adam Prakash Abdullah

Union rejects punishing students for non-attendance

KUCHING: Sarawak Teachers’ Union (STU) does not agree to a suggestion that students who do not attend home-based teaching and learning (PdPR) classes be punished with suspension.

Its president Adam Prakash Abdullah said the union is not in favour of punishing students like that for being absent from class three days in a row.

“It has been so difficult getting them connected with their teachers, so punishing them is like rubbing salt on a wound,” he told New Sarawak Tribune on Sunday (June 27).

He was asked for comments on a news report by Utusan Malaysia which quoted former Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid who allegedly said that strict action should be taken if any student did not attend lessons for three consecutive days without good reasons.

“We believe Datuk Mahdzir understands the difficulties the school children have to go through to follow their lessons,” Adam said.

He said that teachers and parents are doing their best to support the home-based lessons at this time, so any punishment is not advisable.

“STU would like to see more positive support from the public and hopes that teachers and students are put in the limelight not for the wrong reasons.

“If we cannot do anything to assist, just let the teachers do their work. Students need a lot of support to enable them able to participate effectively in home-based lessons, and I know their teachers have been very committed to their job,” he said.

He welcomed a suggestion by Mahdzir on improving the performance of the home-based online classes through suggestions that he offered in his statements.

Mahdzir has suggested an additional allocation for laptop assistance and improved internet access especially in the rural areas when presenting Budget 2022.

“We welcome all efforts by everyone to assist teachers and students to make home schooling effective.

“STU also urges all parents to support and motivate their children while learning from home,” he said.

He noted the challenges students faced as teachers face the same challenges while working from home.

“But we have to make sure that the home-based online classes are conducted despite the odds,” said Adam.