Unimas lecturer supports ‘student bubble’

Dr Aila Abdul Latif. Photo: Munirah Zhamri

KUCHING: Implementing the ‘student bubble’ concept is a practical option for international students to return to Sarawak to continue their tertiary education, said Dr Hamrila Abdul Latif @Dr Aila Abdul Latif.

The senior lecturer in the Faculty of Economics and Business of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) said it would be wise to draw up and refine plans early with regard to resuming face-to-face teaching and learning, with ‘student bubbles’ as one of the possibilities.

“A ‘student bubble’ concept will be quite practical for international students because they are not like tourists who travel to various places.

“They will just be staying at their respective universities or colleges and meeting the same people in similar and specific learning bubbles,” she said when contacted.

On Monday (Nov 23), Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg expressed openness to the possibility of implementing a ‘student bubble’ concept in Sarawak, which would allow international students to enter the state, undergo quarantine and Covid-19 tests, and then resume their tertiary education in a face-to-face manner.

Aila said such a ‘bubble’ could include close contacts of students such as certain lecturers, research supervisors, and faculty members to ensure easy traceability and detection efforts should the need arise.

She stressed that those involved would need to undergo quarantine and Covid-19 tests before they were allowed to enter the ‘bubble’.

“This ‘bubble’ strategy has been applied in several countries such as New Zealand and the United Kingdom, where they experimented with bubbles larger than a single household,” she said.

She said that such implementation would facilitate daily activities in the new norm and reduce the economic and social impacts compared to implementing a prolonged movement control order (MCO).

“But of course, what is most important is that safety protocols are carried out and this is the responsibility that rests on every one of us,” said Aila.