Abang Johari: Educators need to rethink education, change teaching methods in Covid-19 era and beyond

Abang Johari delivering his keynote address at the inaugural Sarawak Preschool International Convention 2021 via Zoom.

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KUCHING, Oct 2: Educators must adapt, change and reinvent teaching and learning methods especially by incorporating innovative solutions and digital technologies in order to stay ahead of the game, build resilience in education systems and serve the needs of modern learners in the Covid-19 era and beyond.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg emphasised that students of today are not like the students of yesteryears as the Covid-19 pandemic has changed how students learn and are being educated.

With the pandemic pushing online education and virtual schooling to the forefront using various digital platforms and tools in efforts to maintain learning continuity, he said students must learn on their own with the aid of their parents or guardians in the case of younger children.


“This is called heutagogy or self-directed learning. In the past, where classes could be conducted normally, students were recipients of knowledge, but now as there are limitations to conduct face-to-face classes, children have no choice but to be co-curators of knowledge.

“We need a change of mindsets among educators. We need to rethink the designs of teaching and learning to make it more fun, challenging, active, interactive and immersive.

“Educators have to engage in more innovative teaching methodologies such as role-plays, hands-on and minds-on learning,” he said when officiating the inaugural Sarawak Preschool International Convention 2021 via Zoom today.

As such, Abang Johari stressed that competent educators need to equip themselves with certain skills to facilitate them to face the challenges of 21st century education as well as the ongoing pandemic.

Furthermore, he added that students are vastly different from students of the past as accessibility to digital technologies has enabled them to be more exposed and access to information.

On early childhood care and education (ECCE), Abang Johari noted that it plays an important role in character building and nurturing caring, capable and responsible future citizens which is why Sarawak places great emphasis on the provision of facilities, infrastructure, personnel and supervisory support for ECCE.

“Sarawak government is continuously looking into the professional development of early childhood educators in its quest to improve the knowledge and skills of practitioners and operators.

“Furthermore, managing changes in early childhood education and care at the local level must take into account both local needs as well as national aspirations,” he said.

In this challenging Covid-19 pandemic era, he reminded that educators must possess high enthusiasm and put in a maximum amount of hard work so that education can be developed to a more advanced level.

“Therefore, it is important that educators be effective in dealing with the challenges in this new norm, always self-motivate themselves, strengthen their determination to get ready to face new challenges, and increase their credibility to gain respect and admiration from students, parents and society,” he advised.

With that, he hopes that the convention can increase the knowledge and understanding of educators as well as identify the challenges faced in shaping human character, talents, interests and potential of children in the new norm through knowledge sharing from international speakers.

Abang Johari also launched the Sarawak Women in Early Childhood Care and Education coffee table book entitled ‘Sowing Seeds for The Future’.

Organised by the Ministry of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development, the three-days convention from Oct 1 to 3 is themed ‘Character Building in The New Norm’ and aims to enhance educators’ knowledge, reskilling educators and identify challenges in early childhood education. — DayakDaily