Chang: Let’s use blended learning to give students a fighting chance at getting an education

Irene Chang

SIBU, April 13: Blended learning is recommended during this Covid-19 pandemic so that all students will not be left out of getting an education.

Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang in a statement today said through blended learning, students and parents have a choice to make of either going for online classes or physical classes.

“Families with no online facilities or with parents who are not able to sit by their children’s side are able to opt for face-to-face classes, whereas parents who are rightly still worried about the current situation and have access and means to online facilities at home would be able to allow their children to continue their lessons from home,” she said.

Chang said with blended learning, physical contact between the teachers and students can be controlled while at the same time, they can ensure that all students are not left behind.

“I believe that traditional physical classes can go hand in hand with e-learning especially when this is already a tried and tested approach in most of the higher learning institutions with their university students,” she said.

She added that during these trying times, blended learning seems to be the only viable way forward for the younger generations.

She noted that since schools physically reopened, positive cases have been reported in 10 schools in Sibu, including the seven which were closed from April 12.

Usually when a positive case is confirmed, fellow teachers, students and parents would be thrown into a state of confusion of fear and anxiety, she said.

“Teachers would also be mentally, emotionally and physically stressed out, from fear for their personal and their family’s well-being as well as from the expectation for them to effectively teach in this highly undesirable school environment,” she said.

She further added that the constant closing, sanitisation and reopening of schools upon a positive case being reported causes havoc to their teaching schedule and lesson plans.

“Their focus is now being diverted from teaching effectively to the need to make sure that their students are following the standard operating procedures and keeping the school environment virus free. Amid this highly charged tense environment, teaching and learning become a burden for both teachers and students,” she said.

The State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) and the Ministry of Education (MoE) therefore needs to rethink the benefit of reopening physical classes to see if it outweighs the benefit of continuing with home learning.

For long term strategy, she suggested SDMC and MoE consider preparing the schools and teachers to adopt blended learning which combines live online teaching with physical face-to-face classes.

Even with the availability of vaccines, this approach is the best way forward until our society can go back to normalcy as before the pandemic, she added. — DayakDaily