Matu Tabika Kemas teacher goes the extra mile for students to counter poor Internet connectivity

Shahida speaks with reporters about the area's poor Internet connectivity.

By Ashley Sim

MUKAH, Sept 8: Poor Internet connectivity has made it challenging for Shahida Marishmsudin to teach four- to six-year-olds at Taman Bimbingan Kanak-Kanak (Tabika) Jabatan Kemajuan Masyarakat (Kemas) Rumah Gangga Bruan Besar, given that the Internet is a requirement for Teaching and Learning (PDP).

Tabika Kemas Rumah Gangga Bruan Besar

However, the 33-year-old teacher, who is small in stature but has a big heart, wears the title of “teacher” with great responsibility and does not wish for the Internet to be an obstacle.

“Even though I installed the booster, Internet coverage is still poor, so I will prepare teaching materials that require online access at home a week or a day ahead of time, such as downloading teaching-related videos from YouTube and TikTok.

“In addition, because they have no knowledge of the Internet, I show them the benefits of surfing the Internet and using social media.

“When they said, “Teacher, we want to see this video”, I invite them to go outside the Tabika to a location with Internet access so they could experience the virtual world,” Shahida told reporters on Monday (Sept 5) during a media visit to a Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas)-sponsored Tabika Kemas in Matu district here.

She pointed out that, unlike in areas with reliable Internet access, she is unable to communicate with or channel information to the students’ parents via platforms such as WhatsApp and Telegram.

The determined teacher revealed that if there was a last-minute change for the next day’s learning session, she would arrive at the longhouse as early as 6.30am and knock on each student’s door to relay the information.

“It was the same when the movement control order (MCO) was in place previously. I explained to the parents of each of my students, one by one, about the exercises or activities that their children must complete at home.

“Even though there is no Internet, seeing that they understand what I teach through pictures and videos makes me feel as if my efforts are worthwhile and bear fruit,” Shahida added.

Meanwhile, Tuai Rumah Gangga Bruan Besar Entoi Sat, 63, hopes that a Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation Berhad (SDEC) telecommunication tower project, which is expected to be completed this year, will provide Internet access to the residents.

Gangga Bruan Besar (left) receiving a certificate of appreciation from Petronas programme execution manager Nor Azam Abang Zawawie.

The headman said the village has about 180 residents, the majority of whom are fisherfolk, oil palm farmers, and huma rice farmers.

Tabika Kemas Rumah Gangga Bruan Besar is one of the eight schools for which Petronas has allocated RM1.18 million as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme for the construction of eight Tabika Kemas throughout the Matu district.

Shahida also took the opportunity to thank Petronas for building the new Tabika Kemas.

When asked about the difficulties encountered prior to the project’s completion, she stated that they were previously housed at the Sarawak Federation of Women’s Institutes (PPWS) premises in the longhouse.

As classrooms were much smaller there, the students found themselves in cramped quarters.

“Furthermore, previously, the students had to go out of the class to use the restroom, which was unsafe and interfered with the PDP process.

“Thankfully, now there is a large study room, kitchen, toilet, and teacher’s room included in this new Tabika Kemas,” Shahida said.

She also hoped that Petronas will continue its efforts to improve the future of Matu’s children. — DayakDaily