MoHE needs to take decisive action to avoid further hardship for varsity students

Julian Tan.

KUCHING, Oct 5: Former Stampin MP Julian Tan wants the the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) to take immediate action to avoid further hardship for university students during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Tan, who is also the Special Assistant to DAP Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen, said the MoHE needs to take a decisive action especially during such an unprecedented crisis that could further add to their financial burden.

“Covid-19 is not going away anytime sooner, not at least until the end of this year and perhaps beyond. Thus, a decisive decision should be made that is long-term until the end of the year or the first quarter of next year.

“MoHE should consider all higher education institutions to conduct teaching and learning online, including related administrative activities, limiting it to essential on-campus activities, in line with the Ministry of Health (MOH) effort to curb the second wave amidst all the uncertainty on traveling restriction across states.

“Decisive decisions by the MoHE will remove all the uncertainty and potential hardship faced by both students and universities’ administration, especially in local universities where such decisions are perhaps more closely tied down to decisions from the MoHE,” he said in a statement today.

Tan pointed out that many private universities have already made a swift decision as early as May to go fully online for all programmes.

According to him, on-campus activities are limited only to research activities, with priority given only to higher degree research students who need to access the laboratories or specialist equipment.

“Such numbers are manageable, with proper scheduling, making it a non-issue when adhering to Covid-19 related SOP and prevention, and a prompt decision as such certainly helps all parties, especially with the students and lecturers, to make plans while waiting for the global crisis to be more controllable,” explained Tan.

He also opined that the pandemic has changed education as there has been a significant surge in the usage and availability of online educational, conferencing tools, project management tools, and many others, where it has enabled even the most complex project to be carried out remotely.

Many, he said, have come to terms with getting things done virtual and remotely, a new norm where tertiary students have no problem adapting.

“Some research even suggested that online learning can be more effective with higher retention of information with much less time. Such will go beyond the pandemic and redefine the way we do things for the near future. Like it or not, we need to get our students ready for the new post-pandemic world,” he added. –DayakDaily.