Schools urged to write in to Education Dept to hold replacement classes on May 17-18

From left: Mordi, Chong and Dr Yii speak to members of the media after meeting officers from the state Education Department.

KUCHING, May 15: Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Chong Chieng Jen urges school teachers and principals in the state to write in to the state Education Department as soon as possible if they want to hold replacement classes on the state-declared public holidays of May 17-18.

Chong, who is MP Stampin made these remarks during a short visit to the department’s headquarters with Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii and Mas Gading MP Mordi Bimol this morning.

The state government recently declared the two dates as public holidays after the 14th general election, instead of following the federal public holidays of May 10-11 which was declared by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad.

Chong said the extra two days of holiday has unnecessarily disrupted plans especially those in school because many students are sitting for their mid-year exams.

“I received many complaints from teachers and parents on this matter. Many are objecting to it, the reason being is that this is already an exam week for some schools. With the declaration of two days’ holiday, exam papers have to be squeezed into three days instead of five. This will cause unnecessary additional pressure on students.

“Some schools cannot squeeze all the exam papers in three days, so the remaining two days of exam will be conducted after the June school holidays,” Chong lamented.

He said this is outrageous and nonsensical as these students are now forced to study during the holidays.

“Then we have the Pentaksiran Tingkatan Tiga course papers (‘kertas khusus’) which students must complete by May. The holidays will affect the course papers as students generally need their teacher’s additional guidance.

“The teachers are preparing their students. Now we have a situation where teachers want to teach and students don’t want disruptions in their lessons, but the state government does not allow replacement classes on May 17-18,” Chong said.

While it is a norm for replacement classes when there are unscheduled public holidays, Chong claimed that this time, the state government said no replacement classes are allowed on May 17-18.

Schools observing the May 17 and 18 public holidays will have to replace them over two Saturdays — July 14 and July 28, according to a statement from the Education Ministry.

“If you are preparing for exams next week, what is the purpose of having replacement classes after the exam?

“So my advice to principals and teachers, if they want replacement classes on May 17-18, they are free to write in to the education department and request for it,” Chong said.

He added that they have made a request and hoped that the Education Department will reconsider and allow replacement classes to be held on May 17-18.

Meanwhile, Chong viewed Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s decision to declare May 17-18 as public holidays as childish, foolish and irrational.

“He is childish because he just wants to be “different”. One of the reasons Tun Mahathir declared May 10-11 as public holidays was to avoid destabilising the country’s markets and economy. It was also to avert a tumble in the financial sector as there is a need to adjust to the new government. What Abang Johari did was foolish. Is he trying to celebrate the loss of BN by announcing the two different days as holidays?” Chong asked.

He added that PH respects the state’s autonomy, but BN should not abuse it or exercise it at their whim and fancy without accountability. — DayakDaily