STU president confirms stories of teachers climbing trees for internet

Adam delivering his speech during the STU Biennial Delegates' Conference (BDC) 2020 in Kuching today (Dec 20, 2020).

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By Ling Hui

KUCHING, Dec 20: Stories of teachers climbing trees to get an internet connection during this Covid-19 pandemic are true stories, and not fabricated.

Sarawak Teachers’ Union (STU) president Adam Parkash Abdullah said he had noted the poor internet coverage in schools throughout Sarawak that had caused much inconvenience to both teachers and students especially during the current period.

“The connectivity to rural schools is actually very bad in the state. There is one school that I know which is by the highway but teachers cannot even get internet through their mobile phones.

“If they need to use their phones, they have to use the very traditional ways. They have to walk around, turn around, go high and low to look for the best spot for internet line. There are also stories of them climbing onto trees.

“I do not want to relay to you the hardships of teachers during this pandemic, but if you hear stories of one of our teachers doing that for the children from March until now, they are true stories and not fake,” he said during a press conference after STU Biennial Delegates’ Conference (BDC) 2020 at Penview Hotel here today..

With that, he urged the Sarawak government to look into this matter urgently and to act on it accordingly, for a better teaching and learning experience for the people of Sarawak.

With some teachers having to use their own mobile data to conduct online teachings, Adam also urged the Sarawak government to consider providing assistance through internet data allowance to those in need.

Noting that running online discussions and activities using mobile data for hours daily could be very costly, he expressed his hopes for some help from the government either from Sarawak Education Department or the Ministry of Education (MOE).

“Sometimes, the line in the schools is not powerful or fast enough to be used for online classes, so some of the teachers resolve to using their own (mobile) data, and that can be very costly because teachers have many hours of teaching and online discussions with the children.

“So, we urge the government to provide internet data allowances to teachers especially during these difficult times,” he said.

At the function, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was inked between STU and Swinburne University of Technology, Sarawak Campus for a collaboration enabling STU members  to further their studies doing Master of Arts (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) (MA TESOL) while enjoying certain waivers in the tuition fee.

Swinburne Innovation Malaysia chief executive officer Prof Wallace Wong Shung Hui represented Swinburne Sarawak in signing the MOU with STU which marked a milestone to the STU charter. — DayakDaily