Students in rural areas hit hard by restricted movement order — SDGA

Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA) logo

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By Malcolm Lau

KUCHING, March 29: The Movement Control Order (MCO) due to the Covid-19 outbreak is affecting not only the economy and labour market but also education in rural areas.

“According to International Labour Organisation (ILO)’s preliminary assessment, it is expected that we will see an increase of 13 million in unemployment numbers globally,” Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA) president Gary Ningkan highlighted in a press statement.

“We hope the country and the state will continue to engage actively with various trade unions and CSOs (civil society organisations) to develop sustainabe solutions for the needs of everyday hardworking citizens,” he added.

Gary praised the government for the various incentives for frontliners and hope that the frontliners in the private sector are secured and well-taken care of.

“We must also keep our rural folks in mind and the MCO has caused many of our rural folks (to be) without income. We must ensure that the aid reaches the targeted group,” Gary added.

Gary also highlighted that CSOs had to ensure that their rural counterparts are not sidelined from the benefits given by the state and federal governments.

“With the MCO extended to mid-April, our children are now out of the classroom and deprived of a conducive learning opportunity. Technology, however, can help replace the physical classroom. It is imperative that teachers, educators and lecturers think ahead on how to disseminate knowledge without a physical classroom,” Gary pointed out.

He noted that the usage of online applications had been implemented and that parents also hold an important role as they need to make sure that their children are learning during this time.

“Students in the rural (areas) that do not have the benefit of Internet access are badly affected by the current crisis,” Gary added.

He hoped that community leaders and also parents will seek advice from teachers to ensure that the children will able to learn during the MCO.

Gary also disclosed SDGA will be working with various CSOs and private philanthropists in providing protective equipment for frontliners. — DayakDaily