KUALA LUMPUR: Students in Malaysia will return in phases to schools, starting on Mar 1 with pre-schoolers as well as primary 1 and primary 2 students.
Senior Education Minister Mohd Radzi Md Jidin said in a press conference on Friday (Feb 19) that the majority of the primary students will return to school a week later, on March 8.
“For secondary schools, all levels will attend schools on Apr 4 or Apr 5 (depending on states),” he said. They will return to their classrooms on April 4 in Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, and Terengganu, while the rest will return on April 5.
The dates refer, the minister said, to all government and private schools registered with the ministry. Dr. Mohd Radzi clarified that pre-schoolers and lower primary students are scheduled to start schools early to enable teachers to familiarize themselves with the basic operating procedures of the schools (SOP).
In the meantime, he clarified that for secondary students to resume schooling due to logistics, the first week of April had been chosen because the school-leaving Malaysian Education Certificate (SPM) exams would need more room compared to previous years.
The SPM examinations, to be conducted from Feb 22 to Mar 25, will take up more space than just an examination hall, the minister added, postponed from last year. “The SOPs are very detailed and tight to ensure our children who are going to sit for SPM can do so in a safe and calm manner.
Therefore, after the mid-semester break that starts at the end of March until the first week of April, the ministry agreed to resume secondary schooling.
The states of Selangor, Johor, and Penang and the federal territory of Kuala Lumpur are currently subject to the Movement Control Order (MCO), while the other states are subject to conditional MCO or MCO recovery. For much of last year, when Malaysia went through its first MCO on March 18, the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the education of Malaysian students.
Schools were closed and interstate traffic was curbed, along with all non-essential businesses. Major school-leaving exams have been delayed until 2021. As a result, teachers found workarounds to help students keep up with their studies, such as conducting classes through Zoom and other video-conferencing apps.
Home-based learning has proven to be difficult for others, as access challenges are faced by those in rural areas, whereas less well-to-do families do not have enough electronic devices for their