E-learning: Parents on the right track

Rokiah Mahmud

The implementation of online learning or e-learning at home for students in Brunei Darussalam carried out since March 30 has received a range of responses from the public, especially parents.

It was implemented by the Ministry of Education to ensure the students’ safety due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Since the implementation, parents have shared their views as they cope with the e-learning system.

Speaking to the Bulletin, Hajah Noraini, a mother of four, said she has struggled to ensure her children have enough time to follow the online learning system.

Two of her children are in primary while the other two are in secondary. Hajah Noraini said since her children started online learning, she invested in laptops and tablets to make it easy for them to study.

A teacher preparing HLP. PHOTO: RAHWANI ZAHARI

Since she is working, she has limited time to supervise their studies, but made sure the older siblings assist the younger ones.

It was challenging initially but it became a platform for the children to continue their studies.

“It is like having a virtual classroom,” she said.

Parents, Juan and Nory, are both nurses. They explained to the Bulletin that with online learning they get to see their children’s progress. It also serves as an opportunity for them to understand their children’s strengths and weaknesses in their studies and how they could overcome the situation by discussing with the teachers online.

“Even though at home we don’t have Internet access, we spare an amount of top-up recharge for our children to study online,” they said.

“But we do hope that the normal classrooms could resume as hands-on education is much better in a classroom.”

Huda Qayyum, whose daughter Qisya is in Kindergarten 1, shared her view on the fun side of the online learning. “My daughter started to attend formal school this year, so with online learning, it is fun as most of her subjects involve numbers, phonics and music.

“Even though I am usually tired after work, I make sure to check her schoolwork.

“The teachers always check the students’ progress. The teachers also provide educational website links for the children’s reference.

“At the same time, we need to write our feedback on how the children are doing via email.

“My daughter’s school come up with various tasks each week – not only daily work but also projects and activities.

“Luckily, they were given a time frame to finish the entire task before handing it over to the class teacher the week after.

“The good thing about online learning is that you can supervise your children on their social media consumption and at the same time spend quality time with them.

“You also get to communicate with their teachers about their school work,” she added.

There are also several schools that provide home learning packages (HLP) for students who do not have Internet access at home.

The HLP means to assist parents and guardians who cannot afford computers or mobile phones for online learning when teachers are conducting their teaching sessions.

Hard copies are provided and the parents are required to take them from schools at stated dates.

The HLP consist of a week’s work in which teachers set-up a group chat via WhatsApp’s updating the students and parents what to do on that week. This enhances their learning as they will not get left behind. Teachers will provide specific boxes with classroom labels and only one parent or guardian is allowed to take the HLP.

These measures are taken to practice social distancing among the public, especially around school areas. Teachers also provide textbooks and update the WhatsApp group daily on which topic to read and workbook to finish. Mohamad Bajuri, a father of three, said the method is applicable to parents who have no Internet access. The children will get updates from their primary and religious teachers on tasks they need to do.

“There are times their religious teachers provide tasks in the group chat and parents need to voice record or send videos of the children such as prayer recitations, reading Al-Quran or Muaqaddam and so on,” he added.