Parents embrace online classes, agree with extension

Izah Azahari

“I truly agree with the Ministry of Education’s (MoE) action on extending the online classes in helping the nation to curb COVID-19,” said Aimi binti Sani, a mother of two young children studying in Year 3 and Kindergarten 3.

This was following the Minister of Education Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman’s recent announcement during a press conference on April 9 on the extension of school closure amidst the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and online teaching-learning for all primary, secondary schools, sixth form centres, vocational schools and Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE) under the MoE, schools under the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA); and private schools, from April 13 to May 14.

Aimi added that as a mother, she doesn’t want to endanger her children’s lives by sending them to school knowing they are still too young to understand or practise social distancing. She believes that online learning may not be easy for both teachers and parents, but during trying times like this current situation call for parents and teachers to work together for the sake of the children.

“Maybe not all parents are Information Technology (IT) literate but they can seek help from teachers so that your children will not miss out on anything,” said Aimi. “Let’s make things work and may we come out stronger from this.”

Meanwhile, Khairul Sabri, who has a son in primary education, said that his son really enjoys online. “I do think online learning needs to have a more solid structure as right now it is just the initial stages, and there are a lot of issues that need to be fixed before this can be a fully functional way of learning,” explained Khairul.

ABOVE & BELOW: Photos show children taking part in online learning. PHOTOS: izah azahari

However, he feels optimistic about this way of learning.

Haniza binti Abdul Latip who is a mother of two boys, on the other hand, explained that this at-home learning initiative is a good example as to how the government takes education seriously in the country despite the on-going pandemic occurring globally.

“It’s undeniable that online learning was initially very difficult, but during the second week of the school term – I wouldn’t say it was quite smooth, but I was able to cope with it,” added Haniza.

“What is important, as parents, is that we are able to divide our time.”

As a working mom, Haniza said that she makes sure her children prepares their subject books according to the timetable given, and as her own workplace has a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) it has further enabled her to monitor her children’s studies at home.

“If we compare the learning methods before this, the students would probably have six subjects a day, but now it has been decreased to three or two subjects,” explained Haniza.

“I believe this is to lessen the burden of workload on students as well.” She added that another advantage to the online teaching-learning is that her children have time to send in their exercises given by their teachers within a given timeframe. She also believes that despite it being new, it will run smoothly if parents are able to divide their time accordingly.

As for Azizi Ahmad who has a daughter studying in Kindergarten 1, he said that as a working father he has still managed to cope teaching his daughter.

The second school term will begin on June 2, 2020, after the the school holidays for Ramadhan and Hari Raya Aidilfitri from May 15-31.