Following the return of lower sixth form (PreU1) students to the Belait Sixth Form Centre (PTE Belait) on the morning of May 23, students, teachers and parents expressed their positive outlook for face-to-face learning.
The Bulletin spoke with some of the parents and guardians who sent their children back to school that morning.
One parent, Hajah Mazizan binti Haji Mohammad, expressed her delight over the school re-opening.
“I feel that students will be at ease with the resumption of physical classes as the facilities here provide a conducive learning environment for them,” she said.
Same sentiments were shared by another parent, Haji Hazren bin Haji Tengah.
He believed that having a place to learn and teach in comfort will have a positive impact on the students.
“As a father, I noticed that my child was eager and motivated to attend school today,” he said.
He added that the large facilities found at the school are benificial as they cater to sixth form students, rather than shared premises with secondary school students.
“Having their own campus allows students to learn and expand their knowledge,” he said.
Meanwhile, lower sixth students of the school also shared their enthusiasm for the return to school as they started their academic year during the temporary re-location to Sayyidina Ali Secondary School (SMSA).
Chong Rui Ern extended his gratitude for the effort made by the government, saying, “If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be standing here now.”
He also expressed his excitement over studying at PTE Belait as he had always looked forward to making full use of all the facilities in the pursuit developing his skills and expanding his knowledge.
“PTE Belait facilities are fantastic, from common rooms to a spacious two-storey library, plenty of classrooms to help us focus on our studies.
“In short, the facilities here are bigger and better. We have a lot of space for ourselves. With this, I look forward to us achieving excellent results in our ‘A’ Level exams.”
Student Saariishaa Theventharan also shared her thoughts on the re-opening of PTE Belait.
She said she was excited to learn that they would finally be studying at the centre.
Having been attending classes that were a mix of online and face-to-face learning, she finds physical classes to be better.
“I think we learn better through face-to-face learning as we can interact with the teachers and our friends. There can be technical issues in online learning that we don’t encounter in the physical classroom.”
Senior Headmistress of Student Affairs at PTE Belait Ummi Kalsum binti Haji Omar said the re-opening of the centre was highly-anticipated “not just the teachers. I feel like the students are happy too as this is their first time here at the centre”.
She noted that face-to-face learning is a far cry from the online learning, which was conducted as part of the effort to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus while also ensuring that the students are receiving their curricula properly throughout the year.
“We have had to make a lot of sacrifices in terms of teaching, with the main concern being how students connected to online lessons,” she said.
The enduring efforts were made by the school, such as recording classes for students who were unable to attend them and allocating extra time for students using video conferencing apps throughout the pandemic, to ensure students did not fall behind on their studies.
But with the shift back to physical learning, Ummi Kalsum hoped the move back to PTE Belait would mean that students will not feel restricted by the insufficient number of classrooms and facilities.
“With the return to PTE Belait, they will be able to make full use of the facilities to learn and expand their knowledge and acquire skills to prepare them for challenges in the future.”