It’s been two weeks since the new education system has been implemented. While I applaud the authorities for answering the call by parents struggling to balance their children’s regular and religious schooling, I am concerned about the well-being of the teachers, especially those at private schools.
Previously, teachers would take a breather during their lunch break. But now, they find themselves supervising children during the noon prayer; worse for smaller schools as they have to split the children into two sessions due to limited space.
While 3pm should be the end of regular school, teachers now have to watch children who only get picked up by their parents at 4.30pm as they have siblings attending religious schools, which finish at 5pm.
These teachers have other responsibilities such as lesson planning and marking papers. But due to the new system, they are now juggling between the welfare of their students and their role as educators.
Perhaps it is high time for the authorities to revise the system to protect the teachers against burnout and stress, such as holding talks with private schools to ensure that teachers have ample rest between classes.
I would like to call on teachers, especially non-Muslim ones, to be mindful of Qiblat, which is the direction of worship, when watching over students during noon prayer.
Now that religious classes have been integrated into regular school, teachers are scrambling to adapt to the new system. This is especially true for private schools, where teachers may have been tasked to oversee the prayer based on availability, not based on their knowledge of Islam.
I hope the authority could aid these teachers to ensure that these children are performing their prayers correctly.
Since the announcement of a new system that integrates regular and religious education, I have been concerned about how my daughter’s school would be able to accommodate the change.
As a non-Muslim, I’m not opposed to my children learning more about our country’s official religion. At the moment, knowing that my child won’t be graded for the new religious subject is a relief. But if it ever became a must-pass subject, I hope the authorities would give us parents a heads-up, so we could arrange for extra classes on the side.
My girl will be undertaking Year 4 education in a private school next year. While some schools have already tested out the new system, the one she is attending is still figuring out a way to organise its students.
There are whispers of possibly extending the hours for both morning and afternoon sessions as students would have to share the same facilities.
However, would it mean students in the afternoon session finish past 7pm? Would it not affect their mental health? How would the teachers cope with more hours in school?
I want to see my child excel in school. But this new system has thrown a number of private schools, especially smaller ones, into a tailspin due to the need for facilities that they simply cannot provide.