Has the MCO created an imbalance in the education system?

Cherita Space ran a poll asking readers if the online learning method or e-learning is providing a better learning platform than the traditional systems. Respondents’ preference leaned towards a mix of both, the traditional method and e-learning. However, at least 65% of the respondents felt that the e-learning method was not yielding the desired results. Once school commences, will the lessons taught during MCO be repeated? Or will there be additional classes for students who had no access to lessons?
How will the playing field level out?

Learning never stops! MCO or not, a big kudos to the teachers who have braved the digital divide to get the lessons out to the kids. At least 4.9million students are affected by this new normal thrust upon them in these strange times and are turning to Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, Google Hangouts Meets and Google Classroom or even WhatsApp and Telegram to complete the learning circle.

Many children are excited by this new learning platform and have responded positively, however, teachers are facing a whole new set of challenges ranging from technical glitches, technology gaps and holding the attention of active students.

When contacted by Cherita Space, teacher in a private school confided that not all students are disciplined in logging in, while some log in, but have their breakfast or drinks during lessons, which is distracting and she believes some are gaming during lessons!

Cherita Space ran a poll asking readers if the online learning method or e-learning is providing a better learning platform than the traditional systems. Respondents’ preference leaned towards a mix of both, the traditional method and e-learning. However, at least 65% of the respondents felt that the e-learning method was not yielding the desired results.

Another teacher from a public school revealed that he faces the challenge of overcoming his lack of ICT knowledge.

“Suddenly everything has to be prepared online. I never knew how to properly access the Google Classroom platform that replaced the VLE Frog and now I have to not only prepare lessons online for the children, I have to learn to conduct e-teaching via Google Hangouts,” he said.

What about students with no access to internet or IT gadgets? The Education Ministry has collaborated with TV Okey to provide content for a wider audience, and there are videos on EDUWEB.TV. However, not everyone has access either.

Even though the government announced free 1GB data daily through selected telcos for MCO this isn’t enough. In the rural areas, there are students whose parents are happy to get them new smartphones but there is no access to a stable Internet connection. Sometimes, the teachers find themselves having to stick their heads out of the window just to get internet access to upload lessons!

Some districts have taken the initiative to provide worksheets at designated drop-off points for students who do not have online access. However, it is unclear how often or how consistently this is done.

According to a study involving more than 670,000 parents and up to 900,000 students in Malaysia, 6% have a personal computer, 5.76% have a tablet, 9% have a laptop and 46% have a smartphone. More than one third or 36.7% don’t own a device.

So this creates an imbalance in education received during the MCO period. It raises the question if this situation is creating an even wider gap in the access to education for students from the high to middle income groups and the lower income groups.

Prior to the MCO, the parents who could afford tuitions and enrichment classes gave their children an edge over student who came from low income backgrounds and no access to such luxuries. The MCO situation however, is depriving a group of children from obtaining a proper education.

Once school commences, will the lessons taught during MCO be repeated? Or will there be additional classes for students who had no access to lessons?

How will the playing field level out?


References:
https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/04/583560/ensure-no-kid-left-out-e-learning
https://www.thestar.com.my/tech/tech-news/2020/04/27/mco-as-lessons-move-online-local-teachers-and-students-struggle-with-uneven-internet-access

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