KOTA KINABALU: With all the schools here closed due to rising Covid-19 cases, Sabah has found itself back in the limelight for its insufficient digital infrastructure to cope with online learning.
Although parents believe that closing schools is the right move, they are concerned about the current teaching-learning process, which they claim is not as effective and needs to be improved.
Another major issue, especially in rural areas, is limited Internet access, as well as the parents’ lack of funding and understanding of the technology to support their children’s studies.
SK Advent Tamparuli’s Parents Teachers Association chairman Salbinous Saribun said there was a need to upgrade Internet connectivity as many parents had voiced their difficulties in getting access where they lived.
“Infrastructure development needs political push and government willpower.
“At the same time, I urge the Education Ministry to find a way to teach those B40 groups that are less experienced in using the Internet effectively,” said the 35-year-old father of two from Tuaran.
Saribun said for now, there were no live online classes for his son, who is in Primary Two, as not all parents had Internet access and they depended mostly on WhatsApp group interaction.
Kota Kinabalu City Hall staff Julita Joingin, 42, said her Form One daughter started with online classes this week but only for about two hours daily.
“While it is easier to adapt because we have gone through this before during the movement control order (MCO), it is a pity because I know of her classmates who are unable to go online.
“We are lucky we have strong Wi-Fi at home,” said the Penampang resident.
Businesswoman and mother of four, Alexsandra Kong, said her two daughters studying at SJKC St James in Likas were being put through project-based learning instead of online classes.
“I realise now how much time I need to put in to help them out. It is time-consuming.
“My son who is in kindergarten received video clips for learning from the teacher via WhatsApp,” said the 41-year-old from Penampang.
All three parents agreed that the lack of a physical classroom has hindered their children’s full learning experience.