Press Statement By Julian Tan:
MoHE needs to take decisive action to avoid further hardship for students. They will need time to plan. During such an unprecedented crisis, this could further add to their financial burden, especially when calling it off the last minute.
Covid19 is not going away anytime sooner, not at least until the end of this year and perhaps beyond. Thus, a decisive decision should be made that is long-term until the end of the year or the 1st quarter of next year. MoHE should consider all higher education institutions to conduct teaching and learning online, including related administrative activities, limiting it to essential on-campus activities, in line with the Ministry of Health (MOH) effort to curb the second wave amidst all the uncertainty on traveling restriction across states.
Decisive decision by the MoHE will remove all the uncertainty and potential hardship faced by both students and universities’ administration, especially on local universities where such decisions are perhaps more closely tied down to decision from the MoHE.
Many private universities have already made a swift decision as early as May to go fully online for all programs. On-campus activities are limited only to research activities, with priority given only to higher degree research students who need to access the laboratories or specialist equipment. Such numbers are manageable, with proper scheduling, making it a non-issue when adhering to COVID19 related SOP and prevention. Such a prompt decision certainly helps all parties, especially with the students and lecturers, to make plans while waiting for the global crisis to be more controllable.
The pandemic has changed education forever and is here to stay. There has been a significant surge in the usage and availability of online educational, conferencing tools, project management tools, etc. Enable even the most complex project to be carried out remotely. Many of us have come to terms with getting things done virtual and remotely, a new norm where tertiary students have no problem adapting. Some research even suggested that online learning can be more effective with higher retention of information with much less time. Such will go beyond the pandemic and redefined the way we do things for the coming near future. Like it or not, we need to get our students ready for the new post-pandemic world.