KUALA LUMPUR: All schools in Malaysia will carry out home-based teaching and learning for the new school term beginning mid-June.
In a press conference on Sunday (Jun 6), Minister for Education Mohd Radzi Md Jidin said the decision was made after taking into account the current COVID-19 situation.
Students in Malaysia are now on a two-week mid-year break. The new school term will begin on Jun 13 or Jun 14, depending on states, for 25 schooling days.
"This approach will also apply to all private, international and expatriate schools registered with the Ministry of Education, based on their own schooling calendar," Dr Mohd Radzi said.
The education television service “Didik TV”, which kicked off on Feb 17 this year, would continue with 15 hours of broadcasting a day.
Dr Mohd Radzi also announced that the 2021 written examinations for the Malaysian Education Certificate (SPM), which is equivalent to the O-Levels, have been delayed to March next year.
For the next school term starting at the end of July, the ministry will make an announcement at least one week before schools reopen, the senior minister said.
Answering questions from the media later, Dr Mohd Radzi said if schools were to reopen for physical schooling, students sitting for major examinations would be given priority for face-to-face schooling.
Both primary and secondary schools have barely opened for two to three months of physical schooling this year.
The emergence of COVID-19 cases in schools, as well as local shutdowns necessitating the closure of schools, saw schoolchildren returning to home-based learning for two weeks in May.
Currently, Malaysia is in a "total lockdown" from Jun 1 until Jun 14. Daily COVID-19 cases have breached the 9,000-mark twice, while daily fatalities recorded exceed 100 in three out of the last four days.
Malaysia has recorded a total of 610,574 COVID-19 cases and 3,291 deaths since the COVID-19 outbreak began in the country last year.
Minister for Health Adham Baba said 82,341 infants and children had been infected with COVID-19 from January 2020 until May 30, 2021.
Health Ministry director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said 27 children, including 19 below the age of five, had to be warded in intensive care between January to May, up from eight cases last year.
Touching on the distribution of 150,000 laptops to economically disadvantaged students, Dr Mohd Radzi said the Cerdik Initiative has distributed 12,887 laptops to 95 schools in 51 education districts nationwide.
The programme is a joint effort by the finance and education ministries.
"Another 40,290 units are expected to be distributed latest by Jun 12. We are in the process of distributing these units."
"The remaining 96,823 will be distributed by the end of September," he said.