Part of the new norm for schools would be smaller class sizes with fewer students, according to Senior Minister (Education) Mohd Radzi Md Jidin.
Speaking in an interview with TV3 last night, Radzi said the ministry had carried out several practical simulations to determine the reasonable number of students based on classroom size to implement social distancing and prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“If in the past a classroom can have 35 students, in this new situation we cannot have so many.
“In the context of social distancing, the most number of students will be 16 or 17 students, and for schools with a large number of classes, it could go up to 20 students,” he said.
“This means the number of students in a class will be divided into two.
“We also need to consider how to conduct the lessons, or whether a smaller classroom size needs to be moved to a hall, for example,” he said, adding that this would be part of a new standard operating procedure for schools, to be announced soon.
All schools are closed under the conditional movement control order (MCO) and Adham said the ministry has considered several options to ensure students’ safety would not be compromised upon their return to classes.
Aside from classrooms, Radzi said other areas to be looked into include school canteens, with stricter procedures to be put in place.
“Food will have to be packed. We have a guideline for the canteens which involves when and where the students can eat,” he said.
He reportedly said the ministry would monitor compliance to the procedures with the opening of Form Five and Form Six classes before proceeding with other years.
It was previously announced that the reopening of schools will only involve Form Five and Form 6 examination classes, with other annual examinations are cancelled or postponed until next year.
Radzi admitted that the implementation of the SOP was a challenge for the teachers who would have to ensure their students were ready to face the new normal and adhere to the SOP.
“The teachers need to monitor students’ progress, and how far the syllabus has been covered, as well as to look back at the development of online teaching which was implemented earlier.
“There will be a lot for the teachers to do post MCO. This will be a challenge for them to look at the basic guidelines and find ways to improve to ensure students continue to move forward,” he said.
He added the ministry would also be focusing on the need for students to own digital gadgets, especially computers or tablets for learning at home to be continued effectively.
The current school term was scheduled on March 22, four days after the MCO was first enforced.
According to the annual school year schedule, classes are supposed to be ongoing for nine weeks until May 22 before breaking for the mid-term and Hari Raya holidays.