Ministry postpones student registration over Covid-19 spike

04 Oct 2020 / 18:54 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Higher Education Ministry (KPT) explained that the ministry could not avoid the decision of postponing the registration of new students for the October session within a short time following an increase in Covid-19 cases in the country.

Higher Education director-general, Datuk Seri Dr Mohamed Mustafa Ishak said it was a difficult decision after taking into consideration the views and advice by the Health Ministry (MOH) as well as all universities involved.

“The country has not completely overcome the threat of the pandemic. There is a consistent increase in Covid-19 cases lately, for example in eastern Sabah, the district is now a red zone, there are about 7,673 students there and if combined with the number throughout Sabah, the number may exceed 10,000 people.

“The decision was made to curb the spread of the outbreak in the community,” he said when explaining the issue of postponing university student registration for the October session in Buletin Bernama aired over Bernama TV today.

He said the ministry acknowledged the constraints faced by students in terms of finance, logistics as well as accommodation and the ministry had decided to allow students who have arrived to remain in campus while waiting for further instructions.

He said 67,406 new students who were affected by the postponement could still attend the online orientation according to their respective universities.

“For students who have not started their journeys to university, could stay at home and follow the orientation and lessons online.

“I do not deny the difficulties faced by students and parents. Therefore each university has already open its own 24 and 12-hour operation rooms to provide students further information,“ he said.

Mohamed Mustafa said the ministry is also cooperating with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to provide more than 800 village internet centres to assist students facing internet problems.

On the problem of transportation, he said airline and bus companies as well as Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) have agreed to allow students to reschedule their journeys to their campuses especially those who have bought their tickets to travel.

Apart from that, Mohamed Mustafa also explained the situation faced by university students now is not the same like school students as they involved major mobilisation.

“In the case of United Kingdom, when they reopened universities, hundreds of students were infected by Covid-19 including university staff. So it is better to postpone and allow the situation to improve for at least two weeks and if the situation is better, students can return to campus again,’ he said.

Meanwhile, he said since the government announced the Movement Control Order in March, the ministry had undertaken the cost of food for more than 80,000 students in university campuses at a cost of RM52 million while the expenditure for sending more than 57,000 students back involved RM17.4 million.

“The government had also approved Prihatin aid of RM200 each to more than 841,000 students at a cost of RM168 million. The assistance was given during the first MCO when they were in campus for two months.

“This means the government through the ministry has spent a large sum of funds to help students during MCO. As such, if the matter recurs, the government would be hard-pressed to provide the full assistance,” he said. -Bernama

email blast