GEORGE TOWN: There has been a surge in e-learning across the country as the possibility of a quick return to the classroom becomes more remote.
In Penang, where about 2,000 tuition and special skills learning centres have closed temporarily to prevent the spread of Covid-19, teachers are turning to virtual classrooms to conduct lessons.
Students, from pre-school to college, have been logging in to their teacher’s virtual classrooms to catch up on school-work.
The BELL Language Centre, one of the oldest Cambridge Examination Preparation centres in Malaysia, embarked on e-learning last month.
According to its principal, Angeline Khoo, the centre is even offering discounts on fees to alleviate the financial burden on parents who may have been affected by salary cuts or job losses resulting from the movement control order (MCO) imposed on March 18.
The restrictions on movements have since been relaxed with the replacement of the MCO with the conditional MCO (CMCO) but schools remain closed for now.
Khoo said even veteran teachers at the centre have embraced the concept of imparting their knowledge on the web.
“Changing from the traditional classroom to virtual learning was a challenge at first but it soon caught on with both teachers and students,” Khoo told theSun.
The centre, founded in 1971 by the late Dr Benny Khoo, has been at the forefront of teaching English in Penang.
The National Union of the Teaching Profession Penang branch chairman Ng Weng Tutt said that in times of crisis, children should be encouraged to study through video-conferencing apps such as Zoom, Skype or Google Classroom.
He said while tuition centres focus on efforts to provide supplementary lessons in addition to the school curriculum, parents should also play their role by monitoring their children.
“It is a new challenge for both the instructors and the children but we must continue. We must not allow the virus to distract us,” Ng said in an interview.
The majority of school teachers are working from home and some even offer “make up” classes to help students catch up when schools were abruptly shut due to the virus.