THE Covid-19 outbreak has thrown up numerous challenges to upset our daily routine and education system. Because of various restrictions on movement, schools and colleges are closed.

All over the world, online education is now used to ensure that students do not have their study routine and discipline undermined.

Without various types of support students end up playing video games, watching TV and idling around.

Most importantly, they lose the discipline of learning in a structured way.

They lose what they have acquired in their normal routine, that is time management.

They don’t know what to do and how to do, and in most cases their parents are not around to help or cannot help them.

I urge the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Higher Education to support, strengthen, and expand the online learning. All schools and colleges should be encouraged to do this. They can start at the most basic level.

There are many ways to handle this.

Most students have handphones. This can be used for e-learning.

The TV stations can broadcast lessons, although this may not be interactive.

We understand that there are poor students and those in rural areas, who may not have access to the internet.

They can watch and learn from the TV broadcasts. This is in fact already being done. But we can use this for higher education. We all want to help our young students as they are our future.

We should also encourage telcos to support this national online education effort to lower the cost of using internet and handphones for students. They can do this as part of their CSR.

I am sure many private and public universities are willing to help our students to sustain their daily learning.

We do not want the students to be neglected. The cost of this neglect can be very high.

Indeed parents are extremely concerned about having their children idling or lazing around at home.

Also, what happens if the movement control order continues for another few weeks or months.

Those who already have access to online education can continue with their lessons.

But for those who do not have access, there are further disadvantages. So, it is better to accelerate online learning in all colleges and schools rather than to stop this.

All over the world IR 4.0 is being phased in. Online education is part of IR 4.0.

Professor Datuk Dr Paul Chan

President and Vice Chancellor

HELP University