By Jack Lapidus
THE COVID-19 pandemic has forced teachers and students in the country to adopt online education but the digital divide between urban and rural areas is a cause for concern.
Sibuti MP Lukanisman Awang Sauni said the Education Ministry should reevaluate the implementation of online teaching-learning during the Movement Control Order (MCO) particularly on rural schoolchildren who have no access to the Internet, Borneo Post reported.
There are educators who were willing to go the extra mile by sending homework to their students at longhouses and villages.
“Nonetheless, the biggest obstacle for rural students is the lack of internet access. So it’s difficult for the parents to know the instructions or the learning modules.
“The current method is via WhatsApp group, where schools would approach the parents with regard to homework for their children,” he said.
Furthermore, he said some of the rural communities could not access education programmes broadcasted by the government as they have yet to receive digital decoders for digital TV transmission.
Lukanisman is now getting feedback from educators in his constituency on how the teaching-learning process is being carried out during the MCO.
He suggested that longhouse chiefs, village headmen and parents work together to come up with a viable method to enable teaching and learning to be done at home.
“The cooperation from parents is vital to ensure that their children would do the homework and study; otherwise, it would be pointless.
“I am also waiting for the full response from educators on the methods that could ensure that students would spend their time wisely during the MCO, especially those who are facing public examinations,” he said.
He hoped the government would not overlook the educational needs of rural students.