HBL should be last resort as not all have conducive environment: Chan

Not all children necessarily have conducive environments for home-based learning (HBL), and putting them on a prolonged HBL schedule can have a negative impact on their academic progress and socio-emotional well-being, said Education Minister Chan Chun Sing.

He said in a Facebook post yesterday: "HBL must thus only be a last resort, to be used in a targeted manner."

The Ministry of Education yesterday announced measures to get primary school pupils back into the classroom. Primary 1 to 5 pupils were put on HBL for two weeks from Sept 27 as part of efforts to curb the risk of Covid-19 transmission amid a surge in cases.

Mr Chan said he was aware of the dilemma facing parents and educators on having to choose between resuming in-person schooling and extending HBL.


But he added there is a need to learn to live with the virus - which will be around for "quite some time" - and take steps to minimise its impact on lives and learning.

"We want to keep our children safe. We want to take care of their academic and socio-emotional development holistically. We want to do all this in a safe and sustainable way.

"We also understand the stresses and strains on families and educators who need to juggle work and caring for their children during HBL. It is not easy."

The minister said the choice to allow pupils to return to classrooms will give them a chance to learn while reconnecting face to face with their peers for their socio-emotional development.

He said the move to go back to classrooms will be done in phases so that teachers and school staff can better ensure safe management measures are implemented effectively.

Rounding off his post, Mr Chan said: "We look forward to vaccinating our school children soonest possible when the vaccines are approved for use and available to us."- THE STRAITS TIMES