Home-based learning sees a few teething issues on first day
Though generally smooth, system encountered glitches, while some parents said kids struggled to focus
With her children set to undergo home-based learning (HBL) starting this week, Madam Yati Hayati Yosope took two half-days off work without pay to look after them.
The student care teacher told The New Paper she felt the need to stay home to guide the children who were under HBL - a daughter in primary school and a son and daughter in secondary school. She also has a daughter in ITE.
But the first day of HBL for primary school students yesterday hardly went smoothly.
Madam Yati, 42, said her Primary 6 daughter Nur Fadhlin, 12, waited for about an hour trying to access the Singapore Student Learning Space (SLS) portal due to server issues.
Then, when her daughter was halfway through her work, the website suddenly went offline.
"My daughter tried to log in four to five times, but thankfully she did not have to restart work. There was confusion initially, but after a while there were no problems."
Like Madam Yati, many parents are having to adjust to their children studying from home at least once a week with home-based learning being implemented by the Ministry of Education (MOE) to prepare for a scenario where the Covid-19 outbreak worsens.
Schools are to conduct e-learning from home for primary school pupils on Wednesdays, secondary school students on Thursdays and junior colleges and Millennia Institute students on Fridays.
Home-based learning will last between four and six hours on those days, depending on students' levels.
The move, announced last Friday, is to progressively prepare families for more frequent HBL, should it be required, said MOE.
To assist parents, MOE provided a Parent Kit online offering tips for HBL.
Yesterday, some 200,000 primary school pupils followed different timetables set by schools, combining e-classes on the SLS and offline assignments.
Even physical education classes were conducted online - students took part in exercises by following a YouTube video.
Some families TNP spoke to said they lacked sufficient equipment for their children to undergo HBL.
Madam Dianah Jumadi, who works in manufacturing, said her two primary school children had to share a laptop yesterday. She had to take annual leave to guide them through their work.
She said: "The children are too young to be independent. They easily lose focus especially with siblings around.
"And there are too many exercises given."
Ms May Yip, whose son is in Primary Two, said HBL yesterday was "chaotic" as they had to log on to multiple platforms to complete various assignments.
She guided her son through some eight online tasks from 8am to 11am.
Said Ms Yip, 40, who runs a content marketing agency: "It did feel like quite a lot for parents with younger kids to manage, and I can't imagine doing HBL if I couldn't work from home.
"But it should get better with practice."
She added that she welcomed HBL despite its inconveniences, being wary about her children attending school amid the pandemic.
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, who visited Sembawang Primary School yesterday, said on Facebook that around 20 students were still in school as they did not have an Internet connection at home or had parents who had to go to work.
The school provided them computers to complete their online learning.
He also wrote: "Please bear with us as we iron out the tech glitches... There is a lot of adjustment to be done...
"It's not easy, and it's not perfect, but we are tapping our collective efforts to get this to work during such exceptional times."