Singapore

Parents welcome decision to hold virtual classes

Ms Yohannes Azman is a single mother of two, her 15-year-old daughter is a student at Canberra Secondary School and her son, 11, a pupil at Rainbow Centre Admiral Hill School.

The 36-year-old, who works in the early childhood sector, welcomed the recent announcement that schools will start full home-based learning (HBL) from tomorrow until May 28.

With her children spending less time outdoors, Ms Yohannes said her mind was at ease that the risk of them contracting the coronavirus was reduced.

However, the shift to HBL also meant that she had to make arrangements for the supervision of her children, especially for her son, who has autism spectrum disorder.

"My son needs his routine in place, and that includes waking up early and having his meals at specific timings. The difficulty that I face will be getting him to complete his work without his teachers' presence as he can be quite cheeky," said Ms Yohannes.

As she has to commute to work, the children will be supervised by their father, who works at night.

The Ministry of Education also said on Sunday that all centre-based tuition and enrichment classes must move their activities online till June 13 or further notice, to reduce interaction among students from different schools.

Mr Jerry Guo, 39, founder of MaxiMath Education Centre, said he expected the change.

He had been monitoring the situation, and when Covid-19 case numbers started to rise last week, he warned his students they might have to shift back to online classes.

He said: "Based on last year's experience, some parents feel online classes are not as effective. So this year, I offered to extend the lesson duration for some online classes and hold free physical consultation sessions when the situation improves."

While parents are thankful for the measures put in place for the safety of their children, some worry that shifting back and forth from HBL may impact their children's studies.

Ms Wendy Teh, 36, who works in early childhood education, has two daughters aged 11 and 12, who are pupils at Oasis Primary School.

She fully supports MOE's decision to switch to HBL but worries that her elder daughter's studies may be affected, especially as she will be sitting her Primary School Leaving Examination this year.

Ms Teh said: "She was supposed to have extra classes in school over the holidays but they have all been cancelled. I think they will organise some online classes, but there have been no updates so far."

This article first appeared in The Straits Times.

coronavirus