Schools looking at new ways for parents to volunteer due to pandemic
Pandemic has disrupted parent volunteer scheme; schools advised to be flexible on hours contributed
While most parents were able to complete their hours for the parent volunteer (PV) scheme this year, some primary schools are looking at alternative ways of volunteering due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.
These include introducing new ways that PVs can contribute, such as through online platforms.
Under Phase 2B of the 2020 P1 registration exercise, PVs had to complete 40 hours of service at the school by June this year.
But safe distancing measures and the circuit breaker might have made it difficult for some parents to do so.
A spokesman for the Education Ministry said it has advised schools to exercise flexibility on the mandatory 40 hours.
If required, the ministry will review the guidelines to schools on the scheme for the 2021 P1 registration exercise, she added.
Mrs Daphne Yeoh, principal of St Hilda's Primary School, said the school is looking at introducing activities that do not require a physical presence, as Covid-19 has resulted in the suspension of PVs entering the premises.
She said: "The safe management measures in place have also resulted in adjustments to the school's curriculum, making it difficult to bring in PVs."
Mrs Ong Hui Khim, principal of Nan Hua Primary School, said activities that PVs can continue to support include conducting online workshops and consultancy sessions, or working on projects such as designing graphics for the school through online platforms.
Mr Muhammad Farizal Umar Effendi, principal of Radin Mas Primary School, said before the pandemic, the PVs would be in school to assist in some programmes, but the school is now focusing more on the creation of videos and e-resources.
Madam Elis Tan, principal of Rosyth School, said the situation has also required more PVs to support school activities that have been broken up into smaller groups.
Some schools have also exercised discretion for PVs who could not meet the requirements due to the pandemic, such as pro-rating the hours.
Principal of St Andrew's Junior School (SAJS) Patsy Neo said the school had arranged for some PVs to volunteer at the school library during the holidays to ensure that contact between students and visitors are minimised.
However, the school has decided to stop the PV scheme for the next intake due to the difficulties caused by the pandemic .
Marketing professional Robin Kong, who had intended to apply as a PV at St Andrew's Junior School, said: "My wife was quite anxious because we lost an opportunity for my son to get into SAJS. I think most parents who were planning to do so will feel the same way."
He added: "I don't think parents will mind contributing through online platforms, as long as they get to clock the hours. But for those who are passionate volunteers, they will still prefer having a physical presence."