KUALA LUMPUR: There should only be an average of 16 to 17 students in a class at any one time once school sessions resume.
Senior Minister (Education) Dr Mohd Radzi Jidin said the ministry had carried out field trials to determine the suitable number of students based on the size of the class to ensure social distancing practice amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said this would be among the standard operating procedures (SOP) to be detailed for school management post-Covid-19.
"Previously, there were normally 35 students in a class but in the new phase, we cannot have many students under the context of social distancing. The most are 16 to 17 students and for schools that have bigger classes, the total of students can go up to 20.
"This would mean that the total number of students in the previous class will have to split into two, and we also need to see how teaching can be carried out, for instance having the class conducted in the school hall.
"The ministry is considering several options after the pandemic subsides and also seeking advice from the Health Ministry before the students can return to school without compromising their health," he said during a special interview on TV3 during its 'Soal Rakyat' programme today.
Mohd Radzi also said that the school canteens, for instance, would also see a stricter SOP in place to ensure it would not be congested during recess to prevent the risk of infection among students.
"Food will have to be packed. We have a guideline for the canteens which involves when and where the students can eat," he said.
He said the ministry would ensure the SOP was adhered to fully when schools reopen to only Form Five and Form Six students who would be sitting for their national examinations this year.
Mohd Radzi, however, admitted that the implementation of the SOP was a challenge for the teachers who would have to ensure their students were ready to face the new normal and adhere to the SOP.
"Other than that, the teachers need to monitor students' progress, and how far the syllabus has been covered, as well as to look back at the development of online teaching which was implemented earlier.
"There will be a lot for the teachers to do post Movement Control Order (MCO). This will be a challenge for them to look at the basic guidelines and find ways to improve to ensure students continue to move forward," he said.
He added the ministry would also be focusing on the need for students to own digital gadgets, especially computers or tablets for learning at home to be continued effectively.
Source: New Straits Times