School Reopening Decision Way Too Coarse— MOE’s Review of Implementation Urged

Joint Statement Released by Dong Zong and Jiao Zong

August 12, 2021

School Reopening Decision Way Too Coarse—

MOE’s Review of Implementation Urged


Dong Jiao Zong reckons it hasty in the phasic school reopening announcement made by the MOE which begs for sound and preparatory plan, thus an immediate review and rectification is urged.

The MOE had pronounced in mid July 2021 that all schools nationwide should reopen in stages from 1st September onwards. Now that the deadline is approaching, all teachers and parents expect a substantial explanation. In fact, despite the ravaging COVID-19 and surging of cases each day, measures and schedules decided by the MOE officials have not been publicly pronounced.

Factually, since the school reopening directive was announced by the MOE, doubts have been formed among the general public. Yet the MOE has not taken the initiative to forward any substantial measures and preparatory plans. Contrarily, only belated announcement was made by the MOE recently requesting all state school supervisors across the country to collect views from primary six, secondary three and five student parents randomly on the September school reopening. Obviously, ever since the announcement of the September school reopening in July, the MOE has not followed up and communicated with party concerned, let alone seeking views from educational organisations for a blanket plan which addresses school safety and teaching progress.

Judging from the responses toward the COVID-19 pandemic as well as execution power, the MOE is stereotypically believed to fall short of expectations as it is not the first incident ever. Last year, for instance, the delayed dispatch of 150 laptops promised to B40 families was denounced widely. Moreover, the ‘Lost Generation’ issue resulting from the raging pandemic was also cautioned by educationists successively. Educationists believe that enduring school closure detrimentally affects learning progress and effect, in particular students from underprivileged families as they need more resources and supports. Since students are grounded at home mandatorily for a long period—lacking social interactions, recreations and physical exercises—their mental and physical health will be affected consequently. Unfortunately, no remedied measures were raised by the MOE actively and initiatively in response.

We posit, the MOE needs to replace their pessimistic and closed-door attitude with a proactive one which initiatively communicates and listens to public views. In addition, the MOE is expected to clearly explain their policy vision and implementation details. 

Prevailing social-economic issues like unsuccessful handling of pandemic, commercial depression, parliament session suspension and instable political situation exhibit the impotence of Perikatan Nasional government in governance. In reality, the power struggle indulgence of the political parties and want of sound managerial plan have pushed the general public into troubled waters, including the price heavily paid in the educational domain. We therefore urge officials of the MOE to bravely shoulder their responsibilities during this trying period to show crisis management leadership and not to muddle on habitually making coarse decision.