Sarawak Teachers Union: Move to change school academic calendar must be agreed upon by all parties

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Kullin Djayang

SIBU (March 25): The move to change the school academic calendar must be agreed upon by all parties, stressed Sarawak Teachers Union (STU) president Kullin Djayang.

He was responding to a recent news article quoting the Ministry of Education (MoE) as giving its assurance that the start of the school calendar would be heading back to January.

The minister Fadhlina Sidek was quoted to have said that she understood the sentiments and enthusiasm of parents, who wanted the school session to start in January instead of March presently, and that MoE was working on the matter.

On this, Kullin said: “With regard to the MoE’s intention to return the school calendar to the original starting date in January, STU agrees to it in principle, but such a move needs detailed research from various angles so that no party would complain or be dissatisfied over it.

“This said, the views from all parties should be taken seriously because it does require sacrifices from all parties so that no more complaints and criticisms would be heard.

“In my opinion, the complaints of parents, students, teachers and the public are not a very strong reason because all new things are difficult for us to adapt to immediately.

“It takes time to adjust.

“However, if MoE takes such complaints seriously, then be prepared to face it later and be prepared with an answer that could satisfy the complainants.”

In addition, Kullin acknowledged that what had been experienced of late was ‘a lot of unexpected weather changes’.

“From January to March, there are still many areas in Malaysia experiencing the effects from the monsoon season.

“So MoE also needs to look into this matter in more details, because such situation is not the same throughout the country,” he added.

In this regard, Kullin pointed out the need for the MoE to hold an in-depth discussion with various parties such as the top management of every state office of the Education Department, every District Education Office (PPD), school principals and headmasters, as well as the representatives of parent-teacher associations (PTAs), so that careful planning for the academic calendar change could be agreed upon mutually.

In addition, he said the discussion should also be held with all the teachers’ union leaders across the country.

“This is because all members of the teachers’ union across are affected by this change.

“We are concerned about the members being affected by the changes in school holidays, festive holidays and additional school (classes) planned by the MoE.

“In other words, this change requires sacrifices and the agreement of all parties, including teachers and students.

“STU hopes that the MoE would do its best in its careful planning, and succeed in winning the hearts of all parties in the effort to restore the school calendar as it was before,” he said.