Two of ECM Libra Foundation’s partner organisations have been working hard to provide training, support and guidance to teachers and leaders of the country’s education sector. Their collective efforts took a meaningful turn as more than 10,000 public schools try to cope with the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
On June 3, Edvolution Enterprise and Pemimpin Global School Leaders (GSL) co-hosted a webinar on "Building Proactive Response to the Covid-19 Crisis at the School, District and State Level.” Through it, participants were introduced to a tool which allows schools to tackle their issues systematically.
The tool, known as the Crisis Preparedness Rubric, assesses schools’ preparedness in four key areas, namely school operations, communications, welfare, and teaching and learning. The tool helps schools to identify their current level of response towards the pandemic, and suggests follow-up steps in the crisis management process.
“It was good to see 145 participants from schools, government officials, academicians, parents and members from the media come to hear the responses taken by our programmes’ officers and school leaders,” said Melissa Gomes, co-founder of Edvolution.
Edvolution is a social enterprise that is currently running its pilot Teacher Empowerment for School Transformation (TEST) programme to raise the standards of the teaching and learning practice. The TEST is developed for District Education Officers, School Leaders and Teachers at 14 low-performing schools in the North-East district of Penang.
The Foundation’s other partner, Pemimpin GSL, conducts a two-year continuous professional development programme for senior leadership teams from schools in Malaysia. It is currently running the second PEMIMPIN Fellowship Programme for nearly 90 school leaders from over 40 schools in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.
ECM Libra Foundation funds these two organisations in an effort to bring about top-down transformational change at public schools.
Since the introduction of Movement Control Order in March, all schools in Malaysia have been shuttered, forcing more than 400,000 teachers to grapple for ways to reach out to more than five million students at home.
Education Minister Mohd Radzi Jidin has since announced that Malaysian schools will reopen in phases, starting on June 24 for those taking their school-leaving examinations. But that involves only 10 per cent of the students. Students in other educational levels will have to continue with home-based learning, pending further update on their school reopening.
In the webinar, Melissa mediated a sharing from officers from Perlis State Education Department, Penang’s North-East District Education Department, and two school principals from Selangor on some key steps they took in the face of this crisis.
The discussion highlighted the importance of having clear and consistent communication with parents, teachers, and students, identifying the needs of the students and teachers through surveys, and addressing the welfare of all the parties involved.
The Crisis Preparedness Rubric was also shared with the webinar participants and they were briefed on the how to identify the different needs of the school so that targeted assistance could be provided.
The loss of learning due to school closures was raised during the talk. Panel speakers shared their views on how to make up for the deficit. Online tuition classes, lessons via radio, and workshops for teachers to learn how to implement online learning were recommended. Other suggestions included getting the support of parents in the distribution of homework, simplifying the syllabus, and various ways of motivating students.
For additional resources, please see the following links:
1. From Pemimpin GSL: Malaysian School Leaders' Response to COVID-19
2. From Edvolution: Guide for School Reopening and Recovery after the COVID-19 Quarantine
3. To find out more about the Rubric, please go to: https://bit.ly/EECM2