Coronavirus: Weekly home-based learning starts today

MOE kit explains how parents can support children with routine, conducive study area

A primary school pupil will have four hours of home-based learning each time, a secondary school student will have five hours, and a junior college or Millennia Institute student will have six hours. Schools will remain open for some students whose p
A primary school pupil will have four hours of home-based learning each time, a secondary school student will have five hours, and a junior college or Millennia Institute student will have six hours. Schools will remain open for some students whose parents cannot make other childcare arrangements. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Starting today, students across the island will have their lessons at home once a week, in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) announced last Friday that primary school pupils would do so on Wednesdays, secondary school students on Thursdays, and junior colleges and Millennia Institute students on Fridays.

This will prepare parents and students for more frequent home-based learning, if and when it is required, it said.

For the remaining school days of the week, dismissal times will be staggered to reduce congestion as students leave school and take public transport or school buses home.

To address concerns parents may have, the MOE has compiled a kit explaining home-based learning and how parents can support their children during this period.

The MOE has said that students who do not have access to digital devices will receive support from their schools.

Schools will remain open for a small group of students whose parents are not able to make alternative childcare arrangements.

In its Parent Kit, the MOE explained home-based learning as e-learning through online assignments and receiving notes or worksheets through e-mail messages, as well as getting hard-copy assignments.

"Every school has a different plan, based on the needs of their students. So, don't compare, okay?" the kit said.

In families with more than one child, parents can teach children to take turns learning on the digital device, it said, adding that an Internet-connected device is not needed all the time.

A primary school pupil will have four hours of home-based learning each time, a secondary school student will have five hours, and a junior college or Millennia Institute student will have six hours.

Schools can loan devices to students who need them, and will also help if families have no Internet access at home.

The MOE also said that parents are not required to take over the role of teaching at home, but to support children to learn independently.

"For younger children, you may need to supervise them to some extent... but allow them to attempt the assignments on their own," it said.

It encouraged parents to set up a routine for their children with study, meal and rest times, and to set aside an area conducive for learning, such as the dining table or study desk.

"Working parents should take this time to think about alternative childcare arrangements should the situation change and the number of days for home-based learning is increased," said MOE.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2020, with the headline Coronavirus: Weekly home-based learning starts today. Subscribe