By Ariani Mohd Nor
GOMBAK, 1 September 2021: Following the announcement of the IPT Recovery Plan by the Ministry of Higher Education recently, a group of students who called themselves We Unite For Islam (WUFI) from IIUM, has produced a proposal sheet to aid the policy making processes.
The proposal sheet by the students’ front comprises five main components: students’ vaccination, movement of students for the new semester, hybrid teaching and learning, graduates’ welfare, and the re-opening of in-campus facilities.
“We hope this proposal can be considered by Minister of Higher Education, Dato’ Dr. Noraini Ahmad, in drafting the IPT Recovery Plan,” WUFI said in their statement. “The ideas and solutions presented in this proposal are the contribution of ideas from students who want a brighter future.”
The key takeaways from their proposal are as below:
Students’ vaccination process
As the Ministry of Higher Education and the COVID-19 Special Immunisation Task Force (CITF) have announced that all students and staff of higher education institutions shall be vaccinated by October, WUFI suggested a few more additions to their plan that could help in spreading information and adding speed to the vaccination programme.
One of them is to publish weekly reports regarding students’ vaccination programme similar to the daily inoculation count posted by the Special Committee on COVID-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV), and another is to draw an action plan for IPT staff and students as there were none to begin with.
Their proposal to suggest the transparency of flows will not only aid staffs and students in getting the right information, but also boost confidence in re-opening physical classes so campuses can work in full force as soon as possible.
Students’ movement to and from campus and hometowns
To curb the spread of the virus, WUFI suggests that there needs to be a systematic approach so students can safely travel to their campuses.
This system is also recommended to be applied when on-campus students wish to return home to their hometowns.
The system starts with only allowing those that are fully vaccinated and those included in the six categories of students allowed in campus to be given greenlight to return to campus. Of course, students should also agree to quarantine precautions as directed by each campus.
In terms of transportation, WUFI proposed that only these four methods are allowed, which are:
- By their own transport with a maximum of 3 people in a car; or
- By parents’ car; or
- By the transport provided by the university; or
- By public transport for those living in Phase 2 states and higher, and flights for those living in Sabah and Sarawak.
Hybrid teaching and learning
WUFI proposes that hybrid teaching and learning must be implemented in all higher learning institutions.
This is believed to be the best course of action as it does not exclude those choosing to continue classes online while also catering to those who feel that offline classes are best for them. Of course, physical classes should be done with proper social distancing precautions applied.
However, to achieve this, the Ministry must ensure that proper facilities are provided for the lecturers and students.
As graduates are still unsure on their oncoming futures, WUFI has highlighted three main problems that needs to be addressed by the Ministry and the institutes: convocation ceremonies, convocation fees, and graduates’ transcripts.
With the impending fate of whether or not they will ever have a convocation ceremony, the Ministry should be paying more attention regarding the welfare of the graduates.
The first issue that needed to be addressed is the obvious question of an ideal convocation ceremony during the pandemic. WUFI added that this can easily be tackled if the Ministry was more aware of the situation at hand as well as what the graduates want by asking for their feedback and suggestions.
Of course, a convocation ceremony comes with a convocation fee, which brought us to the second issue posed by the student front – if a convocation was held and it is conducted online, surely it would make more sense if convocation fees were greatly reduced or abolished completely.
Lastly, WUFI suggested that the application for graduation transcripts and certificates should be made easier and more accessible to ease the graduates’ endeavours in their future undertakings.
Re-opening of campus facilities
To cater for the needs of the staffs and students in campus, WUFI proposes full opening for all campus cafes and recreation centres under strict conditions as directed by the National Security Council.
This is to curb the spread of the disease, but also fulfil the physical needs of the staffs and students to use campus facilities when they wish to.
Moreover, WUFI proposes that the Ministry of Higher Education should work together with the National Security Council to allow recreation activities that do not involve physical contact. These activities will only be allowed to students if and only if:
- Universities implement the “bubble” system – wherein movement in and out of campus are strictly prohibited; and
- Students have completed their compulsory quarantine; and
- Students do not have symptoms and are tested negative; and
- Students should bring their own sport equipment.
At the end of their social media statement, WUFI wishes that politicians would act immediately and as thoroughly as possible to ensure that no student gets left behind.
Those who are interested in seeing the full proposal in Bahasa Malaysia can click on this link to know more.***
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