Face-to-Face Learning by Applying Health Protocols - EDITORIAL UNICEF
Minister of Education and Culture, Nadiem Anwar Makarim allowed regional heads and regional offices of the Ministry of Religious Affairs to determine face-to-face learning in their own regions. The policy will take effect in the even semester of the 2020/2021 school year or starting January 2021. Thereby, he asks schools to well prepare for it. This was stated by Minister Nadiem Makarim in the Announcement of the Implementation of Even Semester Learning for the 2020/2021 Academic Year during the Covid-19 Pandemic, Friday (20/11). He also said that the granting of this permit could be simultaneous or gradual, depending on the readiness of each region. The announcement was based on the joint decision of 4 ministers, namely the Minister of Health, the Minister of Education and Culture, the Minister of Religion and the Minister of Home Affairs.
The announcement of the Minister of Education and Culture may be a relief for students and parents of students, especially those living in remote areas. Studying online during the restrictions due to the Covid-19 Pandemic is a challenge for them. The internet signal is not good, the inability to buy a device as the main tool for learning from home and the lack of the ability of parents to accompany their children while studying are obstacles. Besides, the children are getting bored at home.
The teachers also undergo the obstacles. Even though teachers and students get credit and free Wi-Fi assistance from the government for long distance learning, without devices that are still relatively expensive, it is difficult for teachers to reach their students. It is often reported in the media that teachers are willing to walk farther to reach their underprivileged students so that they can study face-to-face, because students do not have devices.
However, the announcement of starting face-to-face learning is also greeted with concern among educators, epidemiologists and parents of students. The reason is that the pandemic is still ongoing in Indonesia and there are no signs of the transmission rate decreasing.
The government has determined that face-to-face learning starting in 2021 must be based on considerations by paying attention to facts in the field. Now, it remains what the government takes to support this decision. The central government can assist regional governments to ensure adequate infrastructure in implementing health protocols in schools. Before the school opens, surely the environment is clean; there are facilities for running water and soap for frequent hand washing. Close supervision of wearing masks and maintaining distance must also be applied.
The year 2021 is approaching closely, while the pandemic has yet to show a decline, and face-to-face learning is not necessarily 100 percent possible. The regional governments could consider conducting fifty-percent face-to-face and and 50% online learning. The important thing is that children's education is not left behind and health protocols can still be applied.