Schools must be led by flexible, adaptable and innovative leaders

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KUALA LUMPUR: Schools must be led by resilient leaders who are flexible, adaptable and innovative in tackling challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic to the education sector.

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Senior Education Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin today commended teachers and school administrators in the country for being creative in delivering education, both online and offline.

“One of the challenges that tested the mettle of resilient leaders during the pandemic is the broad implementation of distant learning.

“Our leaders had to ensure teachers received immediate training in online learning strategies that include customising content, both physical and digital, as well as updated pedagogical methods.

“They also had to familiarise themselves with the full suite of Google, Microsoft and other applications which might have been foreign to them before.

“Teachers had to take the initiative in setting up online platforms and upgrading devices for smooth transmission.

“They had to adapt to wholesale changes to methods of teaching and facilitate new ways to transfer knowledge,” he said during his opening speech at the 2nd International Conference on Educational Leadership and Management 2021(2nd ICELAM 2021) today.

The conference, themed “Resilient Leadership in the New Normal of Education” was organised by Institut Aminuddin Baki.

Another challenge, Radzi said, was to ensure students were not left behind during online learning.

“Some students’ willingness to ask questions is thought to be hampered in online learning, and those who are unable to keep up with the pace of discussion risk feeling excluded and losing confidence.

“This is where resilient leaders can help find ways to get student feedback on their learning experience, and customise the delivery through both physical and online methods,” he said.

School leaders, he said, must also formulate ways to uplift students’ motivation in their studies while they are out of classrooms.

Besides online learning, Radzi said the implementation of home-based teaching and learning (PdPR) also includes offline and off-site learning approaches.

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“Offline teaching aids could be designed to suit the needs of teachers and children at schools, considering their constraints, such as preparing materials to be delivered to students or picked up by parents at schools.

“Meanwhile, off-site learning involves teachers going to a rural community and delivering teaching materials to the students.

“We are aware that some schools or students in rural areas lack internet connectivity.

“So, as an alternative, the Ministry of Education has also introduced dedicated educational TV channels, DidikTV KPM, as well as educational TV programmes through TV Okey RTM and Tutor TV Astro.

“The channels and programmes have received good feedback from parents and students.

“The Education Ministry has also prepared Digital Educational Learning Initiative Malaysia (DELIMa) which offers a variety of educational resources.

“It is hoped that all these initiatives benefited the students in assisting their learning process,” he said.

Radzi also said that resilient leaders will grab the opportunity to grow and adapt as the country enters the recovery phase.

“Resilient leaders begin by imagining what success would look like once the recovery phase is complete.

“Leaders can develop more aggressive and imaginative plans by defining the goals first and working backwards,” he said.

Schools, he said, must be confident in their structure and operations so they remain agile to shift policy restrictions in a moment’s notice while also monitoring the long-term success of students.

“The government and education stakeholders need to continue collaborating to ensure students continue to learn and thrive,” he added. -NST