Education | No official date for school resumption, but sources point to March 16

The neighboring region of Hong Kong yesterday extended its school closure until the end of the Easter break. This was confirmed by the Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung, who said that classes at all kindergartens, primary and secondary schools would continue to be suspended until April 20 at the earliest.
In Macau, the situation seems to be quite different. As government services and private entities like banks, shops, and other services begin their return to full operation, it is unlikely that the class suspension will be carried on for much longer.
The Times has learned that teachers and other school staff members have identified March 16 as the likely date for school activities to resume, with several people in the sector confiding that March 16 is, for the time being, the only date that has been suggested as the potential date of return to classes.
One of these professionals told the Times under the condition of anonymity that according to their knowledge, the idea of March 16 being the potential date for school activities to resume might have been based on the previous date announced earlier this month in Hong Kong. At the time, the Hong Kong Education Bureau extended existing class suspensions at all kindergartens and schools from March 2 for another two more weeks and until March 16.
However, local government and education and health authorities have refused to confirm a date to end of the school suspension period.
On Monday, lawmaker and chairman of the Follow-up Committee of Public Administration Affairs, Si Ka Lon, informed the media that the government had promised to give at least two weeks’ notice regarding the reopening of schools so that schools, teachers, parents and children could make the necessary preparations. That implies schools in the Macau SAR will not reopen before mid-March.
Earlier this month, the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Elsie Ao Ieong U also informed during the daily press conference that the health authorities were working on the guidelines to be followed for the reopening of both the casinos and schools, giving a clear sign that the reopening of the academic institutions would not be postponed for long.
A week later, the government decided that the conditions to reopen the gaming floors had been met, leading to their reopening on February 20.
Previously, Teresa Vong, an associate professor of the University of Macau’s Faculty of Education, told the Times that the suspension of formal learning, although it may carry some consequences, in general terms and as long as it is not too long, should not cause any significant difference in terms of the overall academic performance of students.
The scholar also noted that the measures enforced by the government to keep the students on the “learning path” through online activities and e-learning has proven inefficient as a large proportion of the teaching staff have not received proper training and struggle to use these tools effectively.

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