Gov’t to roll out digital education platform in Sept

An e-learning platform will be officially available to all foundational education entities from September. The Education and Youth Affairs Bureau (DSEJ) is reviewing proposals it has received to date.
The news was disclosed after a plenary meeting of the Non-tertiary Education Commission yesterday.
Once decided, the platform will be available to all students, teachers and parents of foundational education levels. Two functions will be provided in the upcoming school year, including mass communication channels to foster real-time understanding of stakeholders’ circumstances, as well as an e-teaching function that is an e-classroom.
Although the education bureau is likely to purchase the service, schools have discretion as to whether they will use it. The education regulator stressed that it will be a platform accessible in mainland China because several thousand local students, besides teachers, reside in the mainland.
A total of five companies have submitted proposals to provide education services on the e-learning platform. The education regulator revealed that two of them are locally owned companies; another two are mainland-based with offices in Macau. The remaining one is a global enterprise bidding in the name of its Macau office. The preliminary budget is “several million patacas.”
The education commission also discussed the reinstated three-tier rainstorm warning system during the meeting. The system was canceled in 2004 and replaced by a single “on or off” warning system.
Under the reinstated system that will take effect from September 1, schools will be suspended mandatorily when rainfall reaches 50mm per hour, which will trigger the Red warning. When it reaches 80mm of rainfall per hour, the Black warning will be issued.
The lowest level, which is signaled by the Yellow warning, implies minor inconvenience. Schools will not be called off during a Yellow warning, but the education regulator asks schools to handle late-comers with flexibility and refrain from punishing students who arrive late.
Another topic covered in the meeting was on school resumption following the first two waves of Covid-19 outbreak in Macau. Students were forced to stop attending schools due to the disease after the Lunar New Year break.
Foundational education gradually resumed from May. The education regulator was pleased with the resumption and advised that more than 61,000 students have returned to their 68 respective schools for studies to date.
Out of the 61,000, there are about 3,000 cross-border students and 100 of them reside in Zhongshan, with the remaining in Zhuhai. Some of these cross-boundary students opted to stay in Macau due to the Covid-19 pandemic, leaving about 2,000 crossing the border every day.
However, someone who presented himself as “a student from a school on Avenida da Vitória” wrote to local media outlet Macau Concealers to complain about being given eight tests in two days right after the resumption of school.
The writer pointed out that it is against the guidelines issued by the educational regulator, in which academic assessments were to be lightly implemented and flexible. The writer also complained about not having enough time to prepare for the tests.
In response, the education regulator admitted that it has received some complaints from parents with regards to tight schedules, excessive assessments and other pedagogical problems.
It has “conducted communications with the concerned schools and discovered that it was a problem of miscommunication.” According to the DSEJ, schools have aligned with the guidelines and promised to make necessary adjustments where deviations exist.
As kindergartens will not resume this academic year, they have been communicating with the education regulator regarding possible resumption in September. Judging from the current situation, the bureau is confident that kindergartens can resume as planned, although decisions may vary depending on the actual situation.

Categories Macau