CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE NEW NORMAL OF EDUCATION
Year 2020 can be considered as a disaster for all of us as we are being introduced with a new virus that cause a global pandemic which also leads to health and economic crisis. Even worse, Malaysian are also facing a political crisis with “Langkah Sheraton” move and several major political events. All those things that happens lead to a new normal including education which is the principal of human development for a country.
Despite we are facing new year last week, we are being shocked by another major event which are big flood covering Johore, Pahang, Terengganu, and Kelantan. Is this a results of climate change in Malaysia? The last time all those places were covered with flood is more than 10 years ago. With the new normal education, many universities student are studying at their own house as the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) taking a last-minute decision for the student to come back their home. The question is, how many students are affected with this climate change?
According to IIUM Student Union report on wellbeing of students during climate change, there are at least 19.6% of the students are badly affected with floods. Furthermore, 10% of the students surely need academic assistance and welfare as new normal education surely need to have a working device and internet. What is the solution for this issue? Currently, most of the universities are having their final week where surely student will be flooded by assignment, test and even exams. How could we working together to help them and to make sure that no one is being left behind in term of their education?
Several things can be done by many parties including the government, universities, Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs). MoHE as the primary government entity that has the responsibility to take care the welfare of higher education students should at least start with collecting data at the national level to look on the general impact of flood to the university’s student. Government cannot only depend on universities data as their sample are quite small and can’t give an accurate data for government to form an action to tackle this issue.
Second, data at universities’ level should also being collected as being made by IIUM Student Union to have some clear picture for the management to help them especially in term of academic arrangement. Universities can change the assessment system or give them a postponement of examination to make sure they are not wasting their one new normal semester just because of the flood.
Third, NGOs as a free entity can help financially to fulfill their basic needs first and to replace their broken devices or supply internet at the flood evacuation center to help them having the access to internet to join a class meeting, exams, or other related issue. If their necessity is not being fulfilled yet, better to help them in term of basic things first before moving to the education issue.
In brief, new normal of education can be a nightmare for people that affected with the flood. All of us should think something to help them and to make sure they are not being left behind. MoHE need to act fast on this issue as this is a crucial and serious issue to make sure they can survive both their life and education.
AHMAD YUSRI MOHD YUSOFF
PUBLIC RELATIONS AND ADVOCACY,
IIUM STUDENT UNION.