Pandemic has made shifts in several sectors, including education. Since the pandemic, the education system in almost all the world, including Indonesia, has shifted into an online learning system. However, some parties assessed that the face-to-face learning system is better than the online one. The Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia has targeted re-implementing face-to-face learning systems later in June 2021. This target then becomes homework for stakeholders in the regions. According to UGM Public Policy Expert Agustinus Subarsono, M.Si., MA., Ph.D., there should be thorough and meticulous preparation throughout this face-to-face learning implementation because the online learning system during this time has brought students into boredom.
"They are bored because normally as a social being, people need to talk, they need to meet, to socialize. So, basically, they do not only go to school and study, but they also interact with their friends," he said at UGM Faculty of Political and Sciences on Tuesday (22/3).
He also said that face-to-face learning is much better than online one because it has more benefits than online learning. Students could be more focused on developing themselves. "Whatever the strategy is, a face-to-face learning system is more effective than the online one. But since the pandemic has hit, online learning is the best solution offered so far rather than there's no learning activity at all," he said.
Regarding the implementation for face-to-face learning in June, some points need to be concerned. First, face-to-face learning during a pandemic must be different from the pra-pandemic condition. Schools must reset their class capacity. In the middle of the pandemic, the class must only cover for 1/3 or 1/2 from the students' total. Therefore, schools should be ready to prepare it.
"However, if schools do not have enough space or room, they can use other strategies, for instance, implementing shifts learning. In a week, students have to shift for three days face-to-face learning and three days study from home," he explained.
Besides, the study duration should also be a concern. In a pra pandemic, if the duration of the study starts from 7.30-13.00, the later face-to-face implementation should only be until 11.30.
"The duration, if previously schools have 40-45 minutes for one subject, should reduce into 30 minutes because teachers also have struggles in maintaining interaction between students in schools," he added.
Regarding the vaccine, it is precise that the government has made a plot on setting priorities for people to be vaccinated. However, since the regional government got the vaccine administered from the central, they should recount or re-estimate their vaccine distribution needs and make sure it covers students in each district or city.
"Concerning vaccines, I have no idea about the medical considerations, whether children should be vaccinated immediately and how the transmission probability. From what I knew so far, his government had plotted the society target," he explained. Subarsono also explained that limiting mobility and keeping physical distance should still be implemented. Thus, he recommended that students are better bring their food from home. Moreover, parents role are also engaged within this learning shift, they should ensure the students not stop by, they should come back directly to the home,
"Parents should control their kids in managing the time. When they leave and when they're back. That's safer to make sure that they come home on time," he added.
Subarsono revealed that the implementation of face-to-face learning could be done step by step. In the first two months (July-August), the implementation might still be on shifts or mixed learning online and face-to-face. But later, in September-October, all students can be wholly face-to-face learning.
"I suppose there's probably a transmission as if there is a stable improvement. If a student or a teacher is infected, it might go back to online learning," he explained.
Not to mention health protocols, before coming to class, students should wash their hands and require them to implement other health protocols. Besides, before this face-to-face learning is implemented, the Education Department should inspect and monitor schools and their roles.
"To the Education Department, there should be a collaboration with headmasters to discuss this implementation concretely. Not only just proclaimed but how to implement it? The headmasters may already be asked to record the existing space's capacity and the number of students and do the simulation better. Each school is currently must be waiting for guidance for face-to-face learning activities later," he said.
Head of Center for Public Mental Health (CPMH) Faculty of Psychology UGM, Dr. Diana Setiawati, revealed that the most vulnerable impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic are actually preschool and high school-age children. Preschool children are currently at the golden age because, in one year, those who can not read should be able to read as they should walk, speak, and read.
On the other hand, middle and high school-age children are in the period of self-identity building. This self-identity is usually explored through social methods, organizational life, friendship influences, and others. Mainly for high school students, it is a period where they should plan their future, where they would go after this, and so on.
"Indeed, these middle and high school children seem to miss this period of opportunity. Hence, in the middle of this situation, the family plays a very important role in this challenge," she said.
Even though they do not miss it, meaning they still can discover it through social media, it is more prone to malfunction because of overusing applications or games.
Diana admitted that social media could be a medium to socialize, but it should be used wisely and proportionally. Hence, guidance is necessary.
"Online learning can result in multi meanings. Positively, they can become independent learners because learning does not have to be told. For instance, they can learn many languages and others independently. It works if you are smart to take advantage of this opportunity," he explained.
Author : Agung Nugroho
Photo : Firsto
Translator: Natasa A