Mr Hii King Kai, Principal of Methodist Pilley Institute pointed out that there are still uncertainties on further developments of the pandemic. To ensure health and safety of lecturers, students and staff, the institute’s online lessons will carry on until August. He said that before the vaccine is developed, the risks are still there, that is why it is not safe to return to the classroom for face-to-face learning even after the MCO is lifted. The institute will continue with online teaching to minimize physical mobility of the students and face-to-face contact. “Now there are a lot of asymptomatic cases. In case the students unfortunately take the virus home, family members, especially the elderly and children will be infected, so we must take precautions and be cautious.”
The campus is not open to the public during MCO and CMCO
Mr Hii said that during MCO, the basic office and administrative work of the institute are carried out as usual, especially for the implementation of e-learning and online teaching, which requires the support and supervision of personnel from relevant departments. In addition, basic administrative and document work are also handled by 3 to 5 people assigned to man the office. At present, the institute is still waiting for directives from the Ministry of Higher Education and the government. At this stage, students will continue with their lessons at home through the online learning platform, as the teaching of various courses is not affected. “It is an exam period from mid-April to May 6 and the exams are conducted in the online exam mode. In the past, lecturers in the Department of Computer Science were using online teaching and test mode, but this is the first time we are using the online mode for the final exam.”
Students actively engaged in online learning
Mr Hii King Kai said that the Department of early childhood education has started to use a hybrid method – online and face-to-face teaching method last year. Therefore, some students have mastered online lessons, but for most students, this is a new challenge. Since the government announced the implementation of the MCO starting on March 18th, students who are not familiar with online learning had one month to prepare for their online exams. From his observation, nowadays young people adapt to online learning fast. It is also found that compared with the learning in the classroom, the students joining online lessons are very active in asking questions and willing to share. “After implementing online teaching, the workload of lecturers has increased. Because some students do not understand how the online platforms work, lecturers must be patient to teach them in detail how to upload their reports and articles. They must also be creative in conducting the lessons, thus more time is spent on lesson preparations.” He said that in the classroom, lecturers and students can communicate directly by hearing their voices and seeing their expressions. However, to make online teaching and learning smoother, sometimes they will be asked to turn off the video function, thus they cannot see the expressions but only hear their voices.
The next intake of Diploma and professional programmes on 9 June
Mr Hii King Kai revealed that the diploma programmes and professional courses offered by the institute will commence on June 9th. Students in the new semester will join online lessons without knowing each other or be familiar with each other. He pointed out that the Institute’s bachelor’s degree program in cooperation with other university partners started on May 5th, and May is the semester with the bigger number of new students. They do not have online learning experience at all. On the contrary, current students have online learning experience acquired during MCO. Methodist Pilley Institute has also organized the course” Mastering the Basics of Online Learning “to allow college lecturers to share with the secondary-school leavers on how to use the Moodle, Google Classroom, ZOOM online learning platform. At present, many secondary school graduates are unfamiliar with the application of various online learning platforms, and they are troubled by online learning and have anxiety of pursuing tertiary education. Through this event, Methodist Pilley Institute has prepared them for learning online.”
To ease the financial burden of parents and allow tuition fees to be paid by deferment.
Mr Hii King Kai said that the impact of corona virus in 2019 is far beyond our expectations, and even brings a profound chain reactions. Take the tertiary education as an example. When parents’ incomes are affected, their children’s education plans are also affected. “The new semester is about to begin, but when the family incomes are unstable, they would think twice before deciding for their children’s further studies. This also affects the student recruitment of most colleges and universities.”
Education at your hometown
Mr Hii King Kai pointed out that in the past, under the dream of “moving abroad”, the slogan “Located in Sibu” by the Methodist Pilley Institute gave a disadvantage to the institute. With the impact of the pandemic, studying close to home now has become an advantage for Methodist Pilley Institute. The critical factor is that the tuition fees are affordable and other expenses are low, thus parents do not need to worry about their children’s tuition fees and living expenses. “In order to help younger people realize the dreams of pursuing tertiary education, the board of management of Methodist Pilley Institute provides the service of paying tuition fees by various deferment. The institute will help ease the financial burden of parents and students, through study aids. “He said that in addition to applying for PTPTN loan, students can also apply for study loan from the Chinese Council of the Sarawak Chinese Year. Moreover, high achievers with excellent grades can also enjoy special discounts from scholastic awards and scholarship.
The construction and completion of new learning building delayed
Mr Hii King Kai revealed that the new building of the institute which was originally scheduled to be ready for use in mid-May, has been delayed due to the pandemic. The progress of the project was affected and delayed for a month and a half. “We have already ordered the furniture for the new learning building, but it is delayed due to MCO. At this moment, the new learning building is expected to be ready for use in July.
For secondary school graduates and parents who would like to enquire about the courses offered by Methodist Pilley Institute, please visit the official website www.pilley.edu.my for more information. For more information, please contact Mr. Bobo Wong (0138110323) for course counselling.