Some parents are urging the Education Ministry (MOE) to revert the academic year to January instead of the current arrangement that starts in March, as it would be more convenient for parents to plan and keep track of their children’s education.
Speaking to The Star, Christine Koh, mother to three primary school children, said the current arrangement disrupts family plans such as school preparations and year-end family trips.
“It will be good to adjust the school session back to January. If possible, let’s not wait until 2026 as announced,” she said.
Another parent, Mohd Zahid Zulfiqar said that reverting the academic year to January will provide longer school holidays for students.
“Families can then spend more time together,” he said.
Earlier, the Education Ministry said it would postpone the suggestion to revert the academic calendar back to January as they are still considering the potential impacts.
However, the ministry said it could be done by gradually shortening the school holidays from 2023 until 2026.
In 2020, school operations were disrupted when the country was facing the Covid-19 pandemic. This caused the conventional academic year to be pushed to March instead of January.
Current academic year dividend into groups
Meanwhile, the ministry also announced that the academic calendar for the 2023/2024 school session will be from 19 March 2023, to 9 March 2024, for Group A, and from 20 March 2023, to 10 March 2024, for Group B.
Group A comprises Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu while Selangor, Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Penang, Sabah, Sarawak and the three Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya are listed under Group B.
On the other hand, Parent Action Group for Education chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim urged the ministry to address the issue of measuring the standards of students following learning loss due to the pandemic.
“What is crucial is not when the new academic year should begin but whether the students have met standards, benchmarks and targets in order for them to be elevated.”
“Since returning to face-to-face learning, students have been assessed individually to determine their levels. The question is whether these assessments were considered as teachers began to re-teach or is it merely to appease parents?” she said.