DR. NG SOO BOON
Human society has faced many devastating challenges since civilization began, but the recent Covid-19 pandemic brings out a different level of global catastrophic thinking, a feeling of doom, negativity, helplessness but at the same time ‘couldn’t care less’ looms large and divided the society. Besides the display of the ‘cold’ truth of increasing daily records of many deaths, this pandemic has revealed the vulnerability of our traditional ways of dealing with education, economy, healthcare, infrastructure, facilities, and many more. Nations are forced to consider remote learning where students, educators, and resources are no more physically present in a traditional classroom environment. Synchronous and Asynchronous technology-assisted learning is still hastily put together in many places to enable remote learning as physical distancing is necessary to curb the spread of the pandemic. Two issues that need to be tackled are the implementation of the current existing curriculum and designing the future curriculum. An online survey with both close and open-ended questions on the challenges and suggestions of improvement for remote learning (as the designated curriculum implementation method during a pandemic) was conducted in Malaysia where questionnaires were sent randomly to students and teachers (including lecturers) of all levels. Interviews were conducted on a number of teachers and students. The findings of this survey will be presented in this paper. It revealed a difference in how students and teachers view remote learning. However, a longer-term and far-sighted planning need to be in place for curriculum design as human may face similar challenges over and over again. Remote learning has actually hastened the thinking of personalizing education and democratizing learning which has been debated since the beginning of this century. This paper will include some suggestions to rethink curriculum design, pedagogy, issues of equity of education to continue our quest for Education for All.