Tuition schools in Brunei are downsizing their classes as they try to sustain operations through online learning.
As Brunei once again enters a state of semi-lockdown due to the resurgence of COVID-19, tuition centres are buckling up as they are forced to shutter their classrooms and go online, losing a great number of students along the way.
The Bruneian had a chance to interview a number of tuition centres and as any industry affected by the semi-lockdown, the centres have lamented the loss of business and are trying their best to cope with the sudden shift to online learning.
As Brunei continues to see new positive cases reported daily, tuition centres are only offering their services for students that are in Year 6 and above, opting to stop lower primary classes to focus on older students that are going through major exams this year.
Tuition centres are now resorting to applications such as Microsoft Teams, Google Meet and WhatsApp Video to deliver teaching materials to their students.
Rosezalinah Mohamad, the owner of Firose Tuition School shared that they had to stop classes for Year 5 students and under, which poses a problem for the business as they still have rent to pay.
Regardless of the obtacles, the show must go on for many of these centres, each having to adopt slightly different methods to ensure that their online classes are highly effective for their students.
For Firose Tuition School, Rosezalinah has committed to monitor the group chat of each class to ensure that the lessons are received well however she acknowledge the numerous setbacks of online learning, believing it to be less effective than face-to-face learning.
What has proven to be a major issue is the lack of access of some students to devices or lack of access to sufficient data, she added.
A representative from Edu Champ Academic (ECA) Tuition school shared this sentiment, as the mentioned how in-class engagement may not be as effective as physical classes due to internet connection.
“The main challenge is the lack of resources, either wifi connection or electronic gadgets. Most students do possess mobile phones but not all could afford access to the internet, which is understandable for two reasons, one being differences in socioeconomic background and second is connectivity inconsistency,” said the teacher from ECA Tuition.
This issue, they added, often disrupts the flow of learning for their students, however ECA Tuition believed that the transfer of knowledge can still be effective with proper guidance, adding that a number of students are responding positively to the online classes.
“My students are okay with the online classes. Some of them had problems accessing the tools at first, but now they got the hang of it. I just need to share the work before the class and discuss the work during the class,” they added.
Though most of these tuition centres believed that face-to-face learning is much more effective, they also believed that the online classes are necessary, not only to ensure that their business continues to run but also to ultimately protect their students.
“It’s a huge blow obviously, but we’re all doing our part to provide the best for our students,” said director of My Verve Tuition Centre, MD Danial Wang MD Ziffery Wang, who has also lost a good number of his students.
The tuition centres have all shared that the pandemic has given them the time to look into how their administrative or teaching systems were organised and therefore are now able to sort them with new schedules and platforms.
They are also prioritising the safety of their students and staff, ensuring that they stay safe during this pandemic and with this being the second wave, they are more prepared and are ready to explore other methods of teaching.
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN