KUCHING, Dec 20  — Teachers in the country should be given priority as COVID-19 vaccine recipients after frontliners.

Sarawak Teachers’ Union (STU) president Adam Parkash Abdullah said this is in line with the recommendation of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) that teachers be given priority to obtain the vaccine, once available.

“Teachers should be given priority after frontliners as recommended by the UNICEF due to their risk of getting infected by COVID-19,” he told reporters after the STU’s 25th biennial delegates conference here today.

Meanwhile, Adam urged the relevant authorities to expand high-speed internet access to all schools in Sarawak and provide internet data allowance to teachers to assist them in conducting online classes.

He said the issues of poor network coverage, internet costs and device affordability among students were still very significant in the sate.

“Some teachers have to use their own mobile data (to conduct online classes) which can be very costly,” he added.

Adam said STU also suggested that more Sarawakian teachers be trained as religious teachers through the Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PDPP) programme.

He said this is to overcome the shortage of religious teachers in the state when teachers from the peninsula get transferred to their state of choice.

The union also called for more schools to be built in Bintulu to meet the growing demand in the district.

Currently, there are 25 primary schools, six secondary schools and one vocational college in Bintulu.

At the conference, a memorandum of understanding was signed between STU and Swinburne University Of Technology (Swinburne), Sarawak campus that will enable members of the union to further their studies in Master of Arts (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages – Tesol) at the university.

STU was represented by Adam while Swinburne Sarawak was represented by its chief executive officer Prof Wallace Wong Shung Hui.


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