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Three Strategies to Face Pandemic Challenges.

The global Covid-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the world of education. The global education industry is facing its biggest challenge in the last 100: the Covid-19 pandemic.

The same impact was felt by the SIS (Singapore Intercultural Schools) Group of Schools which just opened SIS Myanmar in September 2020 and following ASIS Chennai (India).

Anticipating this, Indonesia’s regional SIS Group of Schools has taken a number of adaptive steps by carrying out a number of digital-based learning transformations.

“There is no doubt that the use of technology in the delivery of pedagogy will still exist even though we have come out of the pandemic,” said Alvin Hew, Board Director of SIS Group who is also Managing Director of SIS Group through an official release (15/12/2020).

Alvin explained that there are at least 3 keys to the success of SIS in facing the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, including; transformation of learning to digital media, collaborative Distance Learning models with parents and special attention to teachers / teachers.

1. Digital learning transformation

“With innovation as its core value, SIS admins and teaching staff had been using Zoom and Google for several years before the Covid-19 pandemic forced the government to close schools,” explained Alvin.

Initially, they conducted surveys and interviews with parents and students to discuss potential technological challenges.

This was carried out in conjunction with several regular meetings regarding pandemic prevention plans which were all carried out through Zoom.

Using guidelines from WHO and CDC, Alvin revealed that his party prepared a 7-Point Covid-19 Response Plan in anticipation of the closure of schools by the government before the closure actually occurred.

“This means that when schools are closed by the government in March 2020, SIS teaching staff, students, and parents have been prepared as closely as possible for the Distance Learning model,” he said.

He added, “that’s why we are now actively studying the use of virtual reality as a way for us to teach and do things at SIS”.

2. Collaboration between distance learning and parents

On the same occasion, Andrew Paterson, Director of SIS South Jakarta and SIS Kelapa Gading Jakarta conveyed that an important element of the success of SIS’s Distance Learning model is the ability to listen to parents.

“We started by conducting a survey to parents. We did this to find potential obstacles before schools were closed,” said Andrew.

“That way we can be better prepared than other schools that have not made preparations,” he added.

Andrew said that his party is trying to find various potential challenges faced by parents and students when learning online from home. “Then when the school was closed, we already had steps to anticipate this challenge,” he explained. Andrew also revealed that a parent survey conducted by the SIS Group showed 93 percent of parents felt “satisfied” to “very satisfied,” and found the PJJ model to be well organized and easy to follow.

3. Special attention to teachers

“The teaching staff is the secret of a great school,” says Alvin Hew, “so it is important that we make extra efforts to pay attention to this very important part of our community.”

Alvin explained that the school that implements 3 international curricula on the Singapore Curriculum, the International General School Certificate of Education (IGSCE), and the International Baccalaureate (IB) employs hundreds of foreign teaching staff with various expertise.

Many of them are single and live alone. From the start, SIS leaders were well aware that isolation and being away from home was a threat to their mental health.

“To overcome this, the SIS Group provides them with free access to professional counseling staff, movie streaming subscriptions, as well as routine online non-formal meeting sessions. This is all to safeguard their welfare,” said Alvin.

Alvin also said that when the SIS Group of Schools was still developing its existence in Indonesia, as well as expanding the reach of its schools from Jakarta to other parts of the islands of Java and Sumatra.

In partnership with the International Finance Corporation (World Bank), Alvin said that SIS has scheduled the opening of several schools in Indonesia in the next few years, including in Sulawesi and Kalimantan.

Currently SIS Group of Schools has eight school networks throughout Indonesia including; SIS South Jakarta, SIS Pantai Indah Kapuk (Jakarta), SIS Kelapa Gading (Jakarta), SIS Cilegon (West Java), SIS Semarang (Central Java), SIS Palembang (South Sumatra), SIS Medan (North Sumatra) and RICS Kebon Jeruk (Jakarta).