A Message of UTM’s Purpose and Hope Related to the Official Announcement on UTM Teaching and Learning Activities for Semester 2, Session 2019/2020 during the COVID-19 Crisis

From the Article of Prof Ir Zainuddin Abdul Manan
Translated by UTM Language Academy

Sometimes God hides the sun. He brings the storm and thunder. We cry and wonder where the sun has disappeared, only to realise that God wants to grant us a rainbow.

“UTM shall stand strong, shoulder to shoulder, and march forth to strive with all our might to confront and overcome the storm and adversities, in prospering the future of those whose lives we touch, in the name of God, and for the well-being of our community and mankind.”

Assalamualaikum and Salam Sejahtera to UTM community in Malaysia and around the world. I pray that all of us are in the best of health, and are coping well during this challenging time.

As the officer in charge of the UTM Academic Affairs and a representative of the UTM management, allow me, Professor Zainuddin Abdul Manan, to communicate the purpose and intention of the UTM Senate’s decision regarding the Teaching and Learning Activities during the COVID 19 crisis.

UTM Senate’s Decision on 2nd April 2020

Taking into consideration the views fof students, staff, parents, government and professional bodies representing various industries, the UTM Senate meeting on 2nd April 2020 has upheld its 25th March 2020 decision for teaching and learning (T&L) activities to begin on 1st April 2020 for the second session of Semester 2. The UTM Senate has also agreed for UTM to continue T&L activities remotely and online throughout the semester, in line with its decision on 25th March 2020.

In addition, UTM Senate has instructed for the Semester 2 to be extended by 4-weeks to allow UTM community to conduct T&L activities while managing numerous challenges amidst the Covid 19 crisis. The starting date of Semester 2 remains on 1st April as previously decided, and will end on 24 July 2020.

For further information on academic management for Semester 2 Session 2019/2020, please visit

Teaching and Learning Activities for Semester II, 2019/2020

 

UTM Prefers Flexibility, and the Least-Risk Option for All

Dear respected UTM community,

1. By practising online and remote T&L and by adding four extra weeks to the current semester, UTM has chosen the most flexible and the least-risk option for the benefit of UTM community.
2. UTM strongly believes that the use of online and remote T&L approach from 1 April to the end of Semester 2 will help us comply with the current and future Movement Control Order (MCO) issued by the government. At the same time, we will be able to ensure sustainability and prevent any disruptions to our T&L activities.
3. UTM also believes that the online T&L method will eliminate the uncertainty associated with the COVID19 crisis that no one could guarantee when it will end.

4. In order to ease the burden of UTM community in implementing remote and online T&L, UTM has approved a 4-week extension to the regular semester without increasing the overall T&L workload. UTM believes that the extended period will help provide lecturers and students the much needed flexibility to complete T&L activities while managing various work and study challenges during the COVID19 crisis.
5. UTM has also agreed to allow restricted and planned face-to-face T&L activities to resume in a controlled manner once the situation improves and COVID crisis has ended.

UTM Chose an Inclusive Option for Its Community

Dear respected UTM community,

6. Commencing as early as 1 April and granting a 4-week T&L extension, we believe that this will provide an inclusive solution to UTM community across the world.
7. UTM understands that some staff and students are still new to online learning and need time to familiarize themselves with this method.
8. UTM also acknowledges that some staff members are experiencing challenging days working from home while taking care of their children and families. They, therefore, need some time to prepare for classes, while learning T&L online.
9. UTM duly recognises the challenges faced by students who might have limited internet access, who lack facilities and conducive environment to study at home, apart from struggling to learn to use online T&L.

10. UTM also hears the appeals from our final year students who wish to graduate on time and proceed to secure employment to support themselves and their families. They do not wish their parents to be burdened with the cost of their education, and therefore express their strong wish for classes to proceed through online methods.

11. UTM cares, and has always been concerned about the needs of many of our international students who had to return home, and are now in their respective countries, not knowing when they could return to Malaysia. For our international students abroad, studying online is the only way for them to continue their studies.
12. UTM truly appreciates “the silent majority” from among our lecturers who have gone to great lengths to equip themselves with T&L preparations from the beginning, including to trace every single one of their students in the effort to attend their students’ challenges.

UTM Academic Frontliners, The UTM DNA Personified

13. Together with the support staff, they are indeed “UTM academic front-liners”, who have exerted all efforts to equip themselves with various online T&L methods, to remove all excuses and look for all possible means to manage challenges in an attempt to cater for the needs among the students.
14. With unparalled resilience and dedication, the UTM academic frontliners have explored all options and made the necessary preparations to find the most appropriate method in ensuring that no students are left behind in T&L.
15. They belong to the majority of our lecturers who volunteerd to start class the soonest possible because they know that they will have limited time in managing various emerging issues and challenges with their students when implementing remote T&L which needs more effort and preparation time.
16. These lecturers and support staff are our idols because they are like candles that burn themselves to illuminate others, and the rainbow that emerges after a storm. They are the symbol of educators (mudarris), the truth messenger (mualim), the nurturer and educator with love (murabbi), the moulder of ethics and manners (muaddib) as well as leader to the right path (mursyid).
17. UTM listens to the silent majority from lecturers and students who are prepared to do the necessary to activate and implement online and remote learning. UTM has been doing its all to provide assitance and support for lecturers and students who are less prepared to implement online T&L.

How we Could ALL Benefit from the Flexibility Provided by UTM

18. With the semester commencing as early as 1 April and the 4 weeks extension granted by UTM, it is hoped that these allocations are utilised wisely by UTM staff so that none of our students will be left behind no matter where they are around the world.
19. You can begin to “cold start” if your students, or you as lecturers are beginners in online teaching and learning.
20. You can spend reasonable to manage all the challenges that you and your students might face during the semester.
21. I humbly appeal to you to use the allocated time wisely because you never know when you might need the “injury time” at the end of the semester to manage unforeseen circumstances involving yourself or your students.
Dear Respected UTM Lecturers and Students,
22. Some may not realise that, when you start early, you are giving the opportunity for students to graduate on time to enable them to fulfill their ambitions and realise the dreams and the hopes of their families.
23. Additionally, with an early start, you will have time later to concentrate on students who lack access internet access and conducive environment to study at home, by allowing them to return to UTM once the situation is back to normal.

24. When situation permits, UTM plans to assist this group of students to follow replacement lectures either through face-to-face or recorded lectures at UTM with the help and special supervision of their lecturers.

The Rainbow After the Storm

Ladies and gentlemen, and respected people of UTM.

Remember,

Sometimes God hides the sun. He brings the storm and thunder. We cry and wonder where the sun has disappeared, only to realise that God wants to grant us a rainbow.

Let us work hand in hand, stand shoulder to shoulder, and march forth to strive with all our might to confront and overcome the storm and adversities, in prospering the future of those whose lives we touch, in the name of God, and for the well-being of our community and mankind.

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy and Stay Positive.