The ministry said students who are involved in research activities that require the use of laboratory facilities and special equipment must first obtain a letter of permission to enter and exit campus grounds. — Reuters pic
The ministry said students who are involved in research activities that require the use of laboratory facilities and special equipment must first obtain a letter of permission to enter and exit campus grounds. — Reuters pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, June 1 — The Higher Education Ministry has decided to conditionally allow research-related activities to continue in higher education institution (HEI) campuses during the “total lockdown” period.

The Star reported that such activities will only be allowed under standard operating procedures (SOP) along with special permission issued by the university’s respective department heads.

The ministry said that students residing in accommodations off-campus who are involved in research activities that require the use of laboratory facilities and special equipment must first obtain a letter of permission from their HEI to enter and exit the campus grounds.

It added that research activities should only be done if absolutely necessary, and on a solo basis.

Those due to sit for international examinations as well as members of professional bodies will be allowed on-campus, per the SOPs.

All teaching and learning activities (PdP) are to be done online for all students, both on and off campus. Other student activities including co-curricular, club and society activities that involve face-to-face contact and group participation will not be allowed, and must be conducted virtually for the time being.

The ministry also said all academic and non-academic staff must work from home, but permitted 20 per cent of staff to be present in the office for work that cannot be done from home on a rotational basis and for a maximum of four hours.

“Academic and non-academic staff are not allowed to be in the office except for necessary services and need to have an official letter from their respective HEI and employee passes.

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“Students at home must delay their return to the campus while students on campus must remain there, and are only allowed out with the permission of the HEI management in compliance with SOPs,” it said in a statement.

The latest directive has been welcomed by Association of Private Educational Institutions president Assoc Prof Elajsolan Mohan, as it was formulated after consultation with HEIs.

Association of Private Educational Institutions president Assoc Prof Elajsolan Mohan welcomed the ministry’s SOP which was formulated after consulting HEIs, but added it is preferable if more than 20 per cent of an institution’s staff can be allowed on campus.

“This is mainly to take care of all the facilities, maintenance and student accommodation, apart from staff to manage IT facilities meant for PdP,” he said.

Similarly Sunway Education Group chief executive officer Prof Elizabeth Lee instructed the group’s heads of institutions that there will be no face-to-face PdP, including practicals during the full lockdown.

She said only staff and students who are required to use the facilities, equipment or WiFi to support their research, teaching, learning and work will be permitted on campus.





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