Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology expressed support for government measures to vaccinate school pupils aged 6-11 to encourage the reopening of schools nationwide.

"We always support government measures to control the COVID-19 pandemic, including the decision to expand the scope of COVID-19 vaccine recipients," the ministry's Cooperation and Public Relations Bureau acting head, Anang Ristanto, told ANTARA in Jakarta on Saturday.

Earlier vaccination drives, aimed at teachers and school pupils aged 12-18, have become the main factor while deciding to reopen schools for limited offline activities, as the health of teachers and pupils was assured despite health protocols remaining a necessary feature at the reopened schools.

"The government continues to evaluate school activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the implementation of a distance learning system that is less effective than offline face-to-face school activities," Ristanto noted.

If implementation of the distance learning system is extended, pupils are more prone to learning loss, as online learning is less effective for pupils, particularly for those with economic or internet connection issues, the acting bureau head remarked.

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"Prolonged implementation of distance learning would harm the social and psychological development of the pupils as well as be disadvantageous for the parents and teachers," Ristanto noted.

The authority will conduct a routine evaluation of the implementation of limited offline school activities, and the regional government will assist in the monitoring process, the ministry's official stated.

Offline school activities will be suspended if COVID-19 cases are detected at schools, and school activities will revert to online classes during the period as a precautionary measure to ensure the health and safety of pupils and teachers, he added.

"The joint ministry's regulation also obligated school administrators to fill a checklist and ensure all criteria had been fulfilled before being allowed to reopen their school," Ristanto remarked.

Meanwhile, the government will proceed with the reopening of schools as preparation before designating the COVID-19 pandemic as an endemic situation, he noted.

"We continue to observe developments pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic to adapt and adjust the learning methods in line with the pandemic situation," the acting bureau head stated.
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Translator: Sanya Dinda S, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Suharto
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