Another dot in the blogosphere?

Reactive vs preventive

Posted on: May 21, 2021

Background: Schools implemented home-based learning (HBL) on Wednesday, 19 May 2021, due to the spike in community cases of COVID-19 [MOE press release].

News report: Some students have trouble accessing online home-based learning portal on first day of HBL [ST article].

You could have written the headline and much of the news report in advance.

Here is an excerpt: 

…the Ministry of Education (MOE) said it is “aware of the slowdown of the Student Learning Space this morning”, as all primary, secondary, junior colleges and Millennia Institute moved into full Home Based Learning.

“We immediately activated additional system resources and as at 9.30 am, teachers have reported that the system is back on track,” it said.

The unofficial statements from parents who were interviewed indicated that their kids were not able to log on at all. Even those quotes could have been pre-written.

With practically all schools relying on the Student Learning System (SLS) for HBL, you might expect someone to anticipate a heavy and sustained load on the SLS.

We also have the benefit of hindsight. We also needed the SLS for the previous HBL as well as school e-learning days. But the intermittent access, slow down, or even lock outs still happened.


One reason might be the reactive mindset. Instead of adopting an anticipatory or preventive mindset, we seem to prefer the lazy reactive option. The latter is easier because this means we do not have to plan, prepare, and practice. 

Another reason might be the false sense of readiness. Do we have a content management system? Yes. Has it been vetted with an long checklist? Yes. Are we ready for the next HBL? Theoretically, yes.

Readiness is a state of being. If you meet criteria you define, you can be ready as you want. Preparedness is a state of mind. You will be looking for ways to improve and you will always be open to questions.

If someone felt ready, they might feel confident they have done all they can and stop there. They will need to react to something unexpected.

If someone is prepared, they are still thinking about issues and moving to make adjustments. They might still need to react, but they would have anticipated issues and prevented many of them from happening.

We should never claim to be ready. At best, we can try to be prepared. We prepare by adopting an anticipatory or preventative mindset, not a reactive one.

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