Archive for the ‘SPM’ Category

Exam dates rescheduled

Sunday, March 29th, 2020

PETALING JAYA: The Education Ministry has rescheduled centralised and other major examinations following the extension of the movement control order until April 14.

For the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) exam dates, the written portion will now be conducted in one phase from Nov 16 to Dec 7.

Originally, the first phase was to start from Oct 5-14 while the second phase was from Nov 2-19.

The Form Three Assessment (PT3) which is scheduled for Sept 28 to Oct 6 will see the Bahasa Malaysia and English Language papers held on Sept 28 and Sept 29 respectively.

However, the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) examination dates remained unchanged, said the ministry in a statement.

The Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) Semester 2 examination which was initially scheduled for early May has been postponed to Nov 18,19,23 and 24 while the Semester 3 examination will take place as scheduled on Nov 3,4, 5,9 and 10.

The Semester 2 examination was rescheduled to give ample time for schools to manage the remaining second semester.

Separately, all public institutions of higher education (IPTA) must begin the second semester for the current academic year between April 27 and June 1.

The Higher Education Ministry said the decision was made following the extension of the MCO.

“The decision was made after an in-depth discussion with representatives from all IPTAs and private higher education institutions (IPTS) and taking into consideration several factors, ” it said in a statement.

The ministry said among the factors were the latest MCO period and directives regarding Covid-19, students’ safety and welfare, and the Hari Raya holidays which would start on May 24.

The ministry added that it had considered the readiness of higher education institutions to implement teaching and learning using a variety of methods, including online learning, and also the need to end the current semester and begin the new 2020/2021 academic year.

“The first semester of the new academic year is expected to begin in mid-October 2020, ” it said, adding that IPTS were free to choose their own dates based on their own academic calendars and taking into account the above factors.

“Based on this, IPTAs need to manage the return of their students to the campus and take into account the above factors.”

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/03/29/exam-dates-rescheduled

Sabah’s overall performance improves

Friday, March 13th, 2020

PENAMPANG: Sabah recorded an improvement in quality in the 2019 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination with a state average grade (GPN) of 5.38.

Sabah education department director, Dr Mistirine Radin said it dropped by 0.06 from the previous year’s GPN of 5.44, with a lower figure indicating better performance.

The passing percentage of students (for both Sejarah and Bahasa Melayu), however, saw a decline of 0.74 per cent, from 88.53 per cent in 2018 to 87.79 per cent last year.

Despite that, the number of students who passed all subjects with at least an E was 18,054 (53.83 per cent), which grew by 2.15 per cent from 2018’s record of 17,420 students (51.68 per cent).

“A total of 198 candidates managed to score As (A+, A, A-) in 2019, compared to 152 candidates in 2018, which saw an additional number of 46 students.

“Therefore, although the passing percentage dropped slightly, we have more candidates who scored distinction grade last year,” she said when announcing the results at SMK St Michael here on Thursday.

Also present were Sabah Minister of Education and Innovation, Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob, and assistant minister, Jenifer Lasimbang.

The 2019 SPM which took place from Nov 5 to 28, saw 33,541 students sitting for the examination, which was lower than 2018’s 34,322 candidates.

Of the total 58 subjects taken in Sabah, 26 achieved 100 per cent passing rates including Literature in English, Grafik Komunikasi Teknikal, Additional Science, Usul Al-Din, English for Science and Technology, as well as several vocational subjects.

Four fundamental subjects also registered improvement in quality based on the subject average grade (GPMP) – Bahasa Melayu from 4.44 to 4.27 (0.17), English from 6.80 to 6.62 (0.18), Moral Education from 4.17 to 4.06 (0.11), and Mathematics from 6.12 to 6.11 (0.01).

SM Sains Sabah Kota Kinabalu remained the top school for 2019 SPM with a school average grade (GPS) of 1.70, followed by SMK St Michael Penampang with 2.23, and SMK Agama Kota Kinabalu with 2.51.

Other schools in the top 10 placing were SMK Agama Tun Ahmadshah KK (2.52), SM Sains Lahad Datu (2.75), SM Islamiah Tawau (2.93), SMK Matunggong Kudat (3.59), SMK St Patrick Tawau (3.59), SMKA Mohamad Ali Ranau (3.61), and SMK Perempuan Sandakan (3.64).

Meanwhile, the award for schools recording the biggest improvement was given to SMK La Salle KK (1.37 leap in GPS), SMK Bongkol Pitas (1.03), SMK Weston Beaufort (1.00), SMK Kunak Jaya (0.89), SMK Abdul Rahim Kudat (0.79), SMK Bandau Kota Marudu (0.73), and SMK Ranau (0.71).

Best students in the 11 subjects category were Aina Zainatul Zakirah Ismail from SMKA Kota Kinabalu with 10A+, 1A; Jung Bing Heng Jensen from SMK Sung Siew Sandakan (9A+, 2A); Muhammad Aqlan Syahir Alimuddin from SMKA Kota Kinabalu (8A+, 3A); Nabihah Habibon from SMKA Kota Kinabalu (8A+, 3A); Nojuel JC Soluku from SMK St Michael Penampang (8A+, 3A); Izyani Syahirah Alfian from SMKA Kota Kinabalu (8A+, 2A, 1B+); and Teo Yu Jing from SMK Sung Siew Sandakan with 8A+, 1A, 2B+.

For students taking 10 subjects, the top six were Vesley Junior Villos from SMK St Michael Penampang (9A+, 1A); Brayn Chung Kok Jing from SMK St Patrick Tawau (9A+, 1A-); Christina Ku Pei San from SMK Tinggi Kota Kinabalu (9A+, 1B+); Andrea Faith Charlie from SMK St Michael Penampang (8A+, 2A); Abigail Victoria Malakun from SMK St Michael Penampang (8A+, 2A); and Florence Chiu Yan Yee from SMK St Dominic Lahad Datu (8A+, 2A).

Best students for those who took nine subjects were Ahmad Uzair Hedzree from SMK St Patrick Tawau (9A+); Lo Yung Kang from SMK St Dominic Lahad Datu (8A+, 1A); Vagish A/L Krishnan from SMK St Patrick Tawau (8A+, 1A); Kevalraj Singh Kreer from SMK All Saints KK (8A+, 1A-); Ryan Constantine Libamin from SMK All Saints KK (8A+, 1A-); Nathan Alexander Benny Duati from SMK La Salle (8A+, 1A); Wan Ahmad Azeem Najhi Wan Azizi from SM Sains Sabah KK (8A+, 1A-); and Aneezah Johnson from SMK St Dominic Lahad Datu (8A+, 1A-).

The final award, for students with special needs, was given to Syeriefazrizan Norazman from SMK Badin Tuaran who attained 1A+, 5A, 1B; Nurhan Nasir from SMK Menumbok Kuala Penyu with 1A, 1A-, 1B, 1C+, 1C, 2E; and Nurul Aisyah Amil Hassan from SMK Merotai Besar Tawau who achieved 3A-, 2B+, 1B, 1C+, 1E.

“From the total of 211 schools that were involved in last year’s SPM, 60 were urban schools which recorded a passing rate of 88.77 per cent while the remaining 151 were rural schools with a passing rate of 87.43 per cent.

“This showed that the difference in percentage between urban and rural schools was low, which was 1.34 per cent,” she said.

By DK RYNI QAREENA.

Read more @ http://www.newsabahtimes.com.my/nstweb/fullstory/37274

Poor SPM results don’t mean the end of the world

Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

The future is in your hands as examinations are part of life. FILE PIC

LETTERS: EVERY year, less than two per cent of the nearly 390,000 students who sat the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) exam were considered high achievers. The remaining 98 per cent who did not score all As or missed an A for a single subject would feel miserable.

Scoring As does not guarantee success in life. Success is subjective and it differs from one individual to another.

The vast majority of students score mediocre results in SPM. Some go to college and technical institutes while others join the workforce or venture into business.

The ones who become successful do it through hard work, perseverance and self belief.

Your future is in your hands. No matter what you get for the SPM, it is not the end of the world.

Academic intelligence does not guarantee success.

Our school system only tests and grades students according to their academic prowess.

Academic intelligence does not take into account the multiple intelligences of students.

Just look at successful people in the country and in the world. Many were failures in school but had other extraordinary intelligence and skills that helped them succeed.

Creativity, good communication skills, talent, passion, hard work, perseverance, determination and a positive attitude are among the qualities they need to be successful.

Let us not equate success with money and wealth.

There is more to success, as illustrated in this anecdote.

A teacher once asked pupils what they wanted to be when they grow up.

Nearly all the children in the class listed all the professions of the world — doctor, teacher, lawyer, pilot and engineer.

One child, however, put up his hand and said that he wanted to be happy in life.

The teacher said the child had misunderstood the question.

The child replied that the teacher had misunderstood life.

That child grew up to be John Lennon of the Beatles.

Many are under the impression that good examination results will get them lucrative careers that will buy them happiness and success.

Money does not buy success and happiness.

Money can buy you a bed but not sleep. Money can buy you books but not education.

Money can buy you medicine but not health. Money can buy you luxuries but not entertainment. Money can buy you accessories and finery but not beauty.

Money can buy you religion but not salvation.

What is important in life is to be happy and make others happy.
External factors like success and wealth give you temporal happiness, but friendships, relationships and contentment give you love, joy, peace and lasting happiness.

So, those who are not high achievers in SPM, “lift your chin and walk tall, follow your heart, do what you think is best, believe in yourself and you will be happy and successful in life”.

by SAMUEL YESUIAH

Read more @ nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2020/03/572893/poor-spm-results-dont-mean-end-world

Sabah’s overall performance improves

Friday, March 6th, 2020

PENAMPANG: Sabah recorded an improvement in quality in the 2019 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination with a state average grade (GPN) of 5.38.

Sabah education department director, Dr Mistirine Radin said it dropped by 0.06 from the previous year’s GPN of 5.44, with a lower figure indicating better performance.

The passing percentage of students (for both Sejarah and Bahasa Melayu), however, saw a decline of 0.74 per cent, from 88.53 per cent in 2018 to 87.79 per cent last year.

Despite that, the number of students who passed all subjects with at least an E was 18,054 (53.83 per cent), which grew by 2.15 per cent from 2018’s record of 17,420 students (51.68 per cent).

“A total of 198 candidates managed to score As (A+, A, A-) in 2019, compared to 152 candidates in 2018, which saw an additional number of 46 students.

“Therefore, although the passing percentage dropped slightly, we have more candidates who scored distinction grade last year,” she said when announcing the results at SMK St Michael here on Thursday.

Also present were Sabah Minister of Education and Innovation, Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob, and assistant minister, Jenifer Lasimbang.

The 2019 SPM which took place from Nov 5 to 28, saw 33,541 students sitting for the examination, which was lower than 2018’s 34,322 candidates.

Of the total 58 subjects taken in Sabah, 26 achieved 100 per cent passing rates including Literature in English, Grafik Komunikasi Teknikal, Additional Science, Usul Al-Din, English for Science and Technology, as well as several vocational subjects.

Four fundamental subjects also registered improvement in quality based on the subject average grade (GPMP) – Bahasa Melayu from 4.44 to 4.27 (0.17), English from 6.80 to 6.62 (0.18), Moral Education from 4.17 to 4.06 (0.11), and Mathematics from 6.12 to 6.11 (0.01).

SM Sains Sabah Kota Kinabalu remained the top school for 2019 SPM with a school average grade (GPS) of 1.70, followed by SMK St Michael Penampang with 2.23, and SMK Agama Kota Kinabalu with 2.51.

Other schools in the top 10 placing were SMK Agama Tun Ahmadshah KK (2.52), SM Sains Lahad Datu (2.75), SM Islamiah Tawau (2.93), SMK Matunggong Kudat (3.59), SMK St Patrick Tawau (3.59), SMKA Mohamad Ali Ranau (3.61), and SMK Perempuan Sandakan (3.64).

Meanwhile, the award for schools recording the biggest improvement was given to SMK La Salle KK (1.37 leap in GPS), SMK Bongkol Pitas (1.03), SMK Weston Beaufort (1.00), SMK Kunak Jaya (0.89), SMK Abdul Rahim Kudat (0.79), SMK Bandau Kota Marudu (0.73), and SMK Ranau (0.71).

Best students in the 11 subjects category were Aina Zainatul Zakirah Ismail from SMKA Kota Kinabalu with 10A+, 1A; Jung Bing Heng Jensen from SMK Sung Siew Sandakan (9A+, 2A); Muhammad Aqlan Syahir Alimuddin from SMKA Kota Kinabalu (8A+, 3A); Nabihah Habibon from SMKA Kota Kinabalu (8A+, 3A); Nojuel JC Soluku from SMK St Michael Penampang (8A+, 3A); Izyani Syahirah Alfian from SMKA Kota Kinabalu (8A+, 2A, 1B+); and Teo Yu Jing from SMK Sung Siew Sandakan with 8A+, 1A, 2B+.

For students taking 10 subjects, the top six were Vesley Junior Villos from SMK St Michael Penampang (9A+, 1A); Brayn Chung Kok Jing from SMK St Patrick Tawau (9A+, 1A-); Christina Ku Pei San from SMK Tinggi Kota Kinabalu (9A+, 1B+); Andrea Faith Charlie from SMK St Michael Penampang (8A+, 2A); Abigail Victoria Malakun from SMK St Michael Penampang (8A+, 2A); and Florence Chiu Yan Yee from SMK St Dominic Lahad Datu (8A+, 2A).

Best students for those who took nine subjects were Ahmad Uzair Hedzree from SMK St Patrick Tawau (9A+); Lo Yung Kang from SMK St Dominic Lahad Datu (8A+, 1A); Vagish A/L Krishnan from SMK St Patrick Tawau (8A+, 1A); Kevalraj Singh Kreer from SMK All Saints KK (8A+, 1A-); Ryan Constantine Libamin from SMK All Saints KK (8A+, 1A-); Nathan Alexander Benny Duati from SMK La Salle (8A+, 1A); Wan Ahmad Azeem Najhi Wan Azizi from SM Sains Sabah KK (8A+, 1A-); and Aneezah Johnson from SMK St Dominic Lahad Datu (8A+, 1A-).

The final award, for students with special needs, was given to Syeriefazrizan Norazman from SMK Badin Tuaran who attained 1A+, 5A, 1B; Nurhan Nasir from SMK Menumbok Kuala Penyu with 1A, 1A-, 1B, 1C+, 1C, 2E; and Nurul Aisyah Amil Hassan from SMK Merotai Besar Tawau who achieved 3A-, 2B+, 1B, 1C+, 1E.

“From the total of 211 schools that were involved in last year’s SPM, 60 were urban schools which recorded a passing rate of 88.77 per cent while the remaining 151 were rural schools with a passing rate of 87.43 per cent.

By DK RYNI QAREENA.

Read more @ http://www.newsabahtimes.com.my/nstweb/fullstory/37274

More score straight As in SPM this year compared to previous year

Thursday, March 5th, 2020

PUTRAJAYA: More students have scored straight As in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) 2019 examinations than the year before.

Of the 389,498 students who sat for the examinations, 8,876 candidates scored A+, A and A- in all subjects, Education director-general Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim said.

“In 2018, 8,436 candidates scored straight As.

“This is an improvement of 0.13%, ” she at a press conference when announcing the SPM 2019 result analysis on Thursday (March 5).

The National Average Grade (GPN) improved, with a score of 4.86 compared to 4.89 in SPM 2018.

A smaller GPN means the candidates performed better in the examinations, she added.

By SANDHYA MENON.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/03/05/more-score-straight-as-in-spm-this-year-compared-to-previous-year

SPM English Literature gets a makeover

Monday, March 2nd, 2020
THE Education Ministry has implemented the new SPM English Literature syllabus, which has been benchmarked to international standards, beginning January 2020.
It is hoped that through the introduction of the new English Literature syllabus, students will develop better proficiency and mastery of the English language, humanistic values, critical thinking ability, global perspective, and analytical skills in solving universal problems.

According to the ministry’s English Language Unit at the Curriculum Development Division, the introduction will also provide the opportunity for students to have more interaction hours in English, especially in terms of putting up performances and carrying out project-based activities.

Based on the new syllabus, students will sit for the SPM elective paper after 18 months of study with a new assessment format. There is also an increase in the variety of themes offered in set texts, in particular poetry, as well as a stronger emphasis on how literary devices create meaning and how students can better understand the literary texts and their contexts.

The revision of syllabus is based on the Cambridge IGCSE Literature (English) paper. This change in syllabus comes in the face of fluctuating interest in English literature from both parents and students.

According to English teacher Sim Poh Hoon of SMK St Francis Convent, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, parents are not keen to let their children learn English Literature because students have to choose between the subject and Principles of Accounting as their elective.

“The parents prefer their children to take Principles of Accounting as it is a more marketable subject. Moreover, English Literature is only offered to the first two classes in my school – students in other classes are not allowed to take the subject,” she said.

To make up for a lack of interest among parents, Sim takes it upon herself to encourage parents at parent-teacher meetings to allow their children to take the subject.

“I am also willing to teach English Literature outside of the timetable, as it will allow others to take the subject,” she added.

SMK Seri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur, English teacher Sharini Nadarajah revealed that students have a hard time catching up to the demands of the subject.

“The students lack a comprehensive knowledge of the texts they read, which affects the quality of the arguments they make in their essays.”

Penang Free School English teacher Suriya Kumari highlighted the lack of reference books for English Literature and the need for students to improve their command of the English language, both of which contribute to the anxiety that students feel over their chances of doing well in the subject.

“I spend some time building up their confidence levels, telling them we don’t need reference books.

“To generate interest, we also need to market the subject more effectively by way of passionate teachers – what parents fail to understand is that literature is necessary in establishing proper human relationships, making one more humane.

“It includes so many soft skills that help students to perform better in the real world – how to deal with stress, self-esteem and people, which is something adolescents need,” she stressed.

According to the English Language Unit, the Education Ministry has conducted training sessions for 360 teachers since 2018, with more sessions to come.

The training is conducted to prepare teachers for the new English Literature syllabus, including familiarisation with the texts, pedagogy on teaching of literature, and marking literature papers.

The Education Ministry is also planning to carry out a nationwide survey on students’ interests in types of literary texts, to determine suitable texts in the future.

Wong Sook Wei is a student at the National University of Singapore and a participant of The Star’s BRATs Young Journalist Programme.

Form Four elective subjects: Subject packages instead based on interests and capabilities

Thursday, November 28th, 2019

Education deputy director-general Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim.

KUALA LUMPUR: Form Four students will not be allowed to choose elective subjects solely at their whims and fancies.

Education Ministry deputy director-general (policy and curriculum) Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim (pic) said instead they will be given subject packages which cater to their interests and capabilities.

“It is not totally open and flexible,” she said during a briefing on the new subject package options for Form Four students.

This new system will come into effect in 2020, affecting this year’s Form Three students.

She said the new packages will allow students to pick up to five elective subjects and mix between the subjects.

Habibah added that there are two main packages – STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and literature and humanities.

She also said the subject packages offered to students will depend on the capabilities, availability, suitability (facilities/infrastructure), as well as consideration of each school.

There had been a lot of confusion among the public when Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik announced that Form Four students will no longer be streamed into Science and Arts last month.

Stakeholders were questioning how this would be implemented with many worrying about how it will affect students’ chances of pursuing their tertiary studies.

Entry requirements to higher education institutions are based on certain subject combinations.

By REBECCA RAJAENDRAM
Read more
@ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/11/26/form-four-elective-subjects-subject-packages-instead-based-on-interests-and-capabilities#VtAl3zGatBABm7xf.99

Being in arts, science stream doesn’t define our future

Saturday, November 2nd, 2019
SPM students getting ready for their exam in Seremban. FILE PIC

SIJIL Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia examinations start this month.

SPM is seen by many as the key factor in one’s future. The SPM papers are based on either science and arts stream. For some reason, some of us were put into the science stream and others, the arts.

There are students who fight their way into the science stream in the belief that it would bring them pride and respect from others, whereas the arts are seen as for those who were weak in their studies.

This perception is worsened by parents who believe this myth.

I was interested in physics and chemistry, which drove me to become a science student.

Students should see things from a different point of view and rebuke claims saying science is for top students, whereas the arts are for those who lag in their studies. After all, you do not need Biology or Add Maths to be a lawyer.

There are many people from the arts stream who excelled in school and their success has shaped them into wonderful individuals.

Nobody should be defined in such a way in the education system.

In this sense, the proposal by the government to abolish streaming should be well received.

Some parents should drop the mindset that being a straight A student will guarantee a bright future for their child, as other factors come into consideration.

There are many people who did not excel in school but became successful in life.

For example, Datuk Lat, who mentioned that he wasn’t a bright student, but succeeded through storytelling using drawings. He was also an arts student.

Let us wait and see what it is like for the new generation of students to be streamless.

By Gregory Kong.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2019/11/534679/being-arts-science-stream-doesnt-define-our-future

New syllabus good, but can be better.

Sunday, June 23rd, 2019

WHILE welcoming the move to introduce a Cambridge-based English Literature syllabus, stakeholders stress the importance of literature especially in the age of digitisation, and are suggesting some tweaks to the planned syllabus.

Under the new Secondary School Standards-based Curriculum (KSSM) next year, Form Four students will sit for the elective SPM paper with a new format in 2021.

The Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (Melta) is supportive of the new format and structure. But the syllabus aims and learning outcomes should be expanded to include contemporary readings and analytical perspectives, says its president Prof Dr S. Ganakumaran.

He says the choice of texts offered is narrow and traditional.

“We need a wider, more inclusive and progressive perspective of literature and literary texts.

“Open up the space for students to engage with the cross-cultural and global issues,” he says, calling for a wider choice of international and Malaysian texts to be included.

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Perhaps a section on young adult literature can be included, he suggests. This could attract more students to take up the subject, he says, pointing to how the number of students taking literature has been on a downward trend in recent years. He thinks the lack of interest could be because there’s:

> A general drop in English proficiency;

> The feeling that literature does not have a functional purpose;

> The lack of qualified teachers to teach the subject;

> The reluctance of schools wanting to offer the subject due to timetabling issues; and

> Apprehension that the school’s overall academic performance would drop due to poor performance in the paper.

Universiti Malaya (UM) senior lecturer Dr Grace Lim says having fewer texts to study – a key feature in the new syllabus – means not having to rush through the list.

But Lim from the Faculty of Education, says it also means that students are exposed to less variety so it will depend on the teachers and students to explore on their own.

She’s keen to see how the assessment will be implemented.

“Students can produce reader-response creative works, put on performances and even write critical essays if they want. So I wonder if their results will still be wholly based on the exam.”

She hopes it will be a combination of both formative and summative assessments.

School Improvement Specialist Coach Gladys Francis Joseph favours how the new syllabus encourages teachers to stage performances because it’s really beneficial for students.

Gladys, who was involved in writing the new curriculum and was a trainer for the pilot project, says fewer texts to read and having the exam in the middle of the year would help ‘sell’ the subject.

But most schools say there’s a lack of English Language teachers. And to start a class, one needs at least 15 students. Without the support of the administrators, it is an uphill task.

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“There are some schools which make it compulsory for students who want to enter the first two Science classes to take up the subject. So, Literature is thriving in these schools due to the policy implemented. Will these students take up the subject if not compelled? A significant number will not.”

Gladys thinks a black-and-white assurance on the prospects of taking English Literature for SPM is needed.

“Will they have an edge over other students for courses in colleges and universities? Parents and school administrators want to see the added value of the subject,” she says, adding that teachers willing to sacrifice their time to start small classes outside the timetable would be helpful. This needs the principal’s support.

The ministry, says Lim, should promote the subject to the public via infographics and social media. It shouldn’t just be done among schools and educators.

Lim says there’s a perception that SPM Literature in English is subjective and difficult to score. Maybe that’s why schools may not want their students to take the subject or let teachers teach it.

National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Harry Tan fears that there aren’t enough teachers if there’s an increase in demand for classes.

“Training for literature teachers and TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) teachers – who are the majority – are different.”

Literature, he says, is a higher form of language learning that requires a different set of skills to teach.

“Literature is a coherent part of any language learning. But when it’s a subject, it’s a different ball game altogether. Exams and the way you learn are different from learning a language to communicate.”

To get students interested, the texts have to fit with knowledge that the students can relate to, and the level of language mustn’t be too demanding otherwise only those who speak English as a first language would dare take the subject, UM senior lecturer Dr Krishnavanie Shunmugam says.

Those who are struggling with English should not attempt to sit for the new English Literature paper, says Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education chairman Mak Chee Kin.

If the ministry is serious in wanting students to learn and improve their English, the language must be made a compulsory pass in the SPM.

“English Literature is offered only as an elective subject. The new syllabus is good but it’ll only benefit those who are already good in English,” he says, adding that those who can manage it should take the subject.

“It’s definitely a plus. It goes beyond grammar and makes you think about how words are used.”

The buzzword in teaching and learning is HOTS (higher-order thinking skills), which you get ample of in Literature, says Gladys.

“We’re heading to a future controlled by artificial intelligence and machines. Literature can teach the next generation to be more humane, enhance their critical thinking and creativity, and most importantly, develop intuitive knowledge and reasoning skills to distinguish the real from the fictitious.”

Literature is one of those rare subjects that help students understand that not everything is in black and white, says Lim.

It might be unnerving at first but they soon learn that multiple perspectives can exist together. This develops their ability to consider and engage with different ideas and viewpoints.

“The point is not to prove that your opinion is the only one that matters but to give due consideration to how others interpret the texts.”

Literature helps students mature by letting them engage with experiences and situations that they might not have experienced before.

Students will also be more sensitive to how word choice and phrasing are ways through which language represents subjects.

“For example, calling someone a visitor instead of a guest indicates a different attitude towards that individual. In this sense, language is rarely neutral,” she says.

Krishnavanie believes that students who take SPM English Literature have an edge over others when applying for college or university degrees related to languages and linguistics, performing arts, creative writing, media studies, mass communication and language education.

“Even if they’re applying for a degree in the hardcore sciences, having SPM English Literature on their certificate would be impressive because it would imply that the students have not only been exposed to the kind of analytical skills needed for science, but have also been trained to have critical thinking skills necessary for reading literature.”

Literature, in whatever language, mirrors various facets of life – happiness, suffering, evil, goodness and foolishness – in creative forms, she adds.

“Literature has made me more sensitive to what’s happening around me. It’s given me a fresh perspective to stereotypes.”

UM language teacher J. Yasodhara N.V.J. Menon agrees.

“Many people are still stuck in the misconception that literature is old and boring. But they fail to realise that literature is alive, fluid, and in the present. It’s a written record of human consciousness and personal experiences. It tells us that humans are one in their needs and desires.”

Prof Ganakumaran says the study of literature has many benefits. It improves vocabulary and understanding of the different ways language can be used. This gives students the confidence to communicate and express themselves better.

By Christina Chin and Rowena Chua
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https://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2019/06/23/new-syllabus-good-but-can-be-better/#OycCMrV2xQfhvlGS.99

New SPM English Lit syllabus

Sunday, June 23rd, 2019

PETALING JAYA: A Cambridge-based English Literature syllabus will be introduced to secondary schools next year in a move to boost proficiency in the language.

Form Four students will study the syllabus in January and sit for the SPM exam with a new format in 2021, Examinations Syndicate director of examinations Adzman Talib said.

The 18-month curriculum is drawn from 10 poems, one novel or six short stories, and one drama, he said.

Among others, these students will read The Merchant of Venice (William Shakespeare), The Clay Marble (Minfong Ho), and Embra­cing Your Shadow (Chua Kok Yee).

The poems would include To Autumn (John Keats) and When You Are Old (by William Butler Yeats).

Under a pilot project which started in 2017, 300 Form Four students from seven schools in Penang, Perak, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Sabah and Sarawak sat for the International General Certificate in Secondary Education (IGCSE) Eng­lish Literature exam in June 2018 instead of the SPM English Litera­ture paper.

Education director-general Datuk Dr Amin Senin explained that re-branding the English Literature curriculum was among the ministry’s efforts to enhance the English proficiency of students.

The new Standards-Based English Literature Curriculum for Secon­dary Schools emphasises the importance of sustaining the use of the Eng­lish language within and be­­yond the classroom.

The elective subject serves as pre­paration for studying language or literature at higher levels as well as to enrich students’ knowledge of English, he said.

To encourage uptake among STEM (Science, Technology, Engi­neering and Mathematics) students, the 2021 English Literature exam will be held either in June or July, said Amin.

“This is to alleviate the stress of sitting for many subjects in November and to encourage more students to learn this subject,” he said.

Amin said the ministry wanted to encourage all students, including those in the science and technical fields, to learn this subject, as it would help improve their command of the language through the exposure and study of both local and international texts.

Literature, he said, would improve their proficiency while enhancing their knowledge of history and cultures.

“It also provides vicarious experiences through reading and promotes critical thinking and analytical skills,” he said.

The English Language Teaching Centre and the ministry’s master trainers will train teachers who are interested.

Those with a background in English Literature can be re-posted to the states of their choice.

State education departments will promote the subject at premier and residential schools and oversee the implementation of the new curriculum.

By Christina Chin
Read more a
t https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/06/23/new-spm-english-lit-syllabus/#LGBqUcq1A2QDB27B.99