Archive for the ‘Education, Sabah.’ Category

Dilapidated Sabah schools receive attention in 2019

Sunday, December 29th, 2019

A dilapidated school in the Interior.

DILAPIDATED schools in Sabah received the Education Ministry’s attention in 2019 with the Finance Ministry allocating RM78 million to restore them a substantial increase from the RM 10 million previously.

The funding aims to resolve problems at 30 to 35 dilapidated schools in the State.

Overall, an allocation of RM 738 million from the Federal Government was announced in Budget 2020 to rehabilitate dilapidated schools especially in Sabah and Sarawak.

State Education and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob said that the State still needed RM3 billion to restore 1,300 schools in Sabah, 587 of which were dilapidated and 91 declared unsafe.

In October, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik also announced an extra RM15 million from the Federal Education Ministry would be channelled to the State Education Department for maintenance and minor repairs of all government schools in Sabah for 2019.

Maszlee also stated that special schools will be set up in the future for undocumented Malaysians in Sabah, where it was said the government would also help them to get identification documents.

The year also saw the State Education and Innovation Ministry receiving RM52 million in special provision rates by the State Government channelled towards State scholarships, bursaries and financial assistance for students.

The scholarships and financial aid will target 400 undergraduate diploma holders, 1,000 undergraduates, 20 undergraduate students at overseas universities and 400 B40 recipients.

Chief Minister Datuk Shafie apdal said it was an increase of 67.5 per cent from RM40.6 million in 2018 under the previous government’s budget as at October 2019.

The year also saw RM58.8 million being channelled towards a new administrative building at the Gaya Teachers Training Institute (IPG Gaya Campus), as the current IPG campus, which was built in 1963, was in unfavourable condition.

The project is expected to be completed by March 15, 2021 which will benefit more than 700 students. It will include a six-storey administrative block and another block which will have an auditorium and a multipurpose hall that can accommodate 1,500 people.

The year also saw a change of leadership at UMS with the appointment of a new vice chancellor Prof. Dr Taufiq Yap Yun Hin, who expressed commitment in raising the university’s status and visibility in the global arena.

However, the appointment initially saw some unhappiness on the part of the State Government with Shafie saying the Education Ministry at Federal level did not consult the State Government on the appointment.

In November, a UMS student caused a stir by doing the Nazi salute after receiving his scroll in support of the Palestinians and protest over “Jewish world domination.”

The German Embassy condemned the student’s action as did netizens.

The year also saw the education scene emphasising on Industrial Revolution 4.0 and a need for the education system to have a teaching and learning approach that is industry-relevant in the 21st Century.

In August, the Education Ministry and Sabah Shell Petroleum Company Ltd (SSPC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to reintroduce Shell Malaysia’s welding industry training course (Projek Link).

The course aims to equip local youths with the necessary certifications to pursue job opportunities in the oil and gas industry.

The year also saw Project-Based Learning (PBL) introduced in some schools as an alternative teaching approach that would enhance a student’s learning experience aimed at producing competent individuals that are relevant in the age of IR4.0

The Sabah Education Department also stated that it is aiming to elevate the quality of education through an immersive 21st Century Learning (PAK 21) experience relating to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (Steam) via the PBL.

The year saw Sabah pioneering the latest multi-targeted human capital programme by the Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) called the “Youth Forward” programme, a skill-based education programme that provides secondary school students an alternative career pathway.

Participants will undergo 30 learning modules which will educate them on IR4.0, Public Speaking, Time Management, Safety in the Home and Vehicle, Communication Skills Enhancement, Financial Management and other life skills and effective habits.

Assistant State Education and Innovation Minister Jenifer Lasimbang announced that Sabah would follow the Federal policy of introducing Jawi calligraphy in schools. However, Sarawak had yet to make any commitment while in peninsula Chinese education groups and civic society groups continued to oppose it saying it was being forced as part of an Islamisation agenda.

By: Anthea Peter

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Aswara to set up Sabah campus

Friday, October 4th, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan (Aswara) via the Federal Ministry Tourism, Arts and Culture plans to set up its first campus branch in Sabah with hopes of tapping into the State’s many talents.

It is the only institution of higher learning in Malaysia which focuses in the field of performing arts and is fully supported by the government under the Ministry.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said Sabah has many talents that needs to tapped, adding that the State Government is ready to assist wherever it can to realise the plans.

He said he has instructed the State Secretary to identify a suitable site for the purpose, while noting the importance of having a blend of accommodation and facilities at the institution.

He said this during a media conference after receiving a courtesy visit from the Minister, Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi, and Aswara delegates at the State Administration office, here, Thursday.

Shafie noted that the institution is an important platform not only for Sabah but the country as a whole as it provides a space for learning, research and academic publications and professional advisory services in the field of arts, culture and heritage.

It is aimed at producing skilled artists and practitioners who are competent in their fields besides strengthening the sustainability of the national arts heritage.

Shafie said having the campus in Sabah will also pull students not only from Sabah, but also Sarawak, the peninsula, Brunei and Kalimantan.

“I am confident this can benefit and help our efforts towards strengthening tourism products in our country particularly at Sabah level, and we at the State Government will provide strong support to enable this to materialise,” he said.

Mohamaddin on the other hand said it was high time for the Ministry to open a campus in Sabah to carter to students from Sabah, Sarawak and the peninsula.

He said this was also among steps to enhance national integration.

On another note, he said the existing campus in Kuala Lumpur (which currently has 1,200 students) is located on an area which is not so big, and thus they hope with cooperation from the State Government, to expand the campus to Sabah.

By: Sherell Jeffrey.

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Undocumented Malaysian students to have own school soon in Sabah

Thursday, October 3rd, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: The setting up of a special school for undocumented Malaysians in Sabah is in the pipeline, says Education minister Dr Maszlee Malik (pic).

“This was mentioned in my 2019 policy speech in Parliament earlier this year, ” he said.

Apart from that, he said the government, through relevant departments, would also help these students get their identification documents.

According to government records, he said, there are about 2,635 undocumented children who are in schools nationwide.

“Of this, 1,184 are in Sabah,” he said during a townhall session with lecturers and students in Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) here Thursday (Oct 3).

Earlier in the programme, students asked about the rationale behind giving undocumented and stateless people education, how employable are graduates according to the courses taken and other related questions.

On the stateless education issue, he said, education should be for all regardless a person’s status in society.

They were also told that without education, children would not know how to follow rules and regulations, read, abide to laws and would not be able to find jobs in future.

Students were also urged to come up with programmes to help teach and educate these children, especially the sea gypsies.

“Letting them learn would be much better than leaving them to roam aimlessly in life,” Maszlee said

On other matters, he said the government would assist UMS to bring in more foreign and international students.

“We want to see UMS improve and become more competitive with highly employable graduates,” he said

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Educational dilemmas rest on social dilemmas

Saturday, August 24th, 2019
Education success in plural societies should address the issues which drive social disintegration and enflame social distrust. (NSTP/SHARUL HAFIZ ZAM)
By James Campbell - August 14, 2019 @ 10:32am

IN plural and ethnically diverse societies, the success of educational reform depends upon the extent to which the broader society can address the problems of communalism, social division and fragmentation.

A sense of inclusivity, what some may call much needed social integration or social cohesion, is needed to overcome the constant pull of sectional division in ethnically divided societies.

Given the seemingly interminable way in which racial and religious divisions impact on educational debates and the best efforts of reformers, social reintegration and cohesion are both laudable and necessary objectives if much needed educational reform in societies such as Malaysia is to succeed.

J.S. Furnivall, who is well known to historians and political scientists for his critique ‘Plural Society’, is arguably not as well known for his observations in regard to education.


Yet Furnivall’s observations with respect to education are worth pointing out since they point to an essential characteristic of the educational dilemma in plural societies that stares at us plainly and uncomfortably.

According to Furnivall, “Education, then, is the sum of all those processes which fit the youth for social life.”

Note that education here is not defined simply as instruction nor is it limited to what goes on in educational institutions such as schools and universities.

Furnivall argues in fact that there is “a tendency to confuse education with instruction”.

Education in Furnivall’s opinion is wider and more complex than the narrow confines of formal instruction in universities and schools although it obviously includes that.

In this observation, Furnivall appears to be in good company. Educational thinkers such as John Dewey, to cite just one example, point out that education properly understood is a broad process of growth and social development.

As Furnivall points out, if a society is utterly fragmented, lacking in social integration and cohesion, then this begs the question to what extent such societies can achieve their educational aims.

What does it mean to say one is educated in circumstances where social division distrust and animus crowd out efforts at understanding and social integration?

In extreme cases of communally divided societies where any reform or positive step is torn apart by sectional interests and division, it can be tempting to ask if a society understood in any normative and integrated sense exists at all.

Furnivall argues much the same when he points out regarding the legacy of colonialism that: “Everywhere in the Tropical Far East there has come into existence a Plural Society, held together not by tradition or religion but by little more than the steel framework of the law in a society in which distinct social orders live side by side but separately within the same political unit.

“In circumstances such as these, the social life within each community tends to be disintegrated, and there is, moreover, no all-embracing social life. In the strict sense of the word, there is no society. If, then, education is the sum of all the processes which fit the child as a member of society, how can he be educated where society does not exist?”

The problem of education in plural societies is thus according to Furnivall a problem closely connected to the way in which society is integrated and made cohesive.

Wider cultural social, political and economic dynamics inform what it is to be educated. These wider dynamics impact on the discourse of educational reform and instructional practices in diverse ways.

Some people may think that if only politics, social issues, economics and culture could be kept out of education, then educators could focus on the practical problems of instruction free from outside influence. This, however, is a pipe dream.

The problems of education have always been deeply cultural, economic and political. In plural societies, the problems of social division, distrust conflict and competition are never far from educational debate.

Rather than viewing such forces as somehow extraneous to education, as if we could somehow ignore them, we need to view them as a critical part of our educational problem.

Societies divided by sectional interests, ripped apart by racial and religious division, will necessarily view all educational reform and proposals through the prism of conflict and social competition.

In such societies the problem of education and the success of educational reform will ultimately rest on addressing the wider inequalities and divisions which result from the colonial inheritance of plural society.

Educational success in such societies is therefore not simply limited to how we advance practical instruction within schools, universities and other educational institutions. Rather, success in educational reform rests ultimately upon addressing the issues which drive social disintegration and enflame social distrust. These issues incessantly pose basic dilemmas for policy makers, educators and citizens alike and their resolution would greatly add to the success of educational reform.

Furnivall’s observations on these matters is still provocative and if his critique of the problems of plural society is still relevant to contemporary Malaysia, his thoughts on the problems of education in plural societies may also be of continued interest.

By James Campbel.

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Edu fund for deserving youths urged

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019
By: David Thien

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s unemployment rate of more than 5 per cent can be lessened with up-skilling education of the unemployed in workforce.

The Persatuan Institusi Pendidikan Tinggi Swasta Sabah (PIPTSS), supports Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd Shafie Apdal for Sabah to reinforce its quality human capital with the focus on producing educated and talented workforce with good values.

PIPTSS President Datuk Seri Panglima Wong Khen Thau said he supports Shafie’s call “to ensure quality human capital to lead the future development of Sabah particularly in industrialisation.”

Wong said “Education is the catalyst to sustainable economic growth,” adding that PIPTSS aims to provide educational opportunities to deserving students in Sabah, especially student from poor rural districts or families.

“A developing state like Sabah needs such emphasis to educate and train our youths to become catalyst of transforming Sabah’s economy and industries.

“Investment in education is for the benefit of the state and for the benefit of the people of Sabah,” he stressed.

Wong is also the Honorary Life President of the Federation of Sabah Industries (FSI), besides being the Chairman of Malaysia International Chamber of commerce and Industry (MICCCI) Sabah Chapter.

“Without quality human resource capital, it will be difficult for Sabah’s industries, companies, employers and the state to compete and progress forward in an increasingly borderless global market with rising challenges,” he said.

PIPTSS to appealed to Shafie for support to establish an education fund bank for the sole purpose of helping deserving youths, particularly from the smaller towns and interior of Sabah.

Research shows the core challenge for youths from the rural interior and smaller towns of Sabah is the higher costs of living in Sabah’s capital city.

Many of their families lack the capacity to make ends meet, what more to support their children in continuing their higher education.

Many students are marginalised in Sabah. By this we mean that those who may have interest in continuing their education, but are hampered by financial constraint and do not pursue higher qualifications.

According to Wong, with an annual support fund allocation provided by the State government, needy students can apply for study fund such as transportation, accommodation, meals and a token living allowances with proof of eligibility of their total family income below RM3,000 with four or more siblings or dependents, with disability or ailment, evaluated and approved by a PIPTSS panel.

“PIPTSS will handle the administration and disbursement of the fund in a coordinated and transparent manner to serve the purpose of providing for the under-privileged and deserving students.

“PIPTSS wants to help our youths and give them the opportunity to study at higher institutions which eventually bring them out of poverty by transforming them into a skilled and knowledgeable work force and ultimately improve the economy of Sabah and Malaysia,” Wong said.

He p ointed out that PIPTSS members offer many training courses and academic programmes, which are directly relevant to the economy of Sabah.

The fields range from business to science, medical sciences, technology, hospitality, tourism and even to the emerging creative arts of studies such as music, arts and design.

He highlighted that data from the Ministry of Education Enrolment Statistics shows about 40,000 students sat for the SPM (32,000) and STPM (8,000) each year in Sabah, half of them did not proceed to pursue any kind of higher education.

“This is an alarming number and if this problem is not addressed, it will not only bring long term economic impact to the state but will also bring about social issues in the long run, if the state does not leverage on these youths and help them gain a role in our nation building process.

“This has a bearing on Sabah’s ability to elevate from the doldrums of being categorised as a poverty state, despite the richness of its resources.

“Sabah competitiveness will be degraded and impacting more reliance on foreign workers and talents. This will present a threat of unbalancing the social status of the people of Sabah.

“If PIPTSS does not take action with regards to the deterioration of our human capital, the progress of Sabah’s economy may be stalled in the very near future due to the lack of qualified personnel and talents, Wong elaborated.

Therefore, he said, PIPTSS seeks to address these issues by providing all youths in Sabah a deserved opportunity to seek higher education.

Funds are needed to provide three different type of assistance to deserving students:

l Full sponsorship that covers tuition fees, accommodation, transportation, meals and a token living allowance.

l Partial sponsorship that covers (a) tuition fees, and a token allowance, (b) accommodation, transportation, and a token living allowance, (c) a token living expenses to deserving students.

l Full loan that covers tuition fees, accommodation, transportation, meals and a token living allowance.

“The funds will be administered directly between the institution and PIPTSS, without being disbursed through the student to prevent any mismanagement or misuse of fund by the students, i.e. except for the living allowances token where it will be disbursed on a monthly basis.

He also revealed that the reduction of PTPTN loan has also contributed to a drop in student enrolments to study in institutions of higher education.

“The PTPTN loan has been cut by 25 per cent and consequently, the students are only getting 75 per cent of their need which is not sufficient to cover even their programme fee itself.

“The implication for students, especially those from outstation rural areas is severe considering their need for living expenses from transportation, accommodation, meals etc.

“It’s not surprising many financially challenged students dropped out of institutions of higher learning before graduation, with the burden of having to service their PTPTN loans.

“Since the government have been supporting the independent Chinese school, PIPTSS would also like the Sabah government to support local private educational institutions of higher learning (IPTS) and to develop Sabah as an education hub, just like Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Sarawak and Johor Bahru.

“With the education autonomy given to Sabah and Sarawak and the government’s initiative to increase the workforce’s minimum salary to RM1,100 towards RM1,500 eventually, PIPTSS would like to work and help the state government in fulfilling the arduous task of creating a huge pool of very productive human capital for economic growth.

“PIPTSS members have the capability and capacity to train and provide education to as many students as possible by encouraging students who have completed their SPM and STPM levels to study in local colleges and universities and thereafter, contribute to the economy of Sabah.

“The quality of education in Sabah is at par with those in Peninsular Malaysia and other parts of the world. It is noted that education in Sabah is one of the cheapest in Malaysia,” Datuk Wong Khen Thau stressed.

The Persatuan Institusi Pendidikan Tinggi Swasta Sabah, also known as PIPTSS, was registered in 2005.

Presently, there are 12 members altogether, namely:

1.     Kinabalu Commercial College (KCC), established 1968.

2.     AMC, The School of Business, established 1985.

3.     Sabah Institute of Arts (SIA), established 1990.

4.     Kolej Teknikal Yayasan Sabah (KTYS), established 1990.

5.     INTI College Sabah (INTI), established 1995.

6.     Asian Tourism International College (ATI College), established 1996.

7.     MSU College (PTPL College), established 1999.

8.     Institut Sinaran, established 2002.

9.     SIDMA College, established 2003.

10.  Almacrest International College, established 2004.

11.  North Borneo University College, established 2006.

PIPTSS is committed towards helping Sabah youths in overcoming their financial challenges, with the help of the Sabah government, so that our youths can be qualified as quality human capital assets who are able to strongly impact the economic landscape of Sabah and forge a better future for all in Malaysia

By: David Thien

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Sabah opens intake for 750 interim teachers this year

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah State Education Department has opened its intake for 750 interim teachers this year to address the shortage of teachers in the state.

Its director Dr Mistirine Radin said that of the number, 130 Islamic Studies interim teachers and 166 interim teachers with other options have already been appointed.

She added that the department was still looking for the remaining 454 teachers to fill the vacancies adding that those with first degrees who have not yet started working, could apply.

Mistirine disclosed this to reporters after a ceremony to present letters of appointment and placement to the primary and secondary school interim teachers.

A total of 166 new interim teachers who had passed the Ujian Kelayakan Calon (UKCG) or the Teacher Candidate Qualification Test and interview, received their letters and will start teaching from Aug 1.

She added the policy was to have 90 per cent local (state) teachers and 10 per cent teachers (from the peninsula) in Sabah which is almost being achieved.


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Social norms, poverty among factors

Sunday, July 7th, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: The social norms among parents in the State, who choose to marry their underage daughter when she gets pregnant as a solution to the problem, and also as a solution to poverty, were among factors looked at during the recent workshop on ending child marriage.

State Law and Native Affairs Assistant Minister Jannie Lasimbang (pic) said this was among at least seven drivers for Sabah that they looked at.

“Among them is the social norms which Sabah has the highest. There are many social norms in Sabah, like if the daughter is pregnant she must get married, because they (parents) think that is the only option.

“So because the guidance is not very clear at the Native Court, they will also try not to advise them otherwise.

“The other is poverty. There are many children who come from families that do not have or can’t even make ends meet, so they think it is a way out to marry their children, but it is not. They end up having more problems and the cycle continues.

“For example, one of the things we don’t see elsewhere, including at the national level, is undocumented children resulting from early marriages.

“Because they cannot get a marriage certificate as the Native Court has said people cannot marry below the age of 18, they still get married and have children but undocumented. So we have a cycle of issues here related to poverty and lack of documentation,” she told a press conference.

She said apart from that, there is lack of comprehensive sex education in school.

“We also do not have the law yet as, presently, the legal marriage age for girls is still 16 under the Syariah Law,” she said, adding the Ministry expects some reservations on the Syariah Law in implementing the legal marriage age at 18 for both male and female in Sabah.

“There is actually no age limit in the Native Court Enactment. But we at the Ministry will try to look at this as something that there will be of no exception, 18 will be the minimum age for marriage (for both male and female).

“We will work very hard to make sure this plan moves with co-operation from relevant ministries, departments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs),” she said, adding a task force to be formed will follow up on the proposed amendments to the law.

Aked whether the new legal marriage age will be accepted at the grassroots level, Jannie said a study done by Sabah DAP Women on 70 underage marriage cases showed all the underage girls involved regretted that they got married early.

“They said they should not have got married at that age. So, it is a very clear indication of people generally wanting to end child marriage,” she added.

On child marriage statistics in Sabah, Jannie said the Ministry was still trying to establish a baseline.

“We will try to find the best way to collect the figures from the various ministries concerned. Right now the Native Court does not have statistics on child marriage, but others like the Syariah Court does have certain figures. So we will try to compile all the figures.”

By: Larry Ralon.

Developing Sabah education system via federal and related agencies support

Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Ministry of Education and Innovation is committed in engaging with its federal counterpart and other related agencies to further develop Sabah education system.

Its minister Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob said this included the development of Sabah education hub in Papar which he stressed required basic physical and connectivity infrastructures.

This, he said, was in line with the government’s aim of providing education to people of all level.

“We need complete infrastructures including land as well as good points of connectivity such as road and digital connectivity in terms of optic fibre in these areas.

“That is why we need to first ensure that these basic infrastructures are available in order to spur education, tourism and other industrial developments in Sabah.

“Therefore, we hope these will be provided so that more investors would come in to Sabah,” he said. He was speaking to reporters after officiating at the Sabah Animation Creative Content Centre (SAC3) Academy 2019 graduation ceremony and ‘Greative Showcase’ here Tuesday.

SAC3, he noted, was among the first institution in Sabah that offered courses in creative industry – one of the major demands in today’s digital industry.

He pointed out that the global market value of creative industry particularly in animation as reported by the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) was USD305.7 billion in 2017 and is expected to escalate to USD404.8 billion in 2023.

Therefore, he said Sabahan youth should tap into the opportunity and become entrepreneurs, earning their own income by setting up their own animation companies.

“The industry has a bright future and we hope our Sabahan youth will take the opportunity to also exploit our beauty here to become subjects in their animations which can later be sold in the form of documentaries, globally.” Yusof added that the government has also set a long term planning to develop the sector and include animation and creative industry into Sabah education system.

A total of 108 students graduated in various programmes including JPK certification programmes – Animation Creative Multimedia Artist, Visual Multimedia Artist, and Visual Film Production – and SAC3special programmes – certificate of Media Production and certificate of Advanced Media Production.

Since 2011, SAC3 deputy director Marina Abd Ghani said the centre has produced high income-earning graduates in the field of entrepreneurship and creative digital technology which are becoming more popular among millennials. “With this, we believe our future generation will be capable of earning high income even without securing permanent posts in public nor private institutions,” she said.


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Principals need to be well-informed of govt policies – CM

Thursday, April 4th, 2019

Jenifer (fourth left), Mistirine (third left) and Kusdi (fifth left) at the event.

KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Shafie Apdal has called on all principals in the state to always be well-informed of the State Government’s latest policies and initiatives, especially when it concerns the education industry

Shafie stressed that knowledge and good understanding of the latest policies and initiatives of the Education Ministry would enable the principals to implement more programmes in line with the State Government’s direction, and thus preparing their students to face any challenges.

“For example, schools should further activate STEM and TVET programmes in their respective institutions – in line with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“The success of these schools will pave the way for more job opportunities for the people and for them to not rely solely on jobs that are provided by the government,” said Shafie in his speech, read by Assistant Education and Innovation Minister Jenifer Lasimbang at the 43rd Sabah Principals Conference on Wednesday.

Shafie added that all the principals in the state must also be equipped with leadership qualities, so that it would be easier for them to lead their subordinates and to better manage their schools.

He also assured the principals that the Education and Innovation Ministry would work closely with the State Education Department to channel funds for the refurbishment of the dilapidated schools in Sabah.

“As for now, the State Government will focus on the dilapidated schools in the rural areas that are in need of facilities.

“We will try our best to help the schools despite financial constraints that we’re currently facing. If we don’t have enough money to build schools, we will assist in other aspects,” said Shafie.

A total of 222 principals from around Sabah and Labuan attended the conference.

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Coaching is a vital teaching tool

Sunday, March 17th, 2019
(Stock image for illustration purposes) It is different from training because it “draws out” rather than “puts in”.

THE 21st century has many creative avenues and one of the popular changes in education and business training is coaching.

Coaching is defined as a human development process that involves structured, focused interaction and the use of appropriate strategies, tools and techniques to promote desirable and sustainable change.

It is different from training because it “draws out” rather than “puts in”. When I reflect upon my years of providing courses for in-house and teachers-to-be, I realise that I was using more coaching strategies rather than training strategies.

Brazilian educator and philosopher Paulo Freire, a prominent advocate of critical pedagogy, states that students are not empty vessels. When they come to school, they have been exposed to their home and local cultures. Thus, teachers need to see them as individuals who are unique and help bring out the best in them.

They are there for a purpose so teachers must apply appropriate coaching methods to nurture innovative, creative and divergent thinking that improves all aspects of the students’ lives.

Two fundamental intentions at the heart of coaching are awareness and accountability.

The International Coach Federation defines creating awareness as the ability to integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information and to make interpretations that help the client, in this case the students, gain awareness and achieve agreed-upon results.

The thoughts and feelings that are used in coaching come from the students.

Accountability is an effective instrument to help in the coaching process to enable a change of habits.

When a teacher uses coaching strategies in the classroom, it builds accountability, which improves the chances of success. Because students are aware of their strengths and weaknesses, the principle behind accountability will work with any kind of action step. Thus, the basic support structure in a coaching relationship is the progress report.

In Malaysia, the good news is that teachers are already coaching their students via formative assessment.

In coaching, it is essential that we pay attention to the needs of those we are coaching. Active listening is essential. We need to listen to the voices of those we are coaching as they want to be heard. It is tough with educators who feel that they have so much to give as educators and students are not listening to them.

We have to ask ourselves whether students are given a fair chance to be heard.

Are we responding to their voices? Are we relating what we teach to their understanding and their questions? Do we provide them space to voice their opinions?

Our cultures are powerful enough to shape our expectations of ourselves, and engagement with others.

I think it is time that teachers and lecturers in teachers’ training institutes were exposed to coaching strategies.

When I attend coaching workshops, I realise that I have been using some of the strategies and tools.

But humility and cultural sensitivity is essential here to remind educators that they have to venture into this new dimension and apply what is practical based on our multicultural, and multireligious background.

By Dr Vishalache Balakrishnan

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