Archive for the ‘21st Century Teaching and Learning.’ Category

Futures literacy vital for navigating challenges looming ahead

Friday, January 1st, 2021
Image  from Pixabay. For illustration purposes onlyImage from Pixabay. For illustration purposes only

THE concept of literacy means much more than simply being able to read and write. Most of us may be familiar with financial or technological literacy. But, when we speak of futures literacy, we are referring to the area of human imagination.

One can only imagine the future. Futures teach us to harness the power of images of the future, and identify the diverse choices that can lead to different consequences.

Very often, underlying assumptions and fears limit this imagination to create an alternative or preferred futures when, in fact, our imagination is limitless. What inhibits us from freely imagining what the future can be? Past biases, cultural norms and preconceived ideas, just to name a few.

We may have to go through a process of unlearning to unleash the undiscovered power of imagining our desired futures. Speaking to various industry representatives revealed that many prepare for the future, but do so without foresight consciousness. Some claim they have all the data, but are clueless as to how to harness it.

By the time trends are properly qualified, it may be too late to act. Others have miscalculated and are ignorant to the daunting possibility that their organisations may no longer exist in a decade.

They could be “Kodak-ed”. Did the taxi industry foresee the coming of Uber or Grab? Myopia sets in when managements become comfortable with their three-year action plans, which are not based on any upward trajectory aimed at the preferred future.

How do universities stay relevant and even excel? Today, with the new norm, digital onboarding is critical. Many businesses have disappeared because they were unprepared for the pandemic. Institutions that were strong with an online presence landed with a softer thud.

This is a case in point which demonstrates the importance of futures literacy. We cannot predict the future, but we can test probabilities and draw up action plans for different scenarios.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), headquartered in Paris, began building a global futures literacy network in 2012 by identifying local champions in more than 20 countries.

Multiple chairs have been initiated in Finland, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Tunisia, the United Kingdom and Uruguay. The chairs advocate innovative methods or tools of “using-the-future”, while partnering members from the civil society, government and the private sector.

The International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) is proudly the 2020 Candidate for the Unesco Chair in Futures Studies. As such, we were offered to host a booth at the recently organised Unesco High-Level Futures Literacy Summit, which had more than 8,000 registered participants. Exhibitors included 100 institutions showcasing their past, current and forthcoming projects in the area of foresight.

The summit, which began on Dec 8, provided testimonials from around the world that being futures literate changes what people see and do. From high-ranking leaders in the public and private sector to activists, artists, students and professors, the summit showed how people become futures literate and the impact it has on all aspects of life, from dealing with Covid-19 to breaking the reproduction of oppression.

High level speakers had engaged in “futures conversations”, including Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad, the Costa Rican vice-president, ministers from Austria, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, Finland, the Philippines and Sierra Leone. Others included heads of international organisations like the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation director-general, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development secretary-general, Foresight of the European Commission vice-president and professors of universities in China, Egypt, France, Thailand, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

IIUM has taken concrete steps to adopt the foresight framework in its vision and planning. Still, after 37 years, how can IIUM fortify the higher education scenario in Malaysia?

The question had to be addressed urgently. With that in mind, the management embarked on the Futures Scenario Building workshop led by Professor Sohail Inayatullah. The event began with the course leader asking participants honest questions and later breaking them into different groups to represent the different scenarios.

The whole process was meant to map the future in a structured way through identifying emerging issues and trends, understanding their implications, deconstructing metaphors and narratives, creating alternative and preferred futures, as well as designing relevant strategies.

Institutionally, IIUM envisions itself as part of the global Muslim ummah, simultaneously acting as a global citizen, working for humanity.

By Zarina

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Redesign learning

Sunday, May 10th, 2020

Digital content: Increasing accessibility to synchronous and asynchronous on-demand learning is vital. — File photo

THE Covid-19 pandemic has brought about significant changes and impacted economies worldwide. The private education sector isn’t spared.

Now, the biggest challenge is for varsities to swiftly put into place new strategies to generate income and maintain a delicate balance of restructuring to become leaner in their operations while upholding their key propositions. Here are some key strategies to consider:

> University-industry collaborationUniversity-industry collaboration has long been established but there are opportunities for these collaborations to be further strengthened. A win-win method would be to increase the duration of internships with SMEs. This ensures long-term manpower supply for the industry and offers students the space to gain and improve their skills.

In February, the government announced a Covid-19 Emergency Economic Stimulus Package with an allocation of RM100mil to aid affected businesses. This includes provisions to improve the digital skills of employees and funding for short courses. Varsities can develop related programmes as a new source of revenue.

> On-demand learningThe pandemic has accelerated reliance on technology. Hence, the emergence of terms such as emergency pedagogies and pandemic pedagogy, or emergency remote teaching. Lecturers today are grappling to look for the most reliable, accessible and user-friendly platforms for their classroom to ensure learning continuity.

It is imperative that in choosing platforms and alternative teaching methods, we remember that students are central to the learning process.

As such, increasing accessibility to synchronous and asynchronous on-demand learning is vital. Universities having invested vast amounts in their ICT infrastructure, must now optimise their use of these facilities to develop innovative online teaching skills and maintain a high quality of education.

Universities need to transition from emergency remote teaching to quality online learning. With course material content developed and maintained online, over dependency on physical presence of students and staff will be reduced. This enables lifelong learning.

> Curriculum content reformsWe must acknowledge that knowledge is easily acquired with the availability of multiple resource points today. It is a fallacy that students should be taught everything. We must now carefully prioritise and divide content into ‘must know’ knowledge, ‘should know’ knowledge and ‘nice to know’ knowledge.

Educators are not in a position to ‘over-educate’, but to be more prudent in their selection of content within the curriculum.

This will then lead to the transformation of the classroom into an arena for discussions, collaboration and critical thinking while imparting knowledge and personalising teaching and learning for the student.

Educators need to change their mindset by realising that teaching is not tantamount to learning. Learning will have to be redesigned with refined purposes and only then will we be prepared and equipped to navigate the current global situation successfully.


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Skills training goes online

Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

SKILLS training institutes and providers are ready for online learning to be their ‘new normal’.

On April 13, public and private technical and vocational education and training (TVET) providers were given the green light to conduct their training and theory courses online due to the movement control order (MCO).

TVET action committee chairman Nordin Abdul Malek said the guideline (see info-box inside) is important as it provides direction on implementing programmes that are mainly practical in nature, via e-learning.

“Our hands-on programmes make up 70% of the syllabus.

“Without a guideline, it will be difficult for us to adhere to the systems and standards of the National Occupational Skills Standards (NOSS).

“We hope this guideline, although only applicable during the MCO, will be used as a benchmark for relevant agencies within the sector to recognise the rigorous training process our students’ go through.”

E-learning, he said, allows skills training institutes and providers to adapt to the assessment of students by external examiners.

“It should be part of our training system even after the pandemic blows over.

“The Human Resources Ministry department of skills development (JPK) should formally implement this system as internationally, institutes are starting to recognise e-learning for skills training, ” he said, adding that many local providers have the facilities to conduct online learning with platforms like Whatsapp, Zoom and Skype.

Nordin believes e-training should be the ‘new normal’ in Malaysia’s skills training system.

We must act now and see how we can best utilise e-learning in TVET, he said.

Describing virtual education as a teaching methodology for tomorrow, he said e-learning management, teaching and assessment, must however, be improved.

“Related agencies too should consider e-learning as part of the entire training process, ” he said, noting that at least 90% of courses like IT, programming, management systems and administrative management, can be done online.

After the guideline was issued, Nordin said a survey was conducted among private skills training institutes on how they ran their courses online.

“We found that most of them do not have issues conducting online learning and training, and that their students are comfortable with this method as they are accustomed to using gadgets and social media.

“For them, it’s new and fun, ” he said, adding that these institutes recorded an improved e-learning participation rate, with at least 75% of their students joining the sessions.

The guideline is a good initiative, Federation of JPK Accredited Centres (FeMac) president P. Sailanathan said, as it ensures that there will be no serious disruption to learning.

This, he said, is a good time for skills training institutes to embark on technological changes.

“Students are more tech savvy these days. Online learning provides room for freedom on how students want to learn.

“Skills training institutes must ensure that online classes are attractive enough to capture their students’ attention. Going digital is the way forward.”

Change, he said, is inevitable with the fourth industrial revolution and we must adapt or risk losing out. —


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The newspaper and 21st century learning

Sunday, April 26th, 2020

An engaging resource: The newspapers are entirely different from the normal prescribed textbooks and provide a myriad of content for the language learner.

During a Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) workshop I conducted at the 10th Johor English Language Teaching Association conference last year, a young teacher asked me a thought-provoking question.

“Madam,” he said. “In this age of digital technology, does the newspaper really have a place in the English class?”

Having been a loyal advocate of newspapers as a powerful tool in English language teaching (ELT) for over 35 years of my teaching practice, the question got my cerebral wheels spinning.

This was not the first time participants attending my workshops raised the issue of the relevance of NiE in the 21st century classroom.

While the ensuing demos and hands-on activities put this doubt to rest, the fact that such an assumption was present in the minds of young ELT teachers, troubled me.

This article, hopes to address the issue of the assumed irrelevance of newspapers in the 21st century ELT classroom and show how they continue to be a versatile powerhouse for the effective teaching of language.

The assumption of some teachers, that the newspaper is unsuited and an antiquated tool in the 21st century classroom, needs to be dispelled in order that good teaching practices can continue to prevail among teachers of English.

The four C’s

First, let’s look at what the 21st century teaching and learning approach is all about.

As educators, when we hear the term “21st Century Approach”, the four C’s spring to mind.

This entails the four main elements of communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity, all of which revolve around an axis of an interactive and activity oriented methodology that is learner-centered.

Teachers are no longer sages in the classroom, but take on the role of facilitators using digital and non-digital platforms where authenticity rules.

The goal is to engage learners inside and outside the classroom in ways that increase the learners’ concentration, persistence and enthusiasm for learning.

To achieve this goal, teachers are encouraged to use a myriad of resources both technology- based or otherwise.

The authentic factor

In view of this goal of 21st Century Teaching and Learning (T&L), how is the newspaper relevant? Perhaps the words of P.S.Rao in the Veda’s Journal Of English Language And Literature 2019 explains it:

“The print media plays a vital role in promoting the language skills of the ESL/ EFL (English as a second language/ English as a foreign language) learners.

Newspapers and magazines are the most widely used of the media and they expand the curriculum with infinite information to use as authentic materials to learn the English language.”

Two words here are key to the continued relevance of newspapers in the 21st century classroom and those words are ‘authentic material’.

Indeed, newspapers continue to remain relevant in the ELT class today because of this very reason.

As ‘authentic material’, newspapers relate more closely to learners’ needs, for they build a connection between the language classroom and the outside world.

When teachers create activities using newspapers in the class, learners are able to make their own connections and move beyond rote memorisation and recall into deeper thinking and reasoning.

Lessons come alive

I have found from my own experience as an English teacher and workshop facilitator, that when teachers make use of newspapers, they discover novel ways to teach English.

By adopting and adapting various activities in their classrooms using this rich visual resource, even struggling and disengaged learners are motivated to participate in a collaborative and creative manner.

A well-engineered lesson using the newspapers holds exceptional fascination for learners as well as teachers.

Indeed, newspapers, in the hands of resourceful teachers, become living textbooks that hold knowledge and excitement for the 21st century learner.

In the English class, newspapers facilitate the learning of language skills — not only of reading, writing, listening and speaking but grammar and vocabulary as well.

When activities are designed to qualify the four C’s that the 21st century classroom hinges upon, newspapers come alive and learners learn,

Furthermore, newspapers offer a wide range of language contexts, registers, styles and genres of both written as well as spoken discourses.

The materials can certainly enrich the learners’ linguistic knowledge.

Since the authentic materials that are used from the newspapers are entirely different from the normal prescribed textbooks, they reinforce the teaching items taught in the classrooms and they enhance the language skills of the learners immensely.

Easy accessibility

So, does the fact that the newspaper is not a digital resource, make it irrelevant in the 21st century classroom?

I believe this assumption to be baseless.

In the many schools around our nation where access and availability of technological and digital media is limited or problematic, the dynamic teacher can use the reliable and easily accessible newspaper to bring some fun and joy to the language classroom while still adhering to the demands of the 21st century classroom.

The writer is a freelance education consultant-cum-facilitator and a former School Improvement Coach (SISC) with the Education Ministry.

Watch this space next week for NiE activities tapered for parent-child learning.

Moulding Creative 21st Century Students

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

Some of the artwork done by the students of the Faculty of Creative Industries

ACCORDING to the National Educational Blueprint, innovation, critical thinking, and digital learning are some of the key focus areas that will spur excellence in the higher education system. As such, creativity, technology and innovation will lead the way forward, ” said Dr David Tneh Cheng Eng.

“We need to embrace the creative digital economy as well as the 4th Industrial Revolution, ” he added.

As assistant professor and dean of the Faculty of Creative Industries (FCI) at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), Tneh explained that while the education system separates sciences and arts subjects, the trend is heading towards a convergence of different fields.

Educators and students alike should learn how to integrate these and prepare for the next level forward.

The faculty offers an integrated approach that empowers its students to evolve in their choice of careers, thus developing a keen sense towards change and face upcoming trends head on.

FCI offers nine undergraduate programmes, but for this article, Tneh would like to focus on three: Bachelor of Media and Creative Studies (Hons), Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Journalism in Chinese Media and the Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Digital Animation.

Evolving to Industry Changes

The Media and Creative Studies programme focuses on producing students who not only are adaptable but are able to evolve with changes in the industry, especially with the convergence of media in the fields of advertising, media, design and communications.

“As these various fields tend to overlap in multiple areas, we produce students who are really good in tackling those changes.”

This programme is kept in sync with the progress in the creative industry and students learn to develop close ties with industry players in their final year projects. With such closeness, the faculty has links with important industries in Malaysia.

Students in this programme undertake challenging national and global issues such as welfare for the visually challenged, single mothers who need support from the state, global environmental issues and transformative social impact projects.

All of UTAR’s programmes are moderated for quality by a panel of external examiners, and for Media and Creative Studies, these examiners hail from the University of Adelaide.

As the Dean of the Faculty of Creative Industries in UTAR, Dr. David Tneh Cheng Eng stressed the importance of the 21st century education and the convergence of media technology.As the Dean of the Faculty of Creative Industries in UTAR, Dr. David Tneh Cheng Eng stressed the importance of the 21st century education and the convergence of media technology.

Creating Ready Media Savvy Reporters

The Journalism in Chinese Media programme is the only bi-lingual journalism programme in the whole of Malaysia, where 70% of the course is conducted in Mandarin while the remaining 30% in English.

Graduates are highly employable in journalism, radio stations, content writers, mainstream media, publishing houses as well as social media strategist.

Journalism in Chinese Media students are also involved in the respective industries – for instance, they cut a 30-sec snippet every Thursday with 98.8FM and they also run a news portal at – a special website for journalistic articles and podcasts.

These instances allows students to put into practice all they have learnt, going around as reporters covering pertinent stories within Sungai Long, and throughout Selangor.

The website has received about 8,000 likes from the whole of Selangor, which attests to the quality these students have, honing their internet journalism and digital reporting skills.

Developing Talents for the Animation Hub

The Digital Animation programme delves into 3D animation platform, although it also includes 2D, motion graphics, and compositing, with the aim of instructing students to become proficient digital animation programmers.

The programme is accredited by the Malaysian Board of Technologists (MBOT) and the animation industry strongly supported by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) in order to further develop a vibrant creative, digital economy.

As the key driver in the animation industry, MDEC has encouraged the growth of gaming companies in Malaysia, such as WAU Animation, Les’ Copaque, Mischievous Studios, Lemonsky Studios, to name a few and UTAR’s students have been an excellent talent pool for these companies.

This is evident with an increase in locally produced animated programmes such as “Upin & Ipin” and movies such as “Ejen Ali”.

Nurturing Creativity

Tneh pointed out that the Faculty of Creative Industries has over 1,300 students. In addition to the three highlighted programmes above, the faculty also offers programmes such as Broadcasting, Graphic Design, Corporate Communication, Game Design, Game Development, and Early Childhood Education.

With the Ministry of Education move towards STREAM, which includes art and music as part of the technical scientific approach of STEM, future students will understand and come to make choices at an earlier age.

“When they come to UTAR for example, or to FCI, we will help them find their niche in pursuing their passion and interest as Malaysia move towards the digital economy, ” Tneh added.

All labs in UTAR are equipped with iMacs and MacPros, with softwares that are used in the industry; such as Final Cut Pro, Protools, Premier Pro, and Toon Boom Harmony.

Industrial Partnerships to Benefit Students

Like most tertiary institutions and private colleges and universities, UTAR goes beyond merely offering internships; it builds partnerships so that industry advisors, company owners and CEOs can provide constructive feedback to students for their final year projects.

“We forge a bond with them and we even invite professionals from industries to give talks in order to provide students a look of what is happening in the working world and the demands of the industry, ” explained Tneh.

UTAR students can also spend a semester or two abroad, doing internships internationally with UTAR’s over 350 MOU partners. In addition, Tneh pointed out UTAR provides quality education with excellent internship opportunities. Students are expected to be creative in their problem-solving, multi-tasking and people management.

“That’s why we stress on creativity and digital technology, ” Tneh said. “Our courses are actually geared towards that – we also try our best to develop individuals with integrity and humility.”

As human development is a crucial component in any institution be it corporate or higher learning, the faculty is formed as a close-knit family, distinguished by the strong bond between academic staff and the students.

It has a faculty strength of 125 academic staff which enables smaller classes with a ratio of 1 instructor to 10 students, and that allows for better teacher-student interaction.

The UTAR graduate employability university-wide stands at around 95%, within six months after graduation and students who participated in internships overseas received good reviews from their employers. This shows the university and faculty are on the right track.

“We always focus on developing our staff as well as our students, ” Tneh concluded.

A Young University with a Global Reputation

UTAR has always been a home-grown institution that is impressively ranked second in Malaysia, in the distinguished Times World University Rankings 2020.

The university imparts important skills onto the students, through the live projects they complete, the close links forged with the creative industries, with the assurance from external examiners and visits from the industry leaders.

In order to equip its students for a creatively demanding job environment of the 21st century, UTAR equips its students with skills such as project management, effective communication, technology literacy, collaborative skills, and creative problem-solving.

For details on the programmes highlighted here, visit UTAR’s Faculty of Creative Industries webpage at

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Tap into 21st century skills

Thursday, October 17th, 2019
Given the widespread availability of information today, students no longer need educators to lecture them because information is readily available and often in more engaging formats than a typical classroom lecture. PIC BY ROSELA ISMAIL

THE term 21st century skills refers to a broad set of knowledge, skills, work habits and character traits that are believed by educators, school reformers, college professors and employers to be critically important to succeed in today’s world, particularly in collegiate programmes and contemporary careers and workplaces.

Generally speaking, 21st century skills can be applied in all academic subject areas, and in all educational, career and civic settings throughout a student’s life.

It should be noted that the “21st century skills” concept encompasses a wide-ranging and amorphous body of knowledge and skills that is not easy to define and that has not been officially codified or categorised.

While the term is widely used in education, it is not always defined consistently, which can lead to confusion and divergent interpretations.

In addition, a number of related terms, including various skills in applied, cross curricular, cross disciplinary, interdisciplinary, non-cognitive and soft skills, amongst others, are also widely used in reference to the general forms of knowledge and skills commonly associated with 21st century skills.

Increasing graduation rates and levels of educational attainment will accomplish little if students do not master 21st century skills.

As Rohiman Haroon wrote in his article “Of Reskilling, Upskilling Youths”, graduates need to be reskilled and upskilled in every sense of the word, according to the requirement of the industry.

Yet, efforts over the last several years have focused much more on increasing the number of students who go to college than on improving the education they receive once they get there.

By concentrating so heavily on graduation rates and attainment levels, policy-makers are ignoring danger signs that the amount that students learn in college may have declined over the past few decades and could well continue to do so in the years to come.

To truly improve teaching of 21st century skills over time in a sustainable way, it’s more about mindset, curiosity and a sense of progress and belonging.

All good educators comprehend that imparting 21st century skills require constructing a bridge between what students know and what they need to learn. However, to do that requires embracing students’ cultural backgrounds which has largely been left out of current debates on what makes teaching effective.

If you don’t know anything about the everyday living experiences of your students — the cultural backgrounds, the dialects, the family, the home and the community — educators tend to pull the examples for teaching from their own experiences.

And, hence, those connections are not made for students.

Culturally responsive pedagogy starts with the premise that diversity matters, and that some institutions fail to send diverse students signals that they belong.

To make sure all students feel valued, educators need to be aware of their own biases, work deeply to understand their individual students, find ways to bring students’ heritage into the classroom and hold all students to a high academic standard.

Being very knowledgeable in one’s field of study is also a crucial stepping stone to impart 21st- century skills.

It’s true that even the most successful educators don’t know everything. But, the more one knows, the easier it will be to teach students and to offer them prompt answers to their questions.

Learning never stops and that’s why, being an educator, one needs to feed their mind with as much information as it can take in. Remember that students always prefer consulting educators who are known to possess in-depth knowledge about a specific field. Knowledge indicates authenticity.

In today’s world, information and knowledge are increasing at such an astronomical rate that no one can learn everything about every subject. What may appear true today could be proven to be false tomorrow, and the jobs that students will get after they graduate may not yet exist.

For this reason, students need to be taught how to process information, and they need adaptable skills they can apply in all areas of life — just teaching them ideas and facts, without teaching them how to use them in real-life settings, is no longer enough.

Educators need to adapt and develop new ways of teaching and learning that reflect a changing world.

The purpose of education should be to prepare students for success after graduation, and therefore institutions need to prioritise the knowledge and skills that will be in the greatest demand, such as 21st century skills deemed to be the most important by employers.

Merely teaching students to perform well is no longer sufficient. Given the widespread availability of information today, students no longer need educators to lecture them because that information is readily available, and often in more engaging formats than a typical classroom lecture.

For this reason, educators should use class time to teach students how to use information, rather than present information.

In such a setting, educators can leverage on technology to create an engaging and personalised environment to meet the emerging educational needs of this generation. No longer does learning have to be one-size-fits-all or confined to the classroom.

The opportunities afforded by technology should be used to re-imagine 21st century skills, focusing on preparing students to be learners for life.

By R. Murali Rajaratenam.

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Govt launches Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 to ‘turbo-charge’ economy

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

(FMT) – Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today launched Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 (SPV 2030) outlining the government’s plans for the future.

Mahathir said SPV 2030 will be fullly implemented from 2021.

“In 2021, we will hit the ground running and pursue the Shared Prosperity Vision full steam,” he said at the launch at KLCC this morning.

SPV 2030, he said, aimed at achieving fairer economic growth and adding value to the economy, making Malaysia attractive once more to foreign investors.

Mahathir said the global economy had changed much over the years and while Malaysia had successfully transformed from an agricultural to industrial nation, it was now time for the next step.

Sadly, he said the economic development direction in the past decade, which saw premature liberalisation, the pursuit of gross domestic product (GDP) values and a high-income nation, had turned the country into a low-value economy with a high reliance on cheap and low-skilled labour.

He said this was proven when more than 60% of the jobs created in the past decade were low-skilled with an average salary of less than RM2,000.

“The effect of the economic structure in the past two decades actually widened inequality among the people, be it among income, ethnic and regional classes and even within the supply chain.

“The gap between the Top 20% and Bottom 40% widened from RM2,000 in 1990 to more than RM10,000 in 2016.”

Mahathir also cited the growing inequality among Bumiputeras and non-Bumiputera, urban and rural areas, and between East and West Malaysia.

He said corporate equity data up to 2015 showed Bumiputera equity dropped to 16.2% while non-Bumiputera equity dropped to 30.7%, and foreign equity increased to 45.3%.

In 2011, he said, Bumiputera equity stood at 23.4% while non-Bumiputera equity stood at

So, Mahathir said, the Bumiputera equity target of 30% under the New Economic Policy has yet to be met.

As result of this and corruption, he said the Bumiputera empowerment agenda has been affected and that the blame lay with corruption and abuse rather than the Bumiputera agenda itself.

Shared prosperity, he said, meant that no one was left behind and this included the Bumiputeras, who were lagging behind other communities.

“At the same time, as I always stress, the Bumiputeras should not just wait for the government’s help and support.

“When we understand we are left behind, we need to realise we need to run faster to chase those ahead of us.”

He called on the people to work towards realising the goals of SPV 2030.

Also present at today’s launch were Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali and Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Mahathir first announced SPV 2030 a few months ago but until today, there have been few details.

The objectives of the 10-year roadmap, from 2021 to 2030, are to ensure development for all, address wealth and income disparities and build a united, prosperous and dignified nation.

Among its key targets is for Malaysia to attain a RM3.4 trillion gross domestic product (GDP), employee wages to be at 48% of GDP, an equal salary median among the races and a Gini Coeficient of 0. 34, down from 0.39 in 2016.

SPV 2030 has seven strategic thrusts, consisting of a business and industry ecosystem, key economic growth activities (KEGA), human capital, labour market and compensation of employees, social wellbeing, regional inclusion and social capital.

Each of these thrusts has its own targets like SME and microbusinesses contributing to 50% of GDP, the building of new sectors like renewable energy, and Islamic Finance Hub 2.0.

It also targets 60% of SPM leavers to pursue TVET, a discrimination-free labour market, the measuring of poverty using a relative poverty index, and the introduction of a religious harmony index, among others.

On top of that, SPV 2030 also outlines specific KEGAs for each state, including being logistics or financial hubs, eco tourism and heritage tourism, manufacturing or agriculture.

By MT Webmaster.

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Changing the classroom and beyond

Saturday, September 21st, 2019
Teach For Malaysia fellow Kuan May Yin (left) and the Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching (right) co-teaching Geography to Form Two students at SMK Pendamaran Jaya, Klan

LOCATED in Klang, the locals used to regard SMK Pendamaran Jaya (SMKPJ) as a school for hoodlums until Teach for Malaysia (TFM), a nonprofit organisation aiming to help children in Malaysia attain an excellent education, started sending its “fellows” to this school.

The fellows are actually young graduates and professionals recruited to teach at highneed public schools for a period of two years.

Since 2012, SMKPJ has hosted 11 TFM fellows. Currently, four fellows are working there with multiple TFM alumni programmes to empower the students.

“Ever since the TFM programme started, the school’s standard has increased,” said Yap Lee Sin, the father of Yap Wei Cheng, a former SMKPJ student.

Yap, who works as a fisherman, said that he has observed a lot of positive changes in his son.

“He has learnt to embrace different cultures and religions. Even now as a school alumnus, Wei Cheng still comes here every Saturday to help students in science and technology.”

For Yap Wei Cheng, 18, his experience with TFM started in Form Three when a fellow, Loh Chee Hoo, began to teach him Mandarin.

“Instead of just referring to the textbook, he would teach us about Chinese values, history and culture. Sir Loh has really impacted my life.

“His best advice to me was to respect everyone equally and not to label or demonise others,” said Yap.

Having been involved with a TFM alumni programme called Chumbaka, Yap was able to undergo life-skills training through technology.

“Through Chumbaka, I learnt about innovation, entrepreneurship and problemsolving. As a result of the training, my group members Yus Amirul Wafiq and Shahril Hashim, and I, came up with an invention called Bonus Clean.

“The invention rewards students with points which they can redeem for items sold at the school co-op, like food and stationery.

“We wanted to encourage students to throw rubbish in the bin to keep the environment clean. Bonus Clean has also brought us to international-level competitions such as The Kuala Lumpur Engineering Science Fair,” said Yap.

Aspiring to be an engineer, Yap said that Chumbaka has taught him leadership skills and teamwork.

“Aside from entrepreneurship and innovation, I also developed a better understanding of the Malaysian society.

Working with my diverse team, I was able to learn more about them and the different races in the nation. It was a great opportunity

for us to collaborate with each other.”

Yap added that the most important lesson he has received from TFM fellows is empathy.

“Think before you speak and feel before you judge. Last year, while I was mentoring my juniors, I realised that some of them

have family problems or mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. It’s important to have teachers who listen to students,” said Yap.

SMKPJ fifth former Jeetha Nagantheran, 17, said that TFM fellows always set up interactive games in class to encourage critical thinking.

“For example, in Form One, I really loved learning English with a TFM fellow, Mr Gabriel Samson. He implemented a reward and penalty system, which motivated me to read more and speak up in class.

“Each time we answered his questions, we’d receive a token to participate in a lucky draw. He gave us stationery and food as presents.”

The experience helped Jeetha to break out of her shell.

“After studying with Mr Gabriel, I became more confident. I learnt that it’s important to voice out your ideas and share them.”

Jeetha also took part in an alumni programme called Project ID (Impianku Destinasiku) which she regarded as an eye-opening experience.

“We were only 13, so we hadn’t really thought about our future. But Project ID gave us the opportunity to go to Kidzania and meet lecturers from universities. We were also exposed to various education pathways and careers,” said Jeetha.

Founded by the 2012 cohort of TFM fellows, Project ID prepares students for their future careers through workshops and activities.

Jeetha Nagantheran

A Food Technology graduatefrom Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kuan May Yin, 26, teaches Geography at SMKPJ.

Teaching had never crossed Kuan’s mind until her coursemate died while they were in the final year of their studies.

“It made me think about my purpose in life. I believe that I have a mission to help others. When it comes to the education system, Malaysians like to complain on

social media. It shows that we care and are concerned. So, I thought to myself, why don’t I turn that feeling into action?”

Having learnt a lot as a teacher, she said: “At school, I don’t deal with robots or computers, but I work with different children every day.

“I learnt that respect is earned. When I step into the classroom, I need to show that I respect my students. When you show your respect and love for them genuinely, they’ll return it.

“I also learnt to love the students who are the hardest to love. There are students who don’t bring their books and always come in late, but they have hard stories to tell. From divorced parents to abusive families, I’ve heard it all when they open up to me.”

Kuan added that teachers can leave an impact on the most difficult of students.

“One day, while I was teaching, I struggled to raise my voice as the class next door was very noisy. Then, a student, who always misbehaves in class, asked for my permission to go to the washroom. He actually went next door and told the students to keep quiet.

“I didn’t ask him to do it, but he took the initiative to help me. It was a very powerful moment as it shows that students are capable of making a change despite coming from challenging backgrounds.”

On Aug 1, Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching joined Kuan to co-teach a Geography lesson at SMKPJ.

The session was held as part of the annual TFM Week, where key leaders are invited to spend time as teachers in underprivileged schools.


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5G: Five things to know

Monday, May 20th, 2019
5G is already available in South Korea and for fixed Internet lines in some US cities. It is also available in parts of Estonia, Finland and Switzerland. — AP

5G is already available in South Korea and for fixed Internet lines in some US cities. It is also available in parts of Estonia, Finland and Switzerland. — AP

PARIS/LONDON: It is heralded as an essential step to a brave new world of technology, but in the here and now, super-fast 5G networking is already pitting China against the West.

Here are five things to know about the fifth-generation successor to today’s 4G technology, which is a decade old and struggling to keep pace with global broadband demand.

What is 5G?

5G promises radically quicker transfers of data, instigating major changes to an array of products and services from self-driving cars to “telemedicine”.

The market for streaming videogames, a rapidly growing area, will get a huge lift, as will the “Internet of Things” – domestic appliances, lighting and other at-home technologies connected and operated remotely.

It’s not just about speed of downloads and uploads. 5G promises much lower “latency” than 4G. That is the time lag between a command being sent by a user and a device acting on it.

In the real world, that brings into play the possibility of factory robots being operated remotely or surgeons operating on patients from far away using augmented reality glasses.

The most visible gain from lower latency could be with the widespread advent of self-driving cars. But these will need 5G networks to cover large areas, which is some way off.

When’s it coming?

5G is already here in South Korea and for fixed internet lines in some US cities. It is also available in parts of Estonia, Finland and Switzerland.

The global breakthrough – widespread ultra-fast mobile networks on a par with 4G today – is still in the works.

Japan and China are targeting 2020 for nationwide rollouts. The rest of Asia and Europe will follow over the decade.

But mobile communications industry body GSMA, which represents 800 operators worldwide, estimates 5G will account for just 15% of total global mobile connections in 2025.

And when will most of us see 5G smartphones? China’s Huawei was set to launch a 5G phone May 16 in London.

But broad adoption by consumers depends on 5G networks spreading far enough, and for the handhelds’ chips and other architecture to be capable of handling the added workload.

5G, give us a wave

Governments first need to harmonise standards for the award of so-called millimetre-wave (mmWave) spectrum, which will carry the vast data flows promised by 5G.

That high-frequency mmWave spectrum starts at about 30 gigahertz. In contrast, 4G networks operate at lower than 6 GHz.

That means not only ultra-fast broadband but also much greater bandwidth for many more users and devices to be connected to the network at the same time.

Who’s building it?

To bring the promised speeds to the masses, 5G requires a whole new infrastructure of masts, base stations and receivers.

Among the networking companies in the race are Huawei, Sweden’s Ericsson and Nokia of Finland. South Korean giant Samsung and China’s ZTE are other infrastructure players.

Huawei says it offers better technology at a lower cost. The Chinese leader, however, is hitting hurdles in the global race.

What’s the fuss?

The US government says Huawei – founded by former Chinese army engineer Ren Zhengfei – is a security risk and has urged allies including Britain to shun its equipment over fears it could serve as a Trojan horse for Chinese intelligence services.

The US government has banned all federal agencies from acquiring Huawei equipment. Others including Australia, Japan and India have followed suit.

Against the backdrop of a US-China trade war, on May 14 US President Donald Trump went further by effectively barring Huawei from the US market.

China then formally arrested two Canadians already being held on suspicion of stealing state secrets in a case seen as retaliation over Canada’s arrest of a Huawei executive on a US extradition request.

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English teacher who turns classroom into a beach wins PAK21 teacher campaign

Friday, April 5th, 2019
Dr Maszlee Malik (second from left) presenting the prize to the winner of the 21st Century Learning Teachers Campaign (PAK21) Muhammad Nazmi Rosli (second from right) at the prize giving ceremony accompanied by Datuk Dr Mohd Gazali Abas (left) and Datuk Dr Amin Senin (right). NSTP/MOHD FADLI HAMZAH.

PUTRAJAYA: With pupils having little to no access to the outside world, English teacher Muhammad Nazmi Rosli from Sarawak decided to bring the world into the classroom. He transformed his classroom into a beach, hospital and pet shop to let the pupils capture the experience being in those places and situations.

Muhammad Nazmi was announced the winner of 21st Century Learning Teachers Campaign (PAK21) – a campaign organised by the Ministry of Education through the Education Performance and Delivery Unit (PADU).

His school, Sekolah Kebangsaan Long Sukang in Lawas is tucked in green mountains about 660 kilometers away from Kuching.

“The pupils have never seen a beach so I decided to bring the beach to them. Once they are exposed to the outside world, they are allowed to dream bigger dreams and believe that they could do more.

The resourceful teacher added that he made use of old boxes and plastic bags lying around the school grounds in creating the props.

PAK21 is an initiative to get teachers to incorporate simple yet different ways of teaching that will help to foster communication, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and values and ethics amongst their students.

“Some assumed that PAK21 is all about technology but, I wanted to prove that providing the best education is possible even without technology and access to the internet,” he added.

Present at the closing ceremony were Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik, Education director-general Datuk Dr Amin Senin and Education Ministry secretary general Datuk Dr Mohd Gazali Abas.

In his speech, Maszlee said the campaign was introduced to find an extraordinary teacher applying PAK21 into their classrooms. He added that teachers who went the extra mile deserve recognition and should be an inspiration to others.

“They are the backbone of change and deserve our appreciation, admiration and gratitude.”

The minister called for all teachers to continue fighting the good fight until every student feels the impact of PAK21.

He said there is a need to shift to 21st century learning methods as they teach transferable skills that are irreplaceable by the threat of automation.

Citing the Khazanah Research Institute’s recent ‘School-to-Work’ study, he said that employers are looking out for a mastery of soft skills like communication and collaboration to scale up the value chain, which are taught through PAK21.

A Science teacher of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Jerlun, Kedah, Norhailmi Abdul Mutalib emerged as first runner-up while English teacher at SMK Pasir Gudang, Johor, Emira Nabila Ramli won the third place.


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