Archive for the ‘Cluster Schools’ Category

High Performance Schools The Choice Of Many Parents

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

SUBANG JAYA: — Many parents believe that teachers are responsible for students’ performance in schools.

However, parents fail to understand that teachers have limitations too.

Hence, it is important for parents to work closely with their children to improve their performance.


There are 10,066 schools in Malaysia that include 7,733 primary and 2,333 secondary schools, according to Ministry of Education.

One of them is Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) USJ 12, a secondary school that caters for children of residents in the USJ3, USJ11 and USJ12.

This school received its cluster status in 2011.

A cluster school of excellence is a merit system implemented in Malaysia.

This standing is given to schools with high-performing students, which in turn gives greater autonomy in the area of administration.

Big Classes:

SMK USJ12 headmistress Zaharah Ishak said this year, 503 students have been enrolled in Form One in this cluster school, where 11 classes have been opened to accommodate this high number of students.

“We have big classes now, not less than 45 students to each class for Form One new enrolment. We have about 2,203 students from Form One to Form Five”.

The school has 11 classes each in Forms One, Two and Three and 12 classes each for Form Four and Form Five,” Zaharah explained.

This cluster school has 111 teachers to educate students of all races and from all walks of life.

SMK USJ12 is very popular among parents especially those with children who are on entering secondary school after completing their UPSR examination.

Students in the school are disciplined too, which is an important element of a cluster school.

According to the Selangor Education Department, there are more than 10 cluster schools (both primary and secondary) in the Petaling Perdana district.


Why do parents choose these cluster schools for their children?

An officer at the Ministry of Education explained that schools of excellence in the cluster schools category are result-oriented.

These schools have sufficient resources and manage their finances well.

There are 153 cluster schools in this country including 46 primary and 107 secondary national schools.

They include boarding and national-type schools in rural and urban areas.

In total, 213 schools nationwide are acknowledged for their academic and co-curriculum excellence, and 60 of them have been categorised as High Achievers.

All these schools have achieved the Band 1 standard with regard to academic programme and co-curriculum activities.


“I am the type who will push students to perform during their exams especially the students in examination years. We still have the Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) examination for our third formers to concentrate on at least for one last time this year.

by Hazlinda Hamzah


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Another 15 Get ‘Cluster Schools Of Excellence’ Status

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

PUTRAJAYA: Fifteen schools received the Cluster Schools of Excellence status from the Education Ministry Monday.

The recognition was under Phase Six of the programme which has accorded the same to 167 schools so far, said Education director-general Datuk Seri Abdul Ghafar Mahmud.

“All schools which have received the recognition will be given a special allocation to excel individually,” he said in his speech at the award ceremony here.

He said, with this concept, any school which performs well both in academics and co-curriculum would be provided with the recognition, assistance and best educational opportunity from the government.

The group of 15 comprised seven secondary schools and eight primary schools.

The secondary schools were, Sekolah Menengah (SM) Sains Sultan Muhammad Jiwa, Sungai Petani, Kedah; SM Sains, Dungun, Terengganu; SM Kebangsaan Seafield, Subang Jaya, Selangor; SM Sains Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah and SM Kebangsaan Alor Akar, both in Pahang; and SM Tinggi Kluang and SM Kebangsaan (P) Sultan ABu Bakar in Johor.

And the eight primary schools, Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Convent Infant Jesus 1, Melaka; SK Taman Bukit Maluri Kuala Lumpur; SK Agama Sibu Sarawak; SK Seliau Rantau Negeri Sembilan; SK USJ2 Subang Jaya, Selangor; Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan (SRK) Seri Indera Kangar Perlis and two schools in Penang SK Minden Height Gelugor and SRK Cina Kwang Hwa.


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300 Schools To Be Upgraded As Excellent Cluster Schools By 2015

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

PUTRAJAYA:  The Education Ministry is targeting to create 300 cluster excellent schools (SKK) by the year 2015, Education director-general Datuk Abd Ghafar Mahmud said.

He said to date, 124 schools had been upgraded to SKK level, including 30 schools today while 26 others had already been recognised as high performance schools (SBT) earlier.

According to him, 16 SKK schools had already been moved to SBT cohort 1 schools in 2010, while 10 other SKK schools had become SBT cohort 2 schools, last February.

“I hope those in the SKK category will become the role models to guide other nearby schools and be examples of excellent schools at the national and international levels,” he said.

Abd Ghafar said this when announcing 30 schools which had been upgraded to SKK level at the SKK Phase 4 recognition ceremony here.

Johor emerged as the leading state in the SKK list with four schools while Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Kelantan followed with three schools each, Melaka, Sabah, Kuala Lumpur and Pahang (two each) and Penang, Kedah, Sarawak, Federal territory of Labuan, Kedah and Terengganu (one each).

Abd Ghafar said the success of several schools had to be used as models like SMK Sultan Ismail Johor Bahru which had won a gold and a bronze in the 2nd Apec Future Scientist Conference, in Thailand while SMS Selangor, SMS Hulu Selangor and the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Islamic College (KISAS)won a gold, a silver and two bronze at the Korea Science Academy, in Busan under the Student’s Camp for Gifted in Science Programme.


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Defining the best

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

HOW does one decide what makes a school the best in the country?

On the surface of it, the answer might seem simple: it is the school that produces the best academic results.

After all, isn’t education about producing knowledgeable youths who are able to contribute to the betterment of society?

And isn’t the best and fairest measure of such knowledge public exams set by a central governing authority?

Schools like SMK Convent Bukit Nanas, which have renowned alumni like Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz (left), were not among the 20 HPS announced recently. — File photo

The answer, as educationists will tell you, is no.

Educating our young ones is far more than just stuffing academic knowledge into their brains.

It is, as anyone in the Education Ministry will say, about the holistic development of a person — holistic meaning the entire physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual package.

So, the best school in the country should be the one that is producing the very best all-rounded students.

To get back to the original question, how does one measure this type of achievement?

For the Education Ministry, they have condensed it down to six criteria (see table): excellent academic achievement, well-known alumni, consistent participation in national and international-level competitions, linkages with colleges and universities, networks with other local and international schools, and having been measured against national and international benchmarks.

These are the standards that have been set for the selection of High Performing Schools (HPS), which are part of the National Key Result Areas (NKRA) for education as announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak last year.

Twenty schools have already been announced as the first batch of HPS (see graphic).

Thirty more are expected to announced next year and 50 by 2012, to make up a total of 100 in three years.

Criteria query

Residential secondary schools like Sekolah Sultan Alam Shah have the advantage over day schools in terms of high-achieving students as the best Year Six and Form Three students nationwide vie to get into these schools. — File photo

With an annual extra allocation of RM700,000 and more autonomy at stake for the school, not to mention individual financial rewards for staff members, it is not surprising that the concept and selection criteria for the HPS has come under close scrutiny.

In particular, the yardstick of having a track record of developing influential and successful individuals has been questioned.

Said United Chinese School Committees Association of Malaysia (Dong Zong) deputy chairman Chow Siew Hon: “We wouldn’t know if any of the students will end up being a famous scientist or not when they grow up.

“All we can do is provide them with a solid foundation while in school, and help them maximise their potential.”

Another experienced educationist agreed, saying that the criterion did not consider late bloomers.

“Someone who didn’t do well in school might do well later on in life,” she said.

A current principal also pointed out the practical difficulty of keeping track of all their alumni.

“Some of our students go overseas and might be doing really well for themselves, but we wouldn’t know about them.”

Schools, Chow said, should see the ability to achieve the HPS status as a bonus, not as a target.

“It would be great if they could make it on the list or are able to produce successful alumni 20 years down the road.

“But I feel the primary role of schools should be to provide students with quality education that is student-centred,” he said.

He also cautioned against the idea of elitism, saying that parents would rush to enrol their children in those schools that have been selected as HPS.

“The intention of identifying the HP schools might have been good one.

“However, in my opinion, the plan might backfire and demotivate schools that did not make it on the list,” he said.

It has been reported that the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Hua Zong) had expressed its disappointment and puzzlement that no Chinese primary school was picked as one of the 20 HPS.

Why not us?

Its president Tan Sri Pheng Yin Huah said the selection criteria raised doubts as several Chinese primary schools had done well in all aspects.

‘’Irrespective of hardware and software or in terms of academic and co-curricular activities, students of Chinese primary schools have done reasonably well in comparison with other schools,’’ he was quoted as saying.

Complaints that schools from East Malaysia and Pahang were left out have also been reported.

The fact that premier schools like St John’s Institution, Convent Bukit Nanas and Penang Free School, which seemingly fulfil the criteria for the HPS, have not made the list also raises a few eyebrows.

One educationist pointed out that residential schools had an advantage over other schools in terms of performing well.

Most schools do not have much of a choice over their student intake, whereas residential schools have their pick of the best Year Six and Form Three students every year.

This factor, she said, should be taken into consideration when evaluating a school’s performance.

Half of the 20 HPS are residential schools.

Many people also see similarities between the concepts of cluster schools and high performing schools as they both have similar objectives, that is to spur outstanding schools to achieve world-class standards and improving students’ learning outcomes.

Said the educationist: “I think there is no need for high performing schools as we already have cluster schools. If you are a cluster school, then that means you are already a high performing school.”

Cluster schools was one of the six key strategies under the ministry’s National Education Blueprint 2006-2010 launched by then Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

According to the blueprint, around 300 cluster schools were to be identified and provided with increased autonomy, funding and training for school heads, in order to be a benchmark for other schools and equal to schools in developed nations.

So far, 120 cluster schools have been identified, 16 of which were also chosen as HPS.

by Tan Shiow Chin and Tan Ee Loo.

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Apa sudah jadi kepada Sekolah Kluster

Thursday, February 4th, 2010
Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia (KPM) ingin merujuk kepada SMS “SUANPIT:BHA27484”, dalam akhbar Berita Harian bertarikh 27 Januari 2010 (Apa sudah jadi kepada Sekolah Kluster yang disenaraikan beberapa tahun lalu?).

SEKOLAH KLUSTER KECEMERLANGAN (SKK) ialah sekolah yang cemerlang dalam klusternya dari aspek pengurusan sekolah dan kemenjadian murid. Pada konsepnya, Sekolah Kluster Kecemerlangan ialah sekolah yang cemerlang dalam kelompoknya, yang dapat melahirkan murid yang menyeluruh dalam aspek akademik, kokurikulum, sahsiah dan penampilan diri serta pengurusan sekolah. Sekolah ini juga mempunyai bidang kebitaraan (niche area) yang menggambarkan watak sekolah selaras dengan Teras Strategik Ke-6 dalam Pelan Induk Pembangunan Pendidikan (PIPP).

SEKOLAH BERPRESTASI TINGGI (SBT) ditakrifkan sebagai sekolah yang mempunyai etos, watak, identiti tersendiri dan unik serta menyerlah dalam semua aspek pendidikan. Sekolah ini mempunyai tradisi budaya kerja yang sangat tinggi dan cemerlang dengan modal insan nasional yang berkembang secara holistik dan berterusan serta mampu berdaya saing di persada antarabangsa dan menjadi sekolah pilihan utama. Rumusnya, sekolah yang diiktiraf sebagai SBT ialah sekolah yang terbaik di Malaysia, dipilih mengikut keperluan, berupaya untuk bersaing di peringkat antarabangsa.

RASIONAL pewujudan SKK adalah untuk mengenal pasti dan mewujudkan pusat kecemerlangan dengan kebitaraan tertentu, manakala SBT pula diwujudkan atas rasional untuk mengenal pasti dan mewujudkan sekolah- sekolah di Malaysia yang kompetatif di peringkat antarabangsa.

Sehingga kini telah wujud 120 buah SKK di seluruh negara. SKK sudah berada pada Fasa 3 dan sedang melangkah ke Fasa 4 untuk meneruskan kesinambungannya.

Walaupun pencalonan SBT terbuka kepada semua jenis sekolah yang ada di negara ini, ternyata 16 daripada 20 buah sekolah yang menerima pengiktirafan sebagai SBT pada tahun 2010, telah dinobatkan sebagai sekolah kluster kecemerlangan sama ada pada Fasa 1, Fasa 2 dan Fasa 3. Kolej Tuanku Kurshiah (TKC) contohnya, akan mewakili negara dalam Pertandingan Wind Orchestra Dunia di Beijing pada bulan September 2010 dan mewakili Malaysia dalam Pertandingan Rekacipta dan Inovasi Ke Amerika Syarikat pada tahun ini. The Malay College Kuala Kangsar, berjaya menganjurkan program World Youth Summit, Sekolah Dato’ Abdul Razak akan mewakili Malaysia dalam Pertandingan F1 In School di Singapura dan Kejohanan Rugbi Cobra 10-CIMB di Australia pada tahun ini. Manakala Sekolah Sultana Asma, telah menjuarai KL World Marching Band Competition, International Marching Band, Perade (KL Word Marching Band), Gold Medal Award With Honest dan Best Horn Line (KL Marching Band) serta menerima anugerah Johan Pertandingan Pancaragam Sekolah Menengah Malaysia pada tahun 2007. Kejayaan yang dipaparkan ini cuma sebahagian sahaja, banyak lagi kejayaan lain yang telah diraih oleh SKK sehingga kini. Selain mencipta kecemerlangan dalam bidang kebitaraan masing-masing, SKK tersebut telah menunjukkan prestasi cemerlang dalam akademik dan penarafan Standard Kualiti Pendidikan Malaysia antara yang menjadi kayu ukur penilaian untuk SKK dan SBT.

Sungguhpun kriteria pemilihan tidak menetapkan hanya SKK yang layak diiktiraf sebagai Sekolah Berprestasi Tinggi, namun SKK menjadi frame work kepada SBT dalam usaha untuk terus melonjakkan kecemerlangan institusi pendidikan negara dan melahirkan pemimpin bertaraf dunia. Dalam maksud yang lebih jelas SKK akan bergerak seiring dengan SBT.

28 JANUARI 2010

Goggle-eyed over choice of schools

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

THE first 20 high-performance schools have been named. There are primary, secondary and fully-residential schools among them, spread across several states. (What a proud achievement for my alma mater, SK Convent Kota, Taiping!)

But questions have been percolating in the afterglow of the initial triumph. What does such an achievement entail? What does “high-performance school” mean?

We know the official answers: these top schools get special privileges, and more autonomy and money.

But how are they different from the other types of schools announced by ministers past?

There were cluster schools and premier schools, and Vision schools and smart schools before them. And most recently, there have been “hot” schools.

Parents are understandably goggle-eyed over the variety of schools we have in the country. And these are just the public schools.

What are the implications of their children being in a particular type of school?

Does enrolment in a “hot” school necessarily mean a student will end up a Mat Rempit, triad taiko, pirate DVD seller, or worse?

Here, as a public service, is a guide to the various types of government schools we now have in our education system:

- High-Performance Schools: These are outstanding schools that will be given special annual allocations and increased autonomy in staffing, enrolment and curriculum.

- Cluster Schools: These are outstanding schools that are given special annual allocations and increased autonomy in staffing, enrolment and curriculum. (Sounds familiar?) Sixty schools were designated cluster schools two months ago, bringing the total to 120. Some cluster schools are also high-performance schools.

- Smart Schools: Simply put, these are schools equipped with Internet access and computer labs, the better to introduce students to information and communications technology as “a culture in education”. Eleven years after being introduced, smart schools are still grappling with the essence of being smart. Some smart schools are cluster as well as high-performance schools.

Confused yet? There’s more. We also have:

- Premier Schools: These are schools more than a century old. They excel in academics and co-curricular activities and have produced many national leaders, corporate figures, professionals, sportsman and scholars.

In 2008, four such premier schools — SMK Victoria and SMK Convent Bukit Nanas in Kuala Lumpur, SMK St Thomas in Kuching and SM All Saints in Kota Kinabalu — were honoured with special sets of stamps and first-day covers by Pos Malaysia Berhad. Curiously, none of them made the cut as high-performance schools.
- Vision Schools: These involved putting a national school and one or two other vernacular schools together at the same site to share common facilities such as the school canteen and sports grounds. It was hoped that the proximity of students of other races would encourage greater interaction among them and foster national unity.

This encountered strenuous resistance from Chinese schools. There are now eight Vision Schools nationwide, but only three — Subang Jaya, Lurah Bilut in Pahang and Teluk Sengat in Johor — comprise national, Chinese and Tamil schools.

- Controlled Schools: Top schools where the number and quality of students enrolled are “controlled”.

That’s not the end of it. There are also:

- Central Schools: Schools with boarding facilities to accommodate students from villages in the interior of Sabah and Sarawak; and,

- Sports Schools: Incubators for potential sports champions. Talented students are groomed in these schools with proper guidance from experts.

And, of course, there are the “hot” schools — those the police have an eye on because of indiscipline, crime and social problems among students. Needless to say, parents will not be scrambling to enrol their children in such schools.

Placing schools in specific categories will definitely raise their profile and perhaps, in time, help them attract students of all races.

The Education Ministry wants to memperkasakan sekolah kebangsaan (making national schools the school of choice), after all.

Some cluster schools are already getting a deluge of applications from non-Malay students, so much so they have waiting lists as long as that of a famous golfer’s conquests.

Parents whose children’s schools are in none of these categories should not despair, however.

A non-descript school in the backwoods is as capable of spurring its students on to unimagined heights of excellence.

All any school really needs is a capable headmaster, teachers of quality, and an active parent-teacher association.

by Chok Suat Ling.

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Cluster Schools

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

The Ministry of Education (MOE) has taken a bold step forward by rebranding some of the existing  schools in order to spearhead effective school improvement. One of it is the idea of having Cluster Schools (Sekolah Kluster) as outlined in the National Education Blueprint. The announcement of the first 30 cluster schools by MOE on April 8, 2007 (Sarah Chew, The Star) is a visionary step towards effective school improvement.

Cluster Schools in Malaysia has been defined as centres of excellence (within each school grouping) focusing on niche areas such as music, sports, ICT, science, language, and other discipine of studies.

To ensure that all schools in our education system are represented in the Cluster Schools of Excellence, the schools are grouped as follows:


  • National schools
  • Chinese schools
  • Tamil schools
  • Orang Asli schools


  • Residential schools
  • Technical schools
  • Religious schools
  • Day schools
  • Putrajaya and Cyberjaya schools
  • Special model schools



  • Matriculation colleges
  • Teacher training institutes


The schools are selected based on the following criteria:

  • Academic performance
  • Excellence extra-curricular activities
  • Effective leadership
  • Effective resource management
  • Effective teaching and learning
  • Historical pedigree
  • Conducive environment for learning and character development
  • Effective implementation of ministry programmes
  • Strength in specific areas such as music, sports, etc.

Each cluster school will have a particular niche area of expertise for it to excel and also to be a role model / catalyst for improvement to the other neighbouring schools.

Neighbouring schools should identify their strength or potential areas to start their ESI Model. They should take the opportunity to benchmark , adopt and adapt the Cluster School Model of their neighbouring Cluster School to implement effective school improvement in their own schools.

To magnify the casading effect of the cluster school improvement to other  schools, it is hope that more cluster schools based on different niche areas of specialization and in different categories of schools be announced by MOE in the very near future.

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