Archive for the ‘Curriculum’ Category

The missing subject in Malaysian business schools

Friday, September 18th, 2020
We have to continuously upgrade our business school curricula to ensure our education system in Muslim countries is not only world-class, but relevant for businesses in Muslim markets. - NSTP file pic, for illustration purposes onlyWe have to continuously upgrade our business school curricula to ensure our education system in Muslim countries is not only world-class, but relevant for businesses in Muslim markets. – NSTP file pic, for illustration purposes only

BUSINESS schools are a critical building block of our education system in offering business management and administration courses, and executive education while crafting new entrepreneurs and future business elites.

Business leaders commercialise innovation, produce products and services that are needed, create jobs and export products and services to the world.

Hence, such schools should be teaching subjects that matter in business. I hope most of you will agree with me until here.

With close to 20 years of experience in the halal industry in Asia and the Middle East, I discovered a new business world with written and unwritten rules, and business dynamics that are critical to understand to be successful in Muslim markets.

I spent a lot of time since 2006 researching the industry not only to understand, but also create new theories, concepts and tools, in particular, the field of halal purchasing, halal supply chain management, halal clusters and halal reputation management.

To be successful in Muslim markets, it is important to master halal business skills to build strong halal brands and protect your licence to operate. As halal is part of Islam, certain mistakes in operations or communication can be highly sensitive, which can have far-reaching corporate reputation and financial consequences for businesses.

Today, the halal industry is dominated by producers and brands from non-Muslim countries. This is not only true for consumer products, food-cosmetics pharmaceuticals, but also for raw materials and ingredients. So, why is the Muslim world lagging behind even in the halal industry?

As Islamic banks and windows are so successful, is this money used to invest in creating the next halal food multinational in the Muslim world? What is the role of the Muslim world in the halal value chain? Many more questions crossed my mind over the years.

Then, I finally looked in the mirror. Maybe it is the education system in Muslim countries. What are we teaching our students and industry professionals that are coming to business schools?

Then, I studied the programmes and modules offered at our business schools. The programmes offered in Muslim countries in Southeast Asia and the Middle East are identical to the ones offered in the West.

Namely, we are offering finance, leadership, strategy, marketing, organisational behaviour, technology and entrepreneurship. Why are we not teaching important theories and skills needed in the halal industry? Why are we not teaching “halal business management” at our business schools?

For more than 10 years, I have been teaching the subject “purchasing and supply chain management” for MSc, MBA and DBA programmes in Malaysia. I taught my students one lecture each on halal purchasing and halal supply chain management, respectively, which always came back during the exam.

I always received good response on these two lectures from my students from both Muslim and non-Muslim countries, Muslims and non-Muslims. But I felt that the subject of halal business management deserved more attention at the business school, at least a full module for students at business schools in Muslim (majority) countries.

Education programmes in business schools seem to be cast in stone and there is often little change, flexibility or maybe interest to relook the business education curricula.

Given the coronavirus crisis that is also shaking up the education system here and many other countries, maybe it is the right time to rethink what we should teach the new generation of business elites at our business schools in Muslim countries.

“What are important skills to learn in halal business management?” you would probably like to know. I would propose the following topics to be covered in a “halal business management” module, namely: halal industry dynamics, halal assurance system and halal certification, halal purchasing, halal supply chain management, halal logistics and retail, halal clusters, halal branding and marketing, and halal risk and reputation management.

To conclude, I recommend business schools create a new module called “Halal Business Management”. If not part of the core curriculum, at least an elective.

We have to continuously upgrade our business school curricula to ensure our education system in Muslim countries is not only world-class, but relevant for businesses in Muslim markets. In my opinion, excellence in business management in Muslim markets and domination in the halal industry can only be achieved by educating the new generation of business elites on the subject of halal business management.

By Dr Marco Tieman.

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Combining culinary skills with dietetics to promote healthy diets

Friday, March 27th, 2020

Have you ever thought of giving the all-time-favourite – nasi lemak, a healthier makeover? Have you ever dreamt of producing healthy and delicious innovative foods using sustainable home-grown produce?

IMU Dietetics with Nutrition programme produce graduates who are able to combine the science and art of dietetics through incorporating components of culinary skills in the revised curriculum for new students from 2019 onwards.

“Rates of obesity and overweight are rising in Malaysia leading to non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases. One of the main risk factors causing this situation is poor diets and Malaysians’ love for our tasty variety of foods.

“The nation needs qualified dietitians who are skilled in providing diet consultation as well as teaching patients and the general public on how to modify their favourite local cuisines into healthier options without compromising on taste or aesthetic features of a dish. Healthy diets are only as good if people actually enjoy eating the foods,” says Prof Winnie Chee, who is a professor from the Division of Nutrition & Dietetics and Dean of School of Health Sciences.

Nutrition education and culinary skills combined are needed to be successful at creating and maintaining healthy eating practices. In other words, making vital nutrition information easily accessible is useless without also making it practical.

“Dietitians with culinary skills have added value for employment. Saying eat more vegetables and fruits isn’t as powerful as demonstrating a deliciously tantalizing salad. The business, financial and food service management components in the programme are beneficial for the employers,” adds Mary Easaw, a Senior Lecturer teaching the programme and former Senior Manager & Chief Dietitian at a cardiac hospital.

The BSc (Hons) Dietetics with Nutrition programme features culinary skills across several courses throughout the new curriculum. In the early semesters, students are provided with the foundation knowledge of the science of foods and what happens to food composition and nutrients when subjected to various cooking methods such as steaming, frying, baking and other modern food preparation methods such as sous vide.

Students learn how to perform basic culinary skills to prepare healthy diets from their senior and IMU alumni, Leonard Yap, who is a dietitian with chef training. He provides demonstration on various food preparation skills and introduces students to new methods of cooking that preserve nutrients. In Year 2, students put their culinary skills to create business opportunity by designing menus and sales of healthy lunch boxes to the IMU students and staff.

As students progress to Year 3, they elevate their menu planning and culinary skills to modify recipes and prepare diets for various diseases. Students will learn how to prepare diets suitable for diabetes, heart diseases, kidney failure and also for sick children during the Medical Nutrition Therapy course.

The integration of culinary nutrition into the N&D curriculum aimed to produce graduates who are work ready, who can use scientific evidence to help individuals choose and eat high quality meals to manage their disease conditions and restore well-being effectively. Let thy food be thy medicine, as what Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine said.

IMU also has a Food Laboratory which is equipped with a demo kitchen, work stations and industry standard cooking facilities for the students to put into action their culinary skills in developing recipes and sales of healthy foods to the IMU community.

“Learning culinary skills in IMU has been very interesting to me. Especially when you relate it to science, it has been giving me a lot of surprises on how some actions that you may tend to skip because you think that they are unnecessary but actually it serves some purpose and does contribute to the taste of the food.

“As a future dietitian, learning culinary skills is very helpful in my field of studies as it is important to know how to prepare the food before recommending it to the clients. However, the most important thing for me is that I really enjoy what I am doing,” says Puan Rohana, a Year 2 BSc (Hons) Dietetics with Nutrition international student from Indonesia.

IMU offers the BSc (Hons) Dietetics with Nutrition degree which is a four-year programme integrated with dietetics practicum in food service management, community dietetics and clinical dietetics as well as an opportunity to embark on a mobility experience abroad or locally. The programme also offers credit transfer options to bachelor’s degree in the University of Newcastle, Australia. Graduates from the IMU programme can enter the workforce and begin their career as dietitians across a variety of clinical as well as non-clinical settings.

Each year, the Dietetics with Nutrition programmes commence in July and September. If you have an interest in science, an ability to work in a team and really want to make a difference in the lives of others, make an online application today and begin a career that challenges you to stretch your skills and open new doors.

If you have just completed your SPM and do not have pre-university qualification, consider enrolling in the one-year IMU Foundation in Science, the preferred foundation and direct route for entry into any of the University’s degree programmes, including credit transfer options.

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Studying e-Commerce for accounting students

Sunday, January 12th, 2020

E-COMMERCE is the buying and selling of products or services over the Internet. Also known as electronic commerce, money and data are transferred over the Internet to facilitate the online transactions. Electronic funds transfer, online transaction processing, automated data collection, electronic data interchange, and mobile commerce are some of the tools used in e-commerce. With e-commerce, buyers and sellers are able to transact without the barriers of distance and time.

There has been an upward trend in the growth of e-commerce worldwide in the last 14 years. According to online providers of market and consumer data, buyers spend an average of 36% of their budget on online purchases and that the number of such buyers may reach 2.14 billion in 2021.

As more people turn to the Internet for their shopping needs, the future looks promising for e-commerce. These days, for instance, people aged 24 or younger are more comfortable with e-commerce. They find it less of a necessity to touch and try a product before purchasing. For this group of buyers, lifestyle branding and social media presence are more important considerations when deciding on their purchases. Influence from this young group of buyers is also spreading to the older generation who are becoming more open to online shopping. In Malaysia, examples of the more popular online marketplaces are Lazada, 11Street, Shopee and Lelong.

Impact on businesses

E-commerce generally requires only minimal infrastructure for the seller. On the other hand, companies using traditional business methods, spend significant amounts of money in setting up their physical infrastructure. Such brick and mortar businesses are increasingly finding themselves being outperformed by the more competitive e-commerce businesses.

The management of information systems and finance are some of the background processes in operating a business. While these activities are not as visible as the marketing functions, they are still nevertheless affected by the implications that e-commerce brings. For example, businesses need to consider various remittance and payment processes using fintech or financial technology in order to provide convenient payment methods, such as e-wallets and in-app purchases, for their online customers.

Accounting for e-commerce

A vital operational component of any business is the financials. For the e-commerce business, the accounting aspect can be a challenging task. Areas such as sales tax, inventory management, transaction volumes, sales returns and accounts receivables collection can be daunting when it comes to e-commerce transactions. Examples of the complexities include the imposition of a 6% service tax in Malaysia on digital service providers from 2020, integrating and automating the inventory management system, payment of various fees for online transactions that could considerably reduce profits, managing thousands of monthly transactions, and the handling and categorising of customer returns. These are just a few of the complexities of e-commerce which the accountant has to address in order to enable accurate financial decision making.

Additionally, the accounting profession needs to consider that e-commerce brings changes to organisational structures and business processes and strategies. For instance, information systems such as the Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (ERPs) which have simplified and automated accounting tasks, will mean that businesses will want to hire financial personnel who have working knowledge of such systems. Audit practices and procedures will also need to be adjusted to accommodate e-commerce transactions.

As can be seen above, a business would require qualified personnel with the skills and knowledge to manage the financial and accounting complexities that come with e-commerce. However, the lack of workforce with e-commerce expertise and knowledge has been cited as one of the major hindrances to rapid growth of e-commerce. The lack of qualified personnel prevents small e-commerce businesses from developing quickly as qualified personnel tend to work for larger corporations. Indeed, accounting professionals who are well versed in e-commerce are valuable as they can provide much needed financial perspectives when devising suitable strategies for the e-commerce business.

E-commerce courses can expose accounting students to how e-commerce relates to financial functions in the current business environment. Integrating e-commerce to accounting studies offers accounting students a more practical perspective of the environment that businesses operate in. In this way, learning institutions can meet the demands of employers sourcing for accounting graduates with knowledge and skills to handle e-commerce. The e-commerce component can be a core or elective subject or it can be integrated into the various finance and accounting subjects.

Universities are generally viewed as a source of potential recruits to fulfil the demands of businesses. One such university in Malaysia offering e-commerce-related subjects is Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman in Perak. As part of its accounting undergraduate degree programme, subjects offered relating to e-commerce include Information Technology for Management, Accounting Information Systems, Applied E-Commerce, and Introduction to Internet of Things.


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Need to plan co-curriculum in holistic manner, says D-G

Monday, November 4th, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: School administrators have to plan the development of co-curriculum in a holistic manner to realise and develop talents and potentials of students more effectively.

Education Director-General Datuk Dr Amin Senin (pic) said children who are not so academically inclined may have natural talents in arts and in other areas.

“We need to remember that a school is not merely a place to be successful in examinations but it is also a place to scout and develop their talents,” he said when closing the national level Student Arts Carnival, here, Sunday.

The text of his speech was read by Education Ministry Sports, Co-curriculum and Arts Division Deputy Director Suhaimi Sun Abdullah.

The three-day carnival, which ended Sunday, was participated by 19 schools representing the various states and federal territories.

In this regard, Amin said the arts carnival was among the efforts of the ministry to uncover the natural talents of students.

By: Bernama.

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Philosophy shows bigger picture

Sunday, October 6th, 2019
Modern universities are more interested in offering more ‘practical’ and empirical subjects that cater to the immediate needs of the country.. NSTP/SHARUL HAFIZ ZAM

THE Education Ministry introduced into the higher education curriculum a new subject called ‘Philosophy and Current Issues’ with another subject, ‘Appreciation for Ethics and Civilisation’.

The decision is in line with the national education system direction, which emphasises good values.

Ironically, the decision comes at a time when philosophy is unpopular among higher education subjects.

Apart from being an academic luxury, philosophy is considered irrelevant due to its impractical and theoretical nature.

The situation is also because of a strong influence of modern empirical and positivist approach in science and knowledge in general.

Modern universities are more interested in offering more “practical” and empirical subjects that cater to the immediate needs of the country.

This unfavourable image of philosophy, nevertheless, could have been avoided if its true meaning and positive role, especially in the development of knowledge, are properly construed.

The word philosophy is derived from the Greek term ‘philo’, or to love.

‘Sophia’ means wisdom, which constitutes a commendable nature of philosophy.

The meaning symbolises a deep admiration quest for higher knowledge.

It also reflects the seriousness of philosophy in finding meaning behind every aspect of reality, which echoes Socrates that ‘an unexamined life is not worth living’.

It is, therefore, not surprising to learn that philosophy is known as the ‘mother of all sciences’.

This is due to its significant role in enquiring into the fundamental nature of reality and existence.

In terms of its relation to other sciences, philosophy serves as the foundation upon which a specific science is based and the framework that guides the objectives of a science.

If science is a tree, philosophy is the soil that makes the forest possible.

That is the reason we find the term philosophy attached to disciplines of knowledge, such as science, law and education.

The philosophical aspect of any discipline is fundamental since it provides the background, objective and the raison d’etre of a science.

Once the philosophy of a subject is understood, the whole subject will be easily comprehended.

Another important role of philosophy is to provide a systematic way of thinking and arguing.

Through philosophy, students will learn how to ask the right questions, analyse matters in a critical manner and present arguments in an organised way.

A study by the American Philosophical Association showed that philosophy contributed to the realisation of four goals that should be fundamental to an institution of learning:

INSTILLING habits of critical thinking in students;

ENHANCING their reading, writing and public speaking skills;

TRANSMITTING cultural heritage; and,

STIMULATING them to ask questions about reality, knowledge and value.

The function of philosophy lies in the fact that it deals with the bigger picture of something else.

This is the aspect that is lacking in the way higher education students are thinking.

When the education system becomes more specialised and compartmentalised, we lose the bigger picture and fail to find the connection between things.

The failure to see the bigger picture will lead to narrow-mindedness, extremism and bigotry.

With the introduction of philosophy, it is hoped that students will be broad-minded in dealing with issues, hence become wiser agents of a harmonious society.

However, some caveats need to be put forward.

FIRST the success of the subject will depend on the quality of the lecturers and the content of the curriculum; and,

SECOND, the framework of this subject has to take into account the Malaysian context and background, especially in terms of value systems and principles enshrined in the Constitution.

Only then will philosophy lead the students towards a real love of wisdom.


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New syllabus good, but can be better.

Sunday, June 23rd, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

> A general drop in English proficiency;

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

> The lack of qualified teachers to teach the subject;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Christina Chin and Rowena Chua
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New SPM English Lit syllabus

Sunday, June 23rd, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Christina Chin
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Include Federal Constitution in school syllabus

Friday, April 19th, 2019
Make it a requirement that the Federal Constitution is taught in schools to expose students to the history behind the Federal Constitution and state constitutions, and the forefathers who drafted them. FILE PIC

CALLS have been made as far back as 10 years ago for the Federal Constitution to be taught in schools.

Every citizen, young and old, should know what the Federal Constitution contains as it sets out the legal framework and rights of all Malaysians.

Some parties have decided to renew the call again, following the public dispute on the provisions of the Federal Constitution following the government’s move of signing, and later rescinding from being a party to the Rome Statute and also the resignation of Datuk Osman Sapian as Johor menteri besar which sparked an intense discussion on the provisions in the Johor State Constitution on the appointment of his replacement.

Earlier, there was a heated debate as to whether the government would contravene the Federal Constitution if it ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

We find that some of those participating in the debates do so without having enough information and knowledge or without thinking about it.

As such, it is the duty of every citizen to know the Constitution and their respective state constitutions. In fact, every household should keep a copy of the Federal Constitution and their respective state constitution.

While one can download the Federal Constitution from the website of the Attorney General’s Chambers, it is a little difficult to source the state constitutions.

Percetakan Nasional Malaysia should make these available for purchase at its premises or at major bookstores nationwide.

It should be incorporated in the school curriculum to expose students — both at schools and universities as students today are leaders tomorrow — to the history behind the Federal Constitution and state constitutions, the forefathers who drafted them and their salient points. This would enable them to appreciate the wisdom behind the crafting of the documents and understand the various articles in the constitutions.

Each and every one of us has to be educated on the Constitution. This will make us informed citizens. It will also make us think clearly and rationally about what to say or what to believe.

Universiti Malaya law professor Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi, in one of his articles published by the media, said a constitution is not just a legal document. It is linked with philosophy and politics. It has as its backdrop the panorama of history, geography, economics and culture.

“The Constitution is not a magic wand. It is not the alchemy that will set everything right. The challenge for Malaysian citizens is to get to know their Constitution, appreciate its moderating influence and bridge the gap between theory and reality,” he said.

I the United States, for example, it is a requirement by law that the US Constitution is taught in schools.

In 2004, a bill was signed that made it a law to teach the US Constitution in federally-funded schools. It is the legal obligation of those schools to provide students with programmes that open their eyes to the importance of the Constitution in their everyday lives.

Taught properly, students can understand the true meaning of their rights and the vital constitutional amendments that protect those rights.

It is also a law for the head of each US Federal agency or department to, among others, provide each new employee with educational and training materials concerning the Constitution as part of the orientation module provided to new employees.

There is also a Constitution Day (or Citizenship Day) in the US. It recognises the adoption of the US Constitution and those who have become US citizens.

It is normally observed on Sept 17, to commemorate the day in 1787, when delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the document in Philadelphia.

And a quick check on the Internet showed that over 60 countries celebrate Constitution Day. While it is not a public holiday, Constitution Day is often celebrated on the anniversary of the signing, promulgation or adoption of the constitution, or in some cases, to commemorate the change to constitutional monarchy.

In India, for example, Nov 26 is observed as Constitution Day and on that day, schoolchildren would be taught about the Constitution.

The Constitution of India is the longest written of any country in the world, containing 444 articles in 22 parts, 12 schedules and 118 amendments, with 146,385 words in its English-language version.

In an article on its website “The Malaysian Bar”, the Bar Council said people would realise that the Constitution plays a pivotal role in their daily lives if they are aware of its provisions.

“It is vital for everyone to understand the rights and privileges granted by the Constitution. It is important for us to understand the demarcation between the responsibilities of the federal government and the state governments,” it said.

The Bar Council also said that the role of the rakyat vis-à-vis the Federal Constitution is a simple one. It is to respect the Constitution and ensure that it is defended and upheld at all times.

By Fauziah Ismail.

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Govt to look into introducing Technology as a subject in education syllabus

Monday, March 11th, 2019
The government is looking at introducing a Technology subject as part of the education syllabus.

SEREMBAN: The government is looking at introducing a Technology subject as part of the education syllabus.

This is to prepare the younger generation with advanced technology and knowledge in the digital industry said

Minister of Communications and Multimedia Gobind Singh Deo.

He said the proposal had been discussed with the Education Ministry.

“We want to create a new learning system to meet the ever-expanding technological challenges, especially now with the Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0) having given a new impetus to educational transformation,” Gobind said after launching the JomStudi programme at Kampung Kering Labu’s Internet centre, here, today.

“We will collaborate with the Education Ministry, but at the moment, no decision has been made so far, as we need to set up a proper infrastructure before the syllabus can be introduced,” he said.

Gobind acknowledged that various preparations needed to be made before the idea could be executed, especially providing easy Internet access nationwide, especially in the rural areas.

“It is a challenge, but we must overcome this.

“We must start somewhere as the world now is moving towards the industrial and digital era.

“We are working hard to providE internet access, infrastructure and facilities which can benefit people from all walks of life,” he said.

A collaborative effort involving Media Prima Bhd, Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd (Astro) and Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd (Digi), JomStudi is a new digital learning hub that aggregates school syllabus-based content to make digital learning more available, especially those in under-served areas.

Hosted and managed by Digi, JomStudi provides students with easy access to quality education content that follows the syllabus format set by the Education Ministry.

Also present at the launching event were Media Prima group managing director Datuk Kamal Khalid, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commision chairman Al-Ishsal Ishak, Astro chief executive officer Henry Tan, Digi chief executive officer Albern Murty and Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation vice-president of talent and digital entrepreneurship Sumitra Nair.

Gobind said the collaboration was vital to bridge the digital gap and change the way learning was experienced.

By Nur Aqidah Azizi.

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Anti-corruption element to be included in Civics subject next year

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018
Education minister Dr Maszlee Malik said the subject would be taught to those in the primary and secondary schools as well as at pre-school level to shape moral values. Pic by NSTP/AHMAD IRHAM MOHD NOOR

PUTRAJAYA: The Education Ministry will introduce education on anti-corruption into the Civics subject from next year.

Its minister Dr Maszlee Malik said the subject would be taught to those in the primary and secondary schools as well as at pre-school level to shape moral values.

Aside from anti-corruption, other elements which will be added include human rights, road safety and the environment.

“We don’t have a specific subject on anti-corruption, but what we can do is add it as one of the topics in the Civics subject, which we will re-introduce

“Starting next year, we will re-introduce the subject. It will not be a must-pass subject, but it will a compulsory subject,” he said after a national Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and Education Ministry forum 2018 here.

Maszlee said this in response to MACC’s proposal to have a compulsory subject on anti-corruption in schools.

MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull earlier said efforts must be taken to teach children from young to dislike corruption.

On Shukri’s disclosure that corruption had spread to schools involving students, and teachers asking for sex from students as an inducement to pass examination, Maszlee said he had not received such a report so far.

“We urge those who are involved to lodge a report with the police. Don’t hide it. We will not tolerate such action and action will be taken.

“The victims are protected by law. We want the victims to come forward and lodge reports so that we can ensure schools are a safe place for all students and teachers,” he added.

By Irwan Shafrizan Ismail.

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