Archive for the ‘Educational Issues’ Category

No closure of centres

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Datuk Dr Mary Yap Kain Ching (pic), said she looks at education holistically and the benefits that it will bring to our future generation.

She reiterated that education should not be politicised, especially by people who do not know the system in-depth. “It is important to acknowledge that with the advent of the 4th Industrial Revolution, necessary and even radical changes in the education scenario of the country need to take place.

“The public should understand that nine out of the 27 teacher education institutes in the country are not closing down per se but rather it is a functional conversion from offering teacher education to technical and vocational education and training (TVET),” she said in a statement.

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On course to 90pc local teachers

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: The State Education Department is on track to achieve the 90:10 ratio in local to peninsula teachers in Sabah by 2018.

Its Director Datuk Maimunah Suhaibul said the target is highly achievable for primary schools while it would take a slight extended time for secondary schools.

“At the moment we have about 84 per cent Sabahan teachers in the primary schools in the State and about 76 per cent for secondary schools.

“We can achieve the 90:10 target in the near future but we might need a longer time for secondary schools.

“Nevertheless, we have been aggressive in our efforts to fill in any vacancy with local teachers,” she said, after the briefing session for new teachers’ placement at the department’s building, here, Wednesday.

Towards this end, Maimunah hoped the new local teachers would stay longer at their respective postings, especially when there is a special transfer for teachers from the peninsula to return to their hometowns after being attached here.

“And these vacancies are filled by our local teachers.” In the latest placement, the Department took an approach of not placing the new teachers in areas which recorded a surplus of teachers unless a critical need exists for certain options in the area.

“The department is sincere and dedicated to reduce the status gap of teachers between the districts in the State so that the students either in urban or rural areas will experience a balanced education opportunity in line with the Malaysian Education Development Plan,” she said.

Some of the new teachers will be posted in rural areas and the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) where extra measures such as curfews are taken by security forces due to the close proximity of conflict areas in the southern Philippines.

Three suspected militants believed to have been on their way to Marawi city in the southern Philippines, where government forces are fighting the Islamic State-aligned Maute group, were arrested last week in Sandakan, which is located within the Esszone.

“There have been no incidents involving teachers and no special security issues they’re facing.

“We will follow the guidelines given by the security forces and we’re making sure our teachers abide by these for their own safety.”

During the briefing session, 101 new Sabahan teachers received their placement letters to be attached to schools all over the State.

“Of the figure, 97 of them are primary school teachers while the rest will be teaching in secondary schools.

“Twenty one of them are Bahasa Melayu-optioned, 26 with Visual Arts Education option, 18 with Music Education option, 12 with Design and Technology option, 10 with Rehabilitation Education, six with Mathematics option and two each for Guidance and Counselling option and Science option,” she said.

Maimunah also reminded newly-placed teachers to uphold the work ethics of the teaching profession and abide by the rules stipulated under the Education Act and General Orders.

“I hope teachers will have a positive attitude so that they will not be influenced by negative ‘culture’ like truancy or being late to school… we do not want such behaviour to be adopted by new teachers.

“If they do follow the negative footsteps of some of their seniors, then I think their souls are not meant for the teaching profession.

“There are only a handful of such cases and action has been and will be taken on them.”

Maimunah also reminded the new teachers to avoid using ‘labels’ on their students.

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Vocational training to keep students out of trouble.

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

PUTRAJAYA: The Education Ministry wants to use a vocational pilot programme to keep students with disciplinary problems out of trouble, said Deputy Education Minister Datuk Chong Sin Woon.

He said the Upper Secondary School Industry Apprenticeship (Pima) programme, introduced at a national school in January, was producing positive results.

The programme, which the mi­­nis­­try plans to roll out in all secondary schools next year, was to dis­­courage students from skipping classes or dropping out entirely, he said.

Under Pima, students who are not academically inclined will have a chance to acquire vocational skills and industrial training during school hours, Chong said at a press conference yesterday.

Feedback from the school which conducted the pilot project showed that students’ attendance rate was high, he said.

Pima, which involves Form Four and Five students, is an extension of the National Dual Training System, which was introduced by the ministry in 2012.

These students will spend 70% of their time on industrial training and 30% on academic studies.

At the end of the programme, they will be given either a Sijil Pela­jaran Malaysia or Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia certificate.

Companies participating in Pima should be located near the school to provide training to students while prioritising their safety.

On last week’s death of 18-year-old T. Nhaveen, who was targeted by bullies, Chong said records showed that the boy had never lodged any official complaint about his attackers, known to be his former schoolmates.

He said it was important for detailed reports to be lodged, adding that teachers, students and victims should make official complaints about bullying.

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Target Of 90 Per Cent Sabahan Teachers By 2018 Is Achievable – State Education Director

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

KOTA KINABALU, June 21 (Bernama) — The Sabah Education Department is confident that the target of having 90 per cent Sabahan teachers in the state by 2018 as announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in 2015, can be achieved.

Its director, Datuk Maimunah Suhaibul said at the moment, the number of local teachers in primary schools stood at 84 per cent while secondary schools at 76 per cent.

“Our target is to have 90 per cent (of Sabahan teachers) in 2018 with the ratio of 90:10,” she told reporters after attending the June 2017 New Teachers’ Posting Briefing session here today.

A total of 101 new teachers, 97 being posted to primary schools and four in secondary schools, received their appointment and posting letters at the event.

On the placement, Maimunah reminded the new teachers to practise ethics in their profession and abide by the rules enshrined in the Education Act and General Orders.


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New school to replace the abandoned SMK Nabalu

Saturday, May 27th, 2017

Tuaran: The long-abandoned SMK Nabalu project will be revived and relocated to a new site at Kampung Giok, near here, said Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid.

He said his Ministry has identified 25 acres next to SK Kampung Giok for the construction of the secondary school.

Describing the delay as critical, Mahdzir said the Government has always been determined to resolve it.

“The Ministry wants the problem to be solved as soon as possible, but we have to follow the right procedures,” he said after a joint working visit to schools in the district with Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau, at SK Kampung Giok, Friday.

According to him, works on the SMK Nabalu project started in 2012 before it was halted in 2014, after which it was abandoned.

“It was abandoned as the soil was found unsuitable for construction by the Minerals and Geoscience Department…and we admit that a proper soil test was not conducted prior to the construction.

“But now we have a new site and will go through all the necessary processes like studies on the soil before construction.”

He also disclosed that they have completed the process of land title transfers from 10 landowners while five others have yet to sign the agreement.

“Once this is done, we will start to look into the design of the building,” he said, adding that the new school’s name will be left to the local leadership to decide.

Mahdzir said the Government had spent about 20 per cent or about RM5 million of the total allocation for the SMK Nabalu project before it was stopped.

Previously, Parti Warisan Sabah Vice Wirawati Chief, Jo-Anna Sue Henley Rampas, had questioned the fate of the abandoned project and defined it as a white elephant by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

In a statement, she said the school will benefit the school children in the surrounding areas where they do not have to travel far for their secondary education.

Tangau, who is also Tuaran MP, said the announcement made by Mahdzir will finally shed some light on the concerns faced by the people in Pekan Nabalu.

“This will surely solve a big problem as the aspirations of the people here to have a secondary school will finally be materialised.

“We heard various views, especially from the opposition, but the truth is the Government has always been working hard to build the school,” he said.

Earlier, Mahdzir and Tangau visited SK Mengkabong to observe the Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE) approach in the primary school as well as to be briefed on the school’s development.

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Poverty main cause of big dropouts – IDS chairman

Friday, May 19th, 2017

Front row, from second left: Clarence, Teo and Mohd Hasnol with the participants of the seminar.

KOTA KINABALU: More than 40,000 students in Malaysia dropped out of school during the transition phase from Form 3 to Form 4 every year, said Institute for Development Studies (IDS) Sabah chairman Datuk Seri Panglima Clarence Bongkos Malakun.

Additionally, he said there were nearly 20,000 dropouts every year in the transition from Year 6 to Form 1, between the ages of 11 and 12, and then within the subsequent years in secondary schooling.

“In absolute terms, thousands of students are still dropping out from the mainstream schooling system.

“Poverty is more commonly known as one of the major factors, while the temptation to enter the labour force is also another most common factor,” he said at the opening ceremony of a seminar on ‘Gender and Literacy Development: Reaching the Dropouts’ here yesterday.

The seminar was officiated by the Minister of Special Tasks Datuk Teo Chee Kang, who represented Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman.

Clarence said reasons of dropouts were many including lack of interest in  schooling, the inability to pay for education-related expenses and poor academic performance.

Even involvement of parents in a child’s education related activities at home, frequency of interaction of parents with school teachers, management and Parent Teachers Association (PTA), and parents’ opinions of education including technical and vocational education pathways are also considered among the reasons, he said.

“While data from the MOE show that the dropout rates are low in Malaysia, but the absolute number of students leaving the system before completing a full secondary education reaches into the thousands.

“Majority of these students are from low-income households, hindering their ability to improve upon their future socioeconomic status,” he said.

According to the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025 (MEB), Clarence said approximately 36 per cent of each cohort does not reach the minimum achievement level desired by all students.

“This means that students from one particular cohort are no longer enrolled in the system or have not passed core Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) subjects.”

As a comparison, Clarence said in Korea for example, 98 per cent of those between the ages of 25 abd 34 had completed the equivalent of a high-school degree indicative of a negligible level of dropouts from the system.

“Whereas in Malaysia in 2011, only 56 per cent of the working age population in Malaysia had an SPM qualification or higher and a majority of these, about 65 per cent, had only an SPM qualification.”

H e said the Ministry of Education (MOE) revealed that one factor contributing to dropout rates was the inability of students to cope with the syllabus being taught besides poverty.

“If we can give children a good grasp of basic literacy and numeracy skills early in life they will be less likely to drop out of school.

“This could also mean that our future generation will have a brighter future.”

by Chok Sim Yee.

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A reel learning connection

Monday, May 15th, 2017

The educational exchange at film schools help forge better ties and cultural understanding.

WHILE the United States (US) and Chinese studios attempt to uncover the formula for cracking each other’s markets, a number of colleges and universities have begun an educational exchange, in which American and Chinese film students become immersed in an array of disciplines from each other’s film industries, from technology and storytelling to law, ethics and communication.

The goal of such programmes is to not only foster what Robert Bassett, dean of California’s Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, describes as “an amalgam of Chinese and Western storytelling that’s satisfying to both cultures,” but also a stronger connection between both countries and cultures.

According to, China’s box office revenues in 2016 totalled nearly US$6.6bil (RM28.5bil) placing it second only to the US in terms of ticket sales and the number of theatres, estimated at about 39,000.

Should China continue these modest gains, says Michael Ellis, the Motion Picture Association of America’s Asia-Pacific president, it will overtake the United States as the world’s largest film market by 2019.

Such figures have naturally spawned a mutual interest between the US and China in exploring and in some cases, profiting from each other’s markets.

Anthropologist, filmmaker and recent Guggenheim Fellow J.P. Sniadecki, who has worked extensively in Chinese indepedent film, says: “Hollywood wants to tap into the Chinese market, and China wants to do the samefor an international audience.”

Film schools at both Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in California and Chapman have established formal partnerships with educational academies in China.

LMU hosts two undergraduates with the Beijing Film Academy, and will host two of its graduate film students in 2018 as it keen on developing a programme where Film Academy students would study at LMU during the summer.

Chapman also hosts graduate students from the Beijing Academy and launched a programme in Shenzhen, China, with students from across the country.

Both University of Southern California (USC) and Pepperdine University in Californina, have found ways to immerse both “domestic” and international students in programmes and workshops that help to forge greater collaboration and cultures in the context of film.

“If we are going to have a diverse industry and work in markets like China, we need to understand them and they need to understand us,” says Elizabeth M. Daley, dean of the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

“The reality today for students in entertainment and media is that the products and creative elements have to be developed for a global market,” says Pepperdine’s Institute for Entertainment, Media and Culture executive director John Mooney.

“They have to have a global mindset, and an understanding of global culture and global markets, if they’re going to be truly successful in this industry.”

Northwestern University in Illinois is also exploring formal media arts exchange programmes between Chinese and American students through faculty members Sniadecki and the Horton Foote Prize-winning playwright and screenwriter Zayd Dohrn, both of whom have extensive experience with the Chinese film industry. Both are keenly aware of the importance of forging relationships between the US and Chinese film markets, but also understand that a number of obstacles stand in the way of such collaborative efforts.

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Boarding schools should do away with corporal punishment.

Saturday, May 13th, 2017

BOARDING schools must do away with corporal punishment and educate without resorting to physical methods to discipline students.

In saying this, Malaysian Association for Adolescent Health vice-president Dr N. Thiyagar said physical punishment was an outdated method, which most people in Asian countries think is the way to discipline a child.

He said research has shown that it was not the right way to discipline a child, as caning would only create fear.

Dr Thiyagar, who is also the Malaysian Paediatric Association president, said a child needed to be disciplined but caning would not help.

“At boarding schools, children needed to be reminded of the consequences of their unacceptable behaviour.

“If they fail to follow the school’s rules, then they should be punished in other ways – for example, not getting to watch television, having to do extra chores, additional homework or increase in workload.

“By giving them such realistic punishment, it will help them learn, be responsible and not repeat their mistakes,” he said.

Dr Thiyagar was asked to comment on the case of 11-year-old Mohamad Thaqif Amin Mohd Gaddafi, who died after allegedly being abused by an assistant warden of a private religious school in Kota Tinggi.

He added that any proper punishment carried out by a boarding school must be consistent and the rules must be applied to all students.

“For example, if Student A breaks the curfew time and gets a particular punishment of cleaning a specific place, then the same sort of punishment must be applied to Student B who broke the same rule.

“Boarding schools must be firm in their punishment and this will create disciplined students,” he said.


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Education Ministry to ensure schools adhere to SOP

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: The Ministry of Education and the State Education Department will continue to ensure that schools all over the country adhere to the rules stated in the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).

This is to ensure the safety of students and to prevent mishaps such as the one in Membakut several days ago, whereby three school boys had drowned during a leadership course.

“We do have our own SOP. We constantly remind the schools and district education offices to always abide by the rules of the SOP.

“For the public’s information, activities such as these are conducted quite often here in Malaysia. However, it is very unfortunate that this tragedy has happened in Sabah.

“We try to minimize. It would be even better if we can prevent it from happening at all.

“So that is why we constantly remind schools to always stick to the SOP to ensure that in everything they do, the safety of the students should be the school’s priority. This is the policy of the Ministry of Education,” said Deputy Education Director Datuk Amin Senin.

Commenting on the parents’ demand for further explanation, Amin said that there was no need for such explanation as an official report had already been lodged.

He further explained that this issue had been brought up to the Education Ministry and the reports and investigations from the State Education Department had been submitted.

When asked about the possibility of legal action being taken by the parents, Amin said that he was not able to comment further as all he could do now is to wait for the outcome. However, Amin disclosed that his department will nevertheless respond accordingly.

“We have to wait for the follow-up and it will be based on the reports received,” he said, in explaining whether the teachers involved will be facing legal charges.

Commenting on the assistance that will be given to the families of the victims, Amin said that the State Education Department had already discussed with the respective families since the early stages of this case.

Apart from that, Amin had also given an explanation regarding the release form that had been signed by the parents.

“The declaration signed by the parents was based on their own consent,” said Amin.

It is understood that prior to the signing of the release form, there was no indication that the students were suffering from any sort of illness.

On April 29, SMK Putatan’s Hafiz Hamizan Rahman, 16, Daniel Norman, 16, and Khuzaimi Zakaran, 17, had tragically drowned while trekking along a man-made stream at the Eco Lake Resort in Membakut.

Initital reports claimed that the three students had slipped into a lake after the side slopes collapsed beneath them.

However, in a shocking turn of events, eyewitnesses revealed that the resort appointed guide had led the students towards the lake and had instructed them to get down the ledge and into the lake, with the intention of crossing it.

by Neil Brian Joseph.

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Ministry: We vet all textbooks thoroughly

Monday, May 8th, 2017

PETALING JAYA: All school textbooks used by the Education Minis­try undergo a stringent checking process before being distributed for use, said the Textbook Division of the ministry.

It maintained that the textbooks were “produced professionally” with facts taken from authentic and credible sources.

The ministry was responding to yesterday’s article in the Educate section of Sunday Star, which was titled “Seeing blunders in print”, regarding errors found in public school textbooks and local publishers facing their fair share of complaints.

The ministry said all textbooks were only published after going through a six-step procedure, which could take up to 18 months to complete.

However, it acknowledged that even with the stringent steps in place, there were still many complaints about the textbooks.
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