Archive for the ‘Educational Issues’ Category

EKSA to be expanded to Sabah schools

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

Ravia (second left) was very satisfied with the conducive environment of the school library.

TAMBUNAN: State Education director Datuk Hajah Maimunah Haji Suhaibul said that expanding the Ecosystem Conducive Public Sector (EKSA) to schools throughout the state is in line with the success of the department that obtained the 5S certification from MAMPU in 2011 and 2013.

She said this step continued at all district education offices across the state and has successfully achieved EKSA certification from MAMPU in 2014.

“We are very proud of this achievement because the state Education Department was the first to successfully gain the 5S recognition and EKSA certification and best practices should be extended to schools throughout the state,” she said when launching the EKSA program for secondary and primary schools here at SM St Martin on Thursday.

Maimunah’s speech was read by the Head of Information Management and ICT Sector of the State Education Department, Ravia Sylvester.

Maimunah said the expansion of EKSA to schools will get started with 24 primary schools and 24 secondary schools across the state.

However, she said several schools had already received recognition from EKSA andcertification of MAMPU with proactive action, tenacious efforts on guidance from the District Education Office and Lift Sector respectively.

“I am sure a lot of challenges and obstacles were faced by the four schools, but they finally gained EKSA certification from MAMPU.

“The schools that we are proud of are SMKA Tun Ahmad Shah Kota Kinabalu, SMKA Mohammad Ali Ranau, SM St Michael Penampang and SMKA Kota Kinabalu,” she said.

According to her, the schools selected for expansion should emulate the four schools that have successfully acquired the certification of EKSA from MAMPU.

She said the main components of EKSA based practice in 5S (Aside, Arrange, Sweep, Standardize and Always Practice) have been improved with the addition of elements of corporate image, creativity and innovation, green practices, conducive environment and the diversity of the agency.

“In the context of 21st century education is emphasized in the Malaysian Education Development Plan (2013-2025), a conducive learning environment will help improve the quality of learning and teaching in the classroom.

“Practicing EKSA will help the efficiency of management at the school level as the benefits of EKSA implementation are outlined such as improved quality of service to customers, a more cheerful workplace atmosphere, cost savings, increased creativity and innovation, an increased level of safety and increase the spirit of teamwork,” she said.

Maimunah said based on the benefits and positive impact as well as the consistent implementation of EKSA with slogan, JPN Sabah No. 1 Leading Change, the management review meeting (MKSP) of State Education Department last year, held on November 21 decided that EKSA should be extended to schools throughout the state.

She said the 48 pilot schools will be exposed, guided and audited before the assessment is implemented from MAMPU.

According to her, to ensure this aspiration is achieved, the State Education Department through its Lift Sector and the District Education Office will make sure this aspiration can be implemented in schools according to the plan based on the PDCA cycle so that targeted schools managed to get recognition and EKSA certification.

by Johan Aziz.

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Less students pursuing studies overseas due to economic slowdown

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: The number of Malaysian students pursuing tertiary education abroad has dropped by 20 to 30 per cent following the economic slowdown, said GES Global Education Services (M) Sdn Bhd managing director Peter Wong.

Last year, Wong said only about 12,000 visas were approved for Malaysian students opting to further their studies in United Kingdom, whereas for Australia it was less than 20,000.

“The number of students going to these countries has dropped by 20 to 30 per cent since the economic recession,” he said.

Meanwhile, Wong said only a few thousands of Malaysian students chose American universities last year.

“The tuition fees and living costs of studying in the United States (US) have gone up by around 28 per cent this year compared to 2015 due to the currency exchange.

“It means that for every RM100,000 that parents spend for their children studying in the US, they now have to fork out RM30,000 more,” Wong said when asked during an education fair organized by the company at Pacific Sutera Harbour Resort here yesterday.

That said, Wong pointed out, students with good academic results preferred to study abroad.

He said many higher learning institutions also offered scholarships of between 10 and 100 per cent for foundation or degree programmes.

“Some students choose to undertake their first and second year of undergraduate studies in Malaysia and complete their final year overseas; while some complete their bachelor degree in the country and continue their postgraduate programme abroad.”

On another note, Wong said Sabahan students opt mainly for medicine, architecture, interior design, real estate property and teaching English as a second language (TESL) courses.

He said mass communications, animation and digital media courses were also gaining popularity.

The GES Global Education Services education fair has previously been held in Miri, Sibu, Kuching, Bintulu, Tawau and Sandakan.

The education fair will be held at My Inn Hotel, Lahad Datu from 12 pm to 4 pm on March 25 and Hotel Dorsett Grand, Labuan, from 2 pm to 6 pm on March 26.

Besides local institutions, parents and students can meet with over 30 overseas universities’ representatives from Australia, UK, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Singapore and Switzerland to find out about high schools, pre-university, undergraduate or postgraduate programmes.

The education fair will provide an avenue for parents and students to seek advice from the counselors to better understand specific fields of study, as well as general advice on what to do next.

Students and parents are welcome to the fair to find out the latest information on courses, admission requirements, tuition fees, future career prospects, scholarships and accommodations from various institutions participating in the education fairs. Admission is free.

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Sale Of Non-Nutritious Foods Outside School Compound Will Be Monitored – Mahdzir Khalid

Saturday, February 25th, 2017

NILAI, Feb 23 (Bernama) — The Education Ministry will monitor and conduct enforcement against the selling of foods categorised as ‘banned foods’ or non-nutritious foods outside the school compound.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said the matter would be implemented in collaboration with the Department of Health, the local authority and the State Education Office through the National Blue Ocean Strategy (NBOS).

“I think it is high time for us to take this effort to monitor as well as to conduct enforcement on this matter,” he said.

He was speaking to reporters after a dialogue with 238 participants of National Professional Qualification for Educational Leaders (2017 intake) programme here, today.

He said the department would continuously conduct regular visits to school canteens to ensure that operators follow the guidelines,

So far, he said surveillance and monitoring of food sold at school canteens was still under control as they were sold by predefined categories.

Among the foods categorised as banned food are sweets, pickled fruits, fizzy drinks, chocolate and those sold in the form of little toys such as rings, pictures, balloons and so on.


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All Schools To Be Disabled-Friendly By 2020 – Mahdzir

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 22 (Bernama) — The education ministry has targeted that by 2020, schools nationwide be upgraded with facilities for the disabled, says minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid.

Thus, he hoped more private companies would come forward to collaborate with the ministry in providing such facilities for students with special needs.

“The ministry itself takes the responsibility of providing the facilities (to the disabled) at new schools, but we need strategic partners to fund for old schools,” he said.

Mahdzir was speaking to reporters after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the ministry and RHB Foundation here today.

The collaboration benefits 505 disabled students at five schools in the Klang Valley, namely SK Seri Indah and SMK Desa Perdana in Kuala Lumpur; SK Bukit Rimau and SM Pendidikan Khas Vokasional in Shah Alam; and SMK Taman Desa 2 in Rawang.

The RM500,000 project involves upgrading facilities such as new toilets for the disabled, pick-up and drop-off areas, ramps and handrails. These facilities were completed last year.

Mahdzir said the five schools were chosen based on the highest number of students with special needs.


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Exploring Korean teaching and learning

Sunday, February 19th, 2017

SOUTH Korea, or the Republic of Korea (ROK), has emerged as the world number one for educating students. I was curious about what made that nation progress so fast up the ladder of education and economics compared to Malaysia.

As a participant of the Asean-Korea Exchange Fellowship Programme 2016/2017, I spent three weeks conducting research in schools, the Seoul National University, and meeting some Korean think tanks.

My primary research was to explore primary school education in the ROK, focusing on the teaching of morality and healthy body programmes for primary school pupils.

After in-depth document analysis on the educational history of the ROK, I have a clearer picture of why ROK can emerge as the world number one for education.

Firstly, the country sets a solid foundation by investing heavily in early preschool education (up to five years old).

It goes back to basics: this is the formative age for character formation and healthy bodies.

Historically, education started in the ROK with character development more than 500 years ago. Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism were the pillars behind the basis for character formation.

By 1949, preschool education for every Korean child was compulsory, and parents who could not afford it were provided with subsidies to ensure that no child was left behind.

The focus of early education was on basic hygiene, character development and leading a progressive life. By the time these children came to primary school, basic skills have been learnt, and they seem mature for their age; knowing the right food to eat and behaving appropriately in school and public spheres.

With character having been developed and formed according to norms of society, teachers in elementary school can fully focus on the teaching and learning process.

The second important factor that speeds up world class education in the ROK is training of teachers and the excellent support system for teachers at all levels (elementary school, middle high school and high school).

For a start, teacher candidates are selected from students who obtained excellent results in high school and have a well-rounded record in school.

They are provided with comprehensive, up to date training; merging hundreds of years of local wisdom with the latest Western and Eastern educational philosophy that has been proven effective not just in one but many developed nations.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology ensures that teachers receive high wages, have small number of students in their classes for deep teaching and learning to take place. This provides the opportunity for the ROK teachers to research the latest method of teaching and learning so that they can maximise the opportunities from the time spent with students in the classroom.

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Teaching young children about money

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017
HAVING two children under the age of two, I don’t yet need to teach them about money. In fact, they are teaching me about money, especially the cost of raising children.

But, I am already thinking about how to teach them about money. I want to make sure they do not become spoiled and they are financially educated, so they will be less vulnerable to temptations and scams.

Some parents believe you shouldn’t talk about money in front of kids. I believe the opposite and think you definitely should talk about money in front of kids.

As Oscar Wilde famously wrote “When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.”

Here are a few of the tips and tricks that I want to use to teach my kids about money when they are a little bit older.
* Make money magnets by glueing magnets to coins and putting them on the fridge. Show how many five sen coins you need to equal a 20 sen coin.

* Point out all the different ways that people earn money, starting with those close to them, such as family members. Talk about employees and entrepreneurs and students and retirees and how all of them add value.

* Take your children to a wet market and show them how to negotiate with the sellers and how price differences for the same product could lead to arbitrage.

* Save money with coupons for supermarkets, count the savings and spend them on something fun.

* Create a piggy bank that is split up for saving, donating, spending and investing. Show them they can do multiple things with their money, rather than just spending it.

* Create a savings goal when they want a big-ticket item. Visualise the weekly progress in a chart. Brainstorm with them on how to save money or make more money in order to accelerate the progress. See how long the big-ticket item can hold their interest. Perhaps they realise that if their purchase takes three months to save for it, perhaps it is not worth it after all?

* Despite all the advantages of plastic, I would use cash for as many transactions as possible. I want my kids to understand money is not some magical entity which grows on trees, but that it is something finite which can be gained and lost, managed and controlled.

* Let them make financial mistakes. I rather have a 10-year-old that is crying because he spent all his pocket money in the candy store and didn’t save anything for the toy store, than a 25-year old who spends all his money on a car and is then evicted from his house because he can’t pay the rent.

Making mistakes is crucial for learning, just as falling is a necessary part of learning to walk. The earlier they make these mistakes, the smaller the consequences.

Teach them about the finiteness of money by letting them make trade-offs and let them learn to prioritise: the zoo or the amusement park? Bring your own lunch and have money for toys or dine out? A Sony Playstation or a new book or toy every week?

From education to rural growth, the youth speak their mind

Friday, January 20th, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia needs an education system that is more flexible and industry-oriented instead of focusing on exams, say youths.

At the dialogue during the launch of the National Transformation 2050 (TN50), one youth, Fanitsyara Kam Phon, told Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak that she wanted an education syllabus not too focused on exams.

“We need education that is more industry-oriented. I have a few seniors who are not even 30 years old but have already changed jobs at least four times.

“This is because they are not able to adapt since they had an exam-oriented syllabus,” said the final year biotechnology student from Universiti Malaya.

Fanitsyara, 23, also said she wanted Malaysians to have equal opportunities and access to edu­cation.

“We also need to inculcate the culture of innovation, where people are more inspired to turn ideas into inventions.

“If we can achieve this, we may even have our own Nobel Prize winner in the future,” she said.

Najib had engaged Malaysian youths in the dialogue to hear their views and aspirations on what should be included in the TN50 roadmap. Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin was also at the dialogue.

Najib also heard from environmentalist Rashvin Pal Singh on how Malaysia can be a more environmentally friendly nation.

“Our aspiration for Malaysia is to be carbon neutral, or even carbon negative, by 2050, so one suggestion is to implement a carbon tax system.

“We should also have a minimum quota on forest reserves, and look towards making renewable energy the preferred source of power so that in 2050, Malaysia can be fully powered by renewable energy,” he said.

Civil servants were not left unheard, as Wan Abdul Hadi Wan Mohd Shafie, 36, described his dream of seeing a world-class public service.

“There are many spaces which we can improve on, like making it easier to do business or remove regulations. For example, businesses in Kuala Lumpur may have needed many licences to operate but now you don’t need so many,” he said.

Medical graduate-turned-independent rural contractor Dr Azeem Shah Ajaz, 26, said rural areas should be included in development.

“Malaysia has a good infrastructure system but this should be expanded to include the rural areas, so the people there are not left behind.

Adam Reza, 25, who works with a public affairs consulting firm, said there was a need for inclusive growth so that Malaysians on the lower rungs of the economic ladder could progress in the next 30 years.

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NUTP: Don’t bog down teachers with extra tasks for now

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

TEACHERS should not be given additional non-teaching duties especially in the initial period of the new school year. This is to give them more time to engage with their pupils.

Kamarozaman Abd Razak, president of the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) said it wasn’t fair to expect teachers to handle administrative duties and at the same time, manage their students and lessons.

He added that at least the first few weeks of school should be for teachers to get better acquainted with their pupils especially those starting Year One.

“The first month is the transistion period for teachers and pupils especially those in primary schools to get to know each other, but most teachers are bogged down with keying data and are not even present in class.

“NUTP hopes teachers can be spared from their administrative duties in January so that they can focus on their pupils in class,” added Kamarozaman.


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More power for state and district education offices

Sunday, January 15th, 2017
The ministry will also focus on the professional development of teachers, says Mahdzir.

The ministry will also focus on the professional development of teachers, says Mahdzir.

THE administration of the Education Ministry will be revamped to give more authority to state education departments (JPN) and district education offices (PPD).

In the past, all decisions were made by the ministry before being passed down to the respective JPNs and PPDs, said minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid.

“With the restructuring, some of the decisions will be made at the JPN and/or PPD levels,” he said after his new year address to ministry staff in Putrajaya on Tuesday.

The minister said the Public Service Department approved the revamp last December, which was intended to fine tune administrative matters and reduce red tape.

Other key issues that the ministry will be addressing this year include minimising the workload of teachers.

Previously, teachers were unduly burdened by administrative duties.

Beginning this year, they will only be required to fill in students’ database applications (Aplikasi Pangkalan Data Murid) and information related to school-based assessments.

“Other applications involving school operations such as the education information management system (Sistem Pengurusan Maklumat Pendidikan) and online registrations will be done only by teachers appointed to carry out data entry – a group of teachers known as guru data and examination secretaries,” he said.

Mahdzir said the ministry will also focus on the continuous development of teachers through the Teacher Professionalism Development Plan.

“The plan will help motivate teachers and tap their skills and potential to the fullest.

“The plan is flexible enough to meet the needs and varying competencies of individuals, organisational requirements, and current standards in a systematic and integrated manner,” he added.

Further emphasis will be given to areas such as budget allocations and on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

“We will also look into having more holistic school-based assessments, and a new Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) format.

“The reality about the change in format for the UPSR is that it has only changed from objective questions to subjective questions,” Mahdzir said.


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A thing or two that varsities must learn to do

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

THE Year of the Rooster is just around the corner. Perhaps, this should serve as a cue for us to slay the tricky chicken-and-egg situations that trouble us and impede our progress.

That surely applies to our public universities. Last week, using Universiti Malaya as the prime example, Sunday Star highlighted how shrinking government allocations have made it more difficult to operate these universities.

Budget cuts have forced the universities to reduce their teaching force and spend less on facilities. Such measures will no doubt dilute academic quality.

And today, Sunday Star reports on the waning appeal of public universities.

Many parents and students prefer to opt for higher education in the private sector despite the higher costs because it is perceived that these institutions produce better graduates.

Employers too share this view and are often more likely to hire those who have studied in private universities.

Generally, the government funding that a public university gets is largely determined by its size and importance, which in turn hinges on its enrolment numbers and the work it does.

So here is the chicken-and-egg situation. Tighter budgets tend to hurt quality. And when quality is compromised, it is harder for the university to attract students.

So how does the university put up a case for more money when its ability to shape students into sought-after graduates and to yield top-notch research, appears to be diminishing?

According to Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, public universities have become too dependent on government funding and that way of doing things is unsustainable.

It does not help that the statistics suggest that the Government is not getting enough bang for its bucks that go to higher education.

Expenditure efficiency in public universities must improve, said Idris. And that is prominent in one of the 10 shifts outlined in the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education).

Shift 5 focuses on financial sustainability. The aim is to create a sustainable financing system for Malaysia’s higher education.

This financing system revolves around outcomes and performance. For it to work well, all stakeholders in the public, private and social sectors must contribute.

“This Shift is critical as Malaysia will need to deliver quality higher education to almost twice as many students over the next decade at a time of rising costs and budgetary constraints,” says the Higher Education Ministry in the Blueprint.

The Star Says,

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