Archive for the ‘Educational Issues’ Category

Service-Learning best way to engage, solve community issues

Saturday, September 19th, 2020
During this pandemic, the Department of Language Education in Universiti Selangor, had to think creatively to facilitate an online teaching practice for their final year students. - NSTP file pic, for illustration purposes onlyDuring this pandemic, the Department of Language Education in Universiti Selangor, had to think creatively to facilitate an online teaching practice for their final year students. – NSTP file pic, for illustration purposes only

SERVICE-LEARNING is an educational pedagogy that has been much talked and discussed but least implemented. We want to share our experience on how we revisited the idea of service-learning and immediately began executing it.

During this pandemic, the Department of Language Education in Universiti Selangor, had to think creatively to facilitate an online teaching practice for our final year students. In the beginning, the idea of incorporating the concept of service-learning into teaching practice was merely an alternative.

Later, we found that it is now the best time, to start giving back to the community through this means. It will be a worthwhile learning opportunity for us, especially the students, if they could gain knowledge and engage the community at the same time.

This is grounded on the assumption that university students are the ones who are equipped with progressive knowledge in their field; hence, they have the responsibility to help the community during this difficult time. Thus, for individuals who are frequently bogged down by the belief of “We don’t know how to help” which then hinders them to act, ’service-learning’ is the answer for them.

According to Vanderbilt University, service learning is “a form of experiential education where learning occurs through a cycle of action and reflection as students seek to achieve real objectives for the community and deeper understanding and skills for themselves.”

This complex definition is simplified by Wolpert-Gawron, a teacher who writes on Edutopia, where she explains that “in service-learning, students learn educational standards through tackling real-life problems in their community.” Now that we know what it is, we ask “how do we execute it?”

A service-learning project is carried out to tackle a specific problem in a targeted community. Simultaneously, students involved in this project also gain academic related knowledge, go through assessments, and write reflections through project-based learning.

When enforced to resolve real-life problems via service-learning projects, students may find it a challenge which would then motivate them to be more involved as compared to sitting in a lecture hall. However, identifying a solvable real-life problem may be deemed difficult by some students. Here, the project supervisor, a lecturer, should guide the students by giving clear instructions and objectives.

Prior to engaging the community, students conduct a needs analysis to identify the issue. Data is collected through, first, a survey, and later an in-depth interview with the targeted community. Once they identify the problem, the students develop clear project objectives and a teaching blueprint, in the forms of teaching plan, modules, and assessments. The project can be split into five stages:

1. Research. Students conduct a needs analysis, analyse the results, and present the findings to the project supervisor. In this stage, students gain research knowledge and skills. Besides, students learn how to present data in graphs and charts and communicate them to others.

2. Blueprint development. Based on the findings, students devise a plan, materials, and strategies as well as instruments necessary to solving the identified problem.

3. Project execution. Students carry out the project in the targeted community and evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of the project.

4. Assessment. Assessing students in a service-learning project may be holistically done. All parties, including university and community, are involved in the assessment. Since the community can have their say on the student performance, it is suggested that they are given a rubric as a guide to evaluate.

The project supervisor evaluates the knowledge and skills that students apply in the execution of the project.

5. Reflection. The students can evaluate themselves through a reflection. They think back on what they gain throughout the project and examine what they have carried out.

The key idea of service-learning lies in the commitment to promote societal engagement via educational activities. Students will share their knowledge and expertise while working in partnership with local organisations and residents. At the same time, the students get the chance to experiment and evaluate the knowledge and skills learned in the university.

More importantly, service-learning approach offers a meaningful experience for the students. ‘Meaning’ is crucial for an effective learning. For this reason, more service-learning initiatives are urgently needed.

By Dr Astri YuliaDr Soo Ruey Shing

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Consider foreign teachers too

Saturday, September 19th, 2020
As a foreign student studying at an international school in this country, it is comforting news to hear and experience first hand that Malaysia is a safe place for foreign students to be and to study. As a foreign student studying at an international school in this country, it is comforting news to hear and experience first hand that Malaysia is a safe place for foreign students to be and to study.

LETTERS: I feel Malaysia is a very open country that also welcomed international students even during Covid-19 pandemic.

As a foreign student studying at an international school in this country, it is comforting news to hear and experience first hand that Malaysia is a safe place for foreign students to be and to study.

Ever since lockdown measures, admittedly many foreigners weren’t able to come back in, but for those who are here, “we very much welcome the government’s decision to allow international students attending universities here to resume their studies.”

Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS) has also drafted the standard operating procedures proposal to the Higher Education Ministry (MOHE) for all returning international students,” according to your report a few months back.

As such, it is a great blessing that students can return to study. The one drawback is the strict restrictions for foreign teachers to come back. As significant as it is for students to return, it is also important that students will be able to learn from the right teachers.

Our school has been somewhat struggling to fill in those spots for the teachers who aren’t able to come back and resume teaching. Imagine yourself as a Biology major teaching the subject, but you’re having to teach chemistry as well.

How hard do you think it would be? Along with that, you have to take care of your online students as well. If Malaysia’s education is on the top list, it shouldn’t be a problem to allow foreign teachers to try to get in.

by Juyoung Kim.

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Resolving ‘squatting’ school issue a priority for Education Ministry – Radzi

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

Dr Radzi Jidin – File photo

KUDAT (Sept 15): Resolving the issue of “squatting” schools in Sabah is a priority for Education Ministry, said Senior Minister Dr Radzi Jidin.

To date, he said there are a total of 23 schools squatting in another schools in the state including secondary schools squatting in primary schools.

He said the issue was due to various factors including the failure of the contractor to complete the school building project within the allotted time.

“We want the allocation to be coordinated to these schools based on priorities, among others, the school capacity,” he told reporters after attending a programme at the Kudat Sports Complex here yesterday.

For example, he said Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Langkon in Kota Marudu was squatting in Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Langkon.

Radzi said the construction of SMK Langkon had started a few years ago but due to some issues it was delayed.

During his recent visit to SK Langkon, Radzi also found that the facilities and buildings were in poor condition.

“We hope that the construction work can be resumed in the near future. The tender has been called for the construction of this project,” he said.

by Bernama.

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Students allowed to travel abroad for further studies

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

The government today agreed to allow students who need to continue their studies or register as new students to travel abroad. – Bernama file photo

PUTRAJAYA (Sept 15): The government today agreed to allow students who need to continue their studies or register as new students to travel abroad.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said they do not need to apply for approval from the Malaysian Immigration Department, but are required to submit proof, such as their student card and the offer letter.

“Parents who want to send and accompany their children abroad are allowed, but limited to only two persons, they cannot bring their (whole) family like before

“Upon their return, they are required to undergo the 14-day mandatory quarantine,” he said at a daily press conference on the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO)  here today.

Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri urged the public to fill up the e-Census, which ends this Sept 30, to reduce the face-to-face interview which will begin on Oct 7.

Ismail Sabri said until now, only 1.5 million of the approximately 32.7 million population had filled the e-Census through the website

“Following the Covid-19 pandemic, the government would like to urge the public to participate in the 2020 Census through the e-Census which will expire in 15 days,” he added.

He said the government had set strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) for census operations at private residences and institutions, which included the requirement for census takers to wear face mask and observe physical distancing.

Meanwhile, he said the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) arrested 132 individuals for flouting regulations on RMCO yesterday.

They were arrested for offences which included participating in activities where physical distancing was difficult, failure to prepare screening and registration facilities and for joining private parties.

Apart from that, 46 illegal immigrants were arrested in Ops Benteng yesterday, he added.

by Bernama.

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Bring back education with a ’soul’

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020
Good governance in education is deemed by experts to have failed if  there is a decline in institutional integrity and capacity, aggravated by arbitrary actions and  compromised by conflict of interests. - NSTP file picGood governance in education is deemed by experts to have failed if there is a decline in institutional integrity and capacity, aggravated by arbitrary actions and compromised by conflict of interests. – NSTP file pic

UNDER the influence of Covid-19 where things are more fluid and uncertain, good governance becomes even more important to understand and practise. Although more frequently addressed from the corporate sector viewpoint, it is not a one-size-fits-all approach.

Hence, when forced on the education sector, it falls terribly short like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. It damages and distorts education, including higher education.

Attempts to hijack education subtly in this way by “corporatising” (read: commercialising) it has not met with much success. It explains the bastardised version as it is today — an education without soul.

The concept of governance, according to the International Bureau of Education, a Unesco-based organisation, refers to “structures and processes that are designed to ensure accountability, transparency, responsiveness, rule of law, stability, equity and inclusiveness, empowerment and broad-based participation”.

Rule of law is one of many that make up the vistas of education, where governance is more subtle and may not be easily observable. This include the process of decision-making and mechanisms for holding governments accountable, especially in the context of public affairs where education is deemed a public good.

It, therefore, encompasses the various aspects of “how power is distributed and shared, how policies are formulated, priorities set and stakeholders made accountable”. Arguably, it is also in tandem with the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, 2016-2030).

Good governance in education is deemed by experts to have failed if there is a decline in institutional integrity and capacity, aggravated by arbitrary actions and compromised by conflict of interests.

Political interference and patronage appointments are among the dominant examples undermining the institutional autonomy and integrity of education institutions worldwide, including in Malaysia. Such actions have increasingly been reported to dominate and distort well-thought-out policies and procedures by weakening the leadership capacity of the institution.

Especially when the processes and decisions are shrouded in ‘intelligence’ (read: rumours) that is unsubstantiated with no disclosure of the reasons and evidence associated with the said actions. On several occasions this opens wide the window of corruption and self-interest in manipulating the academic sector. Most affected are those at the bottom of the economic pyramid.

In other words, it tolerates the practices of bad governance by turning the education ecosystem into a marketplace to commoditise learning and schooling for the purposes of “improving” the livelihood (economy), at the expense of promoting life and living (sustainability).

To this end, good governance goes beyond the casual understanding where the stakeholders are prioritised over the rest.

This is increasingly apparent today where educational disparities and divides are widening. Traits that are inherently egocentric, selfish, exploitative and discriminatory are being exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic in virtually all sectors.

In this context, Education for Sustainable Development introduced in the early 2000s and the more recent SDGs are the transformative platforms to shape a more sustainable tomorrow through good governance.

Under the Covid-19 lockdowns, positive values of selflessness are manifested across the globe whereby humanity has a chance to undergo self-healing in such a way that nature gradually can self-repair, overturning the long-term impact of human harm and abuse.

The overall target is to move against the negative values and practice so that education begins to align itself in a balanced co-existence with Mother Nature. An education with soul.

By Dzulkifli Abdul Razak
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Schools a good starting point to raise awareness

Friday, September 11th, 2020
Pix for representational purposes only. -- FILE PIXPix for representational purposes only. — FILE PIX

LETTER: Depression is more prevalent now than several decades ago. Research shows that one in four people is susceptible to depression.

What is worrying is that depression can recur, so early detection is vital in order to get proper treatment. We need to be alert and treat depression as seriously as we regard other health issues like cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

We must have proper knowledge about it, especially the symptoms and how to help ourselves and the people around us to overcome it. Probably, the most prevailing effect amid the Covid-19 pandemic is depression.

Many people are reportedly susceptible to or have been diagnosed with depression and other mental conditions due to loss of jobs or separation from their loved ones. Due to this global catastrophe, relationships are affected and many have fallen into depression.

The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry is taking efforts to address depression among the people, including operating the 24-hour Talian Kasih 15999 line.

It was reported that the calls increased exponentially since the Movement Control Order was enforced on March 18.

The cases comprised mainly domestic violence and depression during the lockdown.

Mental health is a major concern. We must treat it at the early stage. I suggest that the government introduce a subject on psychology in primary schools, with the syllabus touching on how to recognise feelings and how to cope with them.

Students should be taught about good and bad feelings, what causes them and how to handle them. They should learn how to recognise and deal with stress.

They must know the importance of taking calculated risks and building a strong persona and mental health to face rejection or failures in life.

The syllabus now covers only topics that promote success and achievement without the skills vital to face failures in life.

That’s why we are producing adults with a “do-it-or-die” mentality, which results in depression and suicide should their career or love life go south.

We celebrate successes and scorn failures, when in fact failures are vital tools for learning. This is the quintessential life skill that we need to instil in the young minds in order for them to strive.

I hope we can see a positive change in the mental wellbeing of Malaysians with the implementation of a proper system pertaining to the care for our mental health.

A country can be steered forward with not only healthy bodies but also sane and intelligent minds.

We must all play our part to overcome this issue to build a nation with a sustainable future.

Lastly, I would like to share a beautiful quote on what makes a human being: “The body is an outstanding source of strength; the mind an incredible source of intelligence; the heart an uncommon source of might; and the soul a remarkable source of power.”


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Working together for Sabah schools

Thursday, September 10th, 2020
Dr Radzi Jidin speaking to students of SMK Nambayan, Tambunan.Dr Radzi Jidin speaking to students of SMK Nambayan, Tambunan.

NABAWAN: The Education Ministry needs close rapport with the state government to streamline education development programmes in Sabah.

If state and federal governments do not move on the same page, Senior Education Minister Dr Radzi Jidin said his ministry would face difficulties in implementing any programme for the state.

He said this was important to ensure Sabah was not left behind and that problems related to education infrastructure, especially in rural areas, can be tackled without any obstacle.

“The state government needs to be in line with us. The same goes for the State Education Department, District Education Office (PPD), and schools, so we can bring education in Sabah to a better level,” he said.

Radzi emphasised this in his speech during a meet-and-greet event with the Senior Education Minister at SMK Nambayan and SMK Tambunan in Tambunan as well as SK Pekan Nabawan here, on Sunday.

The same message was also reiterated in every school walkabout he did in Penampang and Keningau districts during his two-day visit to the interior of Sabah.

Radzi’s presence in the interior was very much welcomed by teachers and schools’ Parent and Teachers Association.

SK Pekan Nabawan headmaster Quirins Williams said the school community was honoured to have the opportunity to meet with the senior minister.

“We hope that his visit can provide a boost in improving the quality of education in Nabawan,” she said.

By Avila GeraldineOlivia Miwil.

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MOE to identify holistic approach to overcome device ownership issues

Sunday, September 6th, 2020

Dr Radzi Jidin interacting with students of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Nambayan Tambunan during the the Kupi-Kupi event at the school today. – Bernama photo

TAMBUNAN (Sept 6): The Education Ministry (MOE)  is identifying a more holistic and comprehensive approach to overcome the lack of electronic device ownership among students, this to ensure a smoother virtual teaching and learning process at home in the future.

Its minister, Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin said according to the ministry’s survey on online learning, involving 900,000 students nationwide, 36 per cent do not own any electronic device.

“There are too many students who do not have electronic devices or gadgets to be used for home-based learning including online learning.

“Due to that, the ministry is looking holistically at the best approach, to enable students to have reasonable access (to devices) and implement a comprehensive system that provide give optimum benefit to them,” he told reporters after attending the Kupi-Kupi event at Sekolah Menengah Nambayan here, today.

Also present was Sabah Education director Dr Mistirine Radin and the school’s principal Soffrie Aniar Abdullah.

Earlier, Mohd Radzi in his speech said the Education Ministry was also committed to infrastructural development in the state, including the upgrading of school buildings, as many are still in poor condition.

As such, he said the ministry would update the list of such schools to determine priorities, in order to speed up upgrading works based on the Public Works Department assessment.

Mohd Radzi also called for stronger support from the Sabah Education Department, teachers and parents, as he believed that close cooperation between the entities would create a better education system.

In the ceremony, he also presented a mocked cheque worth RM91,800 to the Tambunan District Education Office for special need students’ allowance for the schooling year’s phase two (July-Dec).

by Bernama.

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Covid-19 as an excuse may become a trend

Saturday, September 5th, 2020
Senior Education Minister Dr Radzi Jidin is currently on a working visit to Sabah. - Bernama picSenior Education Minister Dr Radzi Jidin is currently on a working visit to Sabah. – Bernama pic

KENINGAU: The Education Ministry is working hard to find ways to encourage students to return to school amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Its senior minister Dr Radzi Jidin said the Ministry had asked state education departments and district education offices across the country to conduct a study to understand how schools can assist in reducing absenteeism.

“This is important because students’ motivation tends to change when they return to school after staying home for long periods of time. For some, they are too used to staying home and we are worried that these students may choose not to go to school.

“If this problem is not tackled, we are worried more students will be absent (from school) next year if Covid-19 as an excuse for absence becomes a trend,” he said.

Radzi was speaking to reporters after visiting SMK Gunsanad II here, today, as part of his official work visit to Sabah.

He noted the Education Ministry was working closely with the Ministry of Health and National Security Council to ensure it was able to manage and deal with matters pertaining to Covid-19.

“If there is a need for us to close schools, we will not hesitate to do so. That would be on the advice of the Ministry of Health and after discussing it with us (Education Ministry).

“However, when we close a school, it doesn’t mean all schools are not safe. The Ministry is always finding ways to ensure students can return to school safely,” he said.

Earlier, Radzi presented a mock cheque amounting to RM391,500 to the Keningau Education District Office and a mock cheque amounting to RM92,700 to SMK Gunsanad II. The allocation is meant for students’ special allowance.

He also announced an additional RM150,000 allocation to improve hostel facilities at SMK Gunsanad II, currently housing 280 students from its 400 capacity.

By Avila Geraldine .

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New system to tap creative, critical thinking among students

Friday, August 28th, 2020
Education  director-general Datuk Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim showing the Pentaksiran Kemasukan Murid ke Sekolah Khusus document in Putrajaya on Wednesday. -NSTP/MOHD FADLI HAMZAHEducation director-general Datuk Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim showing the Pentaksiran Kemasukan Murid ke Sekolah Khusus document in Putrajaya on Wednesday. -NSTP/MOHD FADLI HAMZAH

PUTRAJAYA: SOME 400,000 students are expected to apply for next year’s admission to boarding schools through the single entry point application system or Pentaksiran Kemasukan Murid ke Sekolah Khusus (PKSK).

Education director-general Datuk Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim said the assessment for the applications would be conducted through online and written tests.

She said the application system for admission of Form One and Form Four students was an enhancement to the single entry point which started two years ago, and that improvements were made by including the Writing Articulation which comprised 10 per cent of the overall assessment mark.

“This component aims to assess the students’ creativity and critical thinking. There is no right or wrong answer.”

The other two parts, she said, were Emotional Quotient, Spiritual Quotient and Social Skills Quotient or SSQ (20 per cent) and Intellectual Quotient, general knowledge and problem-solving (70 per cent), which used the multiple-choice questions format.

Applicants are given 90 minutes to finish the assessments.

She said the assessments for soft skills and intellectual quotient would be conducted online, while the written articulation test would be done in writing.

She said these assessments would apply to applicants for fully-residential Schools (SBP), National Religious Secondary Schools (SMKA), Technical Secondary Schools (SMT), Vocational Colleges (KV) and the Royal Military College (MTD). Maktab Rendah Sains Mara will still use its existing assessment system.

There are a total of 44,653 available placements for both Form 1 and Form 4 in these schools.

“The application for admission to these special schools involve SBP (Form 1 and Form 4), SMKA (Form 1 and Form 4), SMT (Form 4), KV (Year 1 Sijil Vokasional Malaysia – SVM), and MTD (Form 4),” she said, adding that PKSK served as the basic assessment while schools of the specific niches might conduct further evaluation on their applicants.

She said all applicants would sit for the assessments centrally at 555 designated assessment centres nationwide.

Online applications could be made from Sept 7 to Oct 2.

Applicants can start checking which assessment centres they have been assigned to from Oct 7 to Oct 23 for Form 1 and from Oct 12 to Nov 6 for Form 4.

Assessments will be held from Oct 12 to 23 for Form 1 and Oct 26 to Nov 6 for Form 4 and Year 1 SVM.

Applications for admission to Form 1 can be accessed through the link https// and applications to Form 4 via https//

By Nuradzimmah Daim.

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