Archive for the ‘Educational Issues’ Category

Lesson schools need to learn

Friday, April 28th, 2017

Gangsterism in school: Students celebrating a Gang 24 special day outside a school in Klang.

Gangsterism in school: Students celebrating a Gang 24 special day outside a school in Klang.

The recent rampage outside schools has again highlighted a major problem with schools – the weaknesses in a system that overlooks poor performing students, making them easy targets for gangs.

THEY could have been scenes from the Wild Wild West. It was in Klang, the western gateway into the country but instead of cowboys, horses and guns, there were schoolboys, kapcais and firecrackers.

Anyone who saw the videos of the gang that wreaked havoc outside schools in the Selangor royal town would have been horrified.

These were schoolboys, sent there to study. But the teachers had no answers for the kind of trouble these youths created as they celebrated their “special day”. And then there was that kid, treating a string of firecrackers like a cowboy’s lasso.

Privately, I hoped he would get burnt.

The thing is: it is not an isolated event. Schools throughout the country are being infiltrated by gangs, whatever the number they go by.

Just a few years ago, there were horror stories coming out of a school in Rawang.

The boys there were aged just between 14 and 16, and already they were hardcore gangsters and – worse – rapists and molesters.

It was only after the story of a 14-year-old rape victim broke that the authorities finally cracked the whip. The girl had been raped multiple times – within the school premises!

What were the teachers doing? Were they truly ignorant of what was happening? Or were they afraid of the “outside people” who were behind the schoolboys? It’s likely that they were afraid of these backers. And so were the schoolmates and residents nearby.

Even in the Klang case, there is word that the gang is backed by a relative of a well-connected politician. We don’t know if it is true, but there is a WhatsApp message going around to that effect. It is for the cops to investigate.

The cops say WhatsApp is one of their biggest banes too. The gang members communicate using the app and, already, WhatsApp groups called “Gang 24” and “Apache” have been found.

Again, it is likely that the teachers knew what was going on and were afraid to act, because of the outside influence.

It’s not just in Klang or Rawang. Right in the nation’s capital of Kuala Lumpur and its satellite city of Petaling Jaya, students are signing up to join gangs for just RM30.

According to child rights activist James Nayagam, some students have no choice in the matter. It is either join them or get beaten up by them.

The former Suhakam commissioner agrees that the teachers are afraid of these gangs.

“Moving the student to a different school won’t help as often there will be members from the same gang waiting in the other schools for him,” he told a news portal.

According to him, there is a lot to be done for our education system. Very often, teachers have their eyes on their own KPIs.

The more high-scoring students they produce, the better they look in the eyes of the administrators.

The timid and low-performing students are overlooked and teachers don’t pay attention to them. The low-performers all get thrown into one class and are left to fend for themselves.

They are easy targets for the gangs.

“They will look for lonely, timid students from some of the lower-performing classes and offer them protection,” says Nayagam.

by DORAIRAJ NADASON
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/columnists/why-not/2017/04/28/lesson-schools-need-to-learn-the-recent-rampage-outside-schools-has-again-highlighted-a-major-proble/#3MaAxEUzyBd84ZbL.99

Supporting schools to achieve success

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Teachers constantly review their plan of interventions.

The improvement in the students’ performance in the 2017 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) English language paper was celebrated by many, including schools, teachers, students, parents and of course the Ministry of Education (MoE).

The ministry has been tireless in its efforts to improve the standard of English language amongst students. The MoE is constantly planning and executing programmes to ensure that students excel further to become globally competitive as stated in the Malaysian Education Blueprint (MEB) 2013-2025.

It has outlined several initiatives to help students improve their command of the language and one which is directly linked to student outcome is the English Language Enhancement Programme (Program Peningkatan Bahasa Inggeris di Sekolah), or more popularly known by its acronym PPKBIS, which was initiated in 2014.

PPKBIS aims to improve student outcomes through a systematic data-driven approach. It involves secondary School Improvement Specialist Coaches (SISC+) and English teachers who are teaching upper secondary classes. The impact of this programme is measured through students’ performance in the SPM English language paper. This programme will reach out to 204,000 students annually.

The success of this programme is attributed to the professional training provided by the English Language Training Centre (ELTC), Ministry of Education, to all the SISC+. These training sessions have covered topics such as differentiated teaching and learning, coaching and mentoring, and multiple thinking strategies that can help students excel in English language learning. The knowledge gained through these courses has assisted the SISC+ to impart effective and meaningful pedagogical techniques in teaching and learning to teachers.

SISC+ provide continuous support to English teachers in the districts under their purview. They plan workshops and activities to guide English teachers effectively. They also coach them on how to address the multi-level needs and varied competencies of the students. The workshops conducted as part of the training sessions provide models of good delivery and serve as a platform for SISC+ to exchange ideas and best practices.

An important component of PPKBIS is the School Support Plan (SSP) which started in 2015 and designed for Form Four teachers. It specifically targets the improvement of students’ writing skills, especially for those who will sit for the SPM examination. The teachers training sessions provide them the knowledge and skills on how interventions are designed to cater to the needs of students in a particular school. SSP also aims to develop reflective practitioners who are committed to students’ progressive development and improvement through responsive, student-centred pedagogy. Teachers are also trained to use various types of data to understand students’ learning gaps and design relevant intervention activities to overcome these gaps.

There are several pertinent stages in the School Support Plan. It begins with the process of identifying students’ weaknesses and their learning gaps through data analysis of the pre-test in the form of an essay. The findings guide the teachers to develop intervention strategies to address the gaps found in the students’ written work. The well-planned and thought-through interventions are then carried out in the classroom. The teachers are also involved in ongoing reflections after each intervention. They constantly review their plan of interventions for future actions. The significance of this continuous cycle is that it is repeated until the students’ learning needs and gaps are successfully addressed. The post-test of the same topic is evidence of the students’ improvement.

Teachers are optimistic in implementing the interventions they designed. According to them, this systematic approach in helping students improve is something that they had needed for some time, but have been unable to consolidate.

by Raja Nor Safinas Raja Harun and Dr Khairul Aini Mohamed .

Read more @ http://www.nst.com.my/education/2017/04/231885/supporting-schools-achieve-success

20 chairmen appointed to meet Sabah-born teachers target

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: In a bid to have a minimum of 90 per cent Sabah-born teachers in the State by 2018, a total of 20 education officers were appointed chairman of the Interview Boards, Sabah Commission of Education Service.

The officers, who hold the post of at least grade DG48 and are Sabah-born, received their credential letters from Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Joseph Entulu Belaun, during a ceremony at the State Federal Government Administration Complex near here yesterday.

Joseph, in his opening address, said that Sabah is well on its way to achieving the 90 per cent target, given that 81 per cent of teachers in the State are currently local.

“As of now, the Ministry of Education has successfully placed 81 per cent of Sabah-born teachers in the State. That said, I am confident the 90 per cent mark will be achieved by 2018,” he said.

Meanwhile, the commission’s chairman, Tan Sri Dr Haili Dolhan, said that the appointments were the outcome of an agreement by the cabinet on September 9, 2015 and the meeting between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and former Sarawak Chief Minister, the late Tan Sri Adenan Satem on January 20 last year on the proposed empowerment to the state governments of Sabah and Sarawak

Read more @ http://www.theborneopost.com/2017/04/26/20-chairmen-appointed-to-meet-sabah-born-teachers-target

PAGE voices concern at chair-throwing that injured Year Two pupil.

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

PETALING JAYA: The Parent Action Group for Education (Page) has expressed deep concern for an incident at a school in Penampang, where a Year Two student suffered a big gash on his head after a teacher threw a wooden chair out of anger.

Its chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said nothing would justify a teacher flinging a chair at a child, and wants the authorities to look into this matter very seriously.

She said that the teacher in question should be fired if found guilty, even if he or she shows remorse and regardless of whether the child’s parents initiate a case.

“We stand firm that teachers who assault, bully, threaten, or victimise students sexually, verbally or physically should be kept away from students immediately pending investigation.

“Once the teacher is found guilty, he or she should be fired,” Noor Azimah said in a statement.

She was referring to The Star’s report on Friday, where the Year Two pupil required eight stitches on his head after the teacher flung a chair in the direction of another student who was reportedly creating a nuisance in class.

The boy’s mother, who wanted to be known as Wanie, said she would not be pursuing legal action following discussions with the teacher, the school, and the Sabah Education Department.

However. Noor Azimah said that parents should not be afraid to take action against the teacher as “children have a right to be protected from irresponsible adults”.
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/04/22/page-expresses-concern-over-teacher-throwing-chair/#bPwkkHR9GgYXITHm.99

Rural schools to be transformed

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017
Mahdzir speaking during the Education Ministrys Excellent Service Awards 2016 ceremony.
Mahdzir speaking during the Education Ministrys Excellent Service Awards 2016 ceremony.

DILAPIDATED schools in rural areas will be transformed into community centres under the Government’s National Blue Ocean Strategy (NBOS).

Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said the initiative, called My New School, will involve the upgrading and renovation of certain schools to equip them with modern learning facilities to benefit students.

“This will also turn the school into a community hub where social activities with the local community can be carried out,” he said in his speech at the Education Ministry’s Excellent Service Awards 2016 ceremony last Tuesday.

“The Civil Defence Force or the police can also organise social activities (within the school),” he said.

He also said that health clinics can be opened on school grounds.

“A lot of activities can be carried out inside the school compound,” he said, adding that the school hall can be used for talks and other community programmes.

He added that the chosen schools are those that are far from any clinics or community halls.

Last year, four schools were chosen in Sabah and Sarawak. This year, four more schools from Kedah, Negri Sembilan, Malacca and Pahang are expected to be added to the list, while Sabah and Sarawak will contribute four more, bringing the total to 12.

by REBECCA RAJAENDRAM
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2017/04/16/rural-schools-to-be-transformed/#vyAJ1koKdiILRt0X.99

Education Ministry To Ensure Students Given Opportunities To Meet Language Needs

Friday, April 21st, 2017

NILAI, April 19 �(Bernama) –�The Education Ministry will�ensure that students are given the opportunities to meet language�needs through well-planned activities.

Its deputy director-general Dr Amin Senin�said the ministry was�determined�to implement programmes and initiatives that enhanced the quality of instruction in classrooms to ensure students would�gain experience�which gives emphasis to critical thinking, creative thinking, collaborating and communicating.

“Malaysia, like many other countries, recognises the importance of strengthening existing language foundation for their future needs. It is hoped that students will have greater choice and flexibility in �their future career endeavours,” he said.

He said this in his closing remarks at the Outreach Carnival in conjunction�with World Book and Copyright Day 2017 themed�Culinary Arts, here, today.

His text of speech was read by Education deputy director of Teacher Standards Dr Noor Zaila�Wahab.

Also present was�English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC) Director Dr Mohamed Abu Bakar.

BERNAMA.

Rad more @ http://education.bernama.com/index.php?sid=news_content&id=1349074

Why we need ‘useless’ knowledge

Sunday, April 16th, 2017

The research Nur Adlyka Annuar (sitting second from left) and her colleagues are doing is curiosity driven and therefore, it is considered as basic research

ON April 4, Nur Adlyka Annuar, an astronomy PhD candidate at Durham University, received a congratulatory letter from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for her part in the discovery of a supermassive black hole. Like many other Malaysians, I take pride in her achievement and wish her the best for the future. I am not going to elaborate on the subject of black holes, but I would like to centre our discussion on the nature of Adlyka’s topic of study.

In Malaysia, research being carried out in the universities and research institutes can generally be divided into fundamental or basic research, and applied research. So what are the differences between these two streams of research?

Basic research, as the name implies, is the acquisition of knowledge about the fundamental workings of our natural world. It aims to answer questions that are usually curiosity driven, such as, “Why is our sky blue?; How do we get a disease?; What are those twinkling lights we see in the night sky?; Why/How does a firefly flash/glow?; How does the body turn food into energy?” and others like it. The questions that can stem from our curiosity are perhaps endless and there will always be new questions as we understand new things.

Applied research on the other hand takes on the knowledge that is acquired from basic research and develops that knowledge into a useful application such as a technology or a technique. But let’s not dwell on definitions and instead look at some real-world examples.

Nur Adlyka’s research into black holes appears to have no apparent use except in terms of knowledge value — so now you know that there is a huge black hole a few million light years away. Many of us are not even concerned with what

goes on in our own neighbourhoods, this makes

a place that is not even reachable within our

lifetime as hardly something that would spark our interest. The research Adlyka and her colleagues are doing is curiosity driven and therefore it is considered as basic research. Nevertheless, such knowledge may have uses that we may not yet be aware of.

The most expensive scientific infrastructure (I dare not call it an instrument) ever constructed, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), basically just accelerates very, very small objects of matter called particles and crashes them into each other in order to see what happens. Again, there appears to be nothing that can be gained commercially in return for the tens of billions of dollars invested in the LHC except furthering our understanding of the world around us. But yet, developed nations and funding agencies are spending millions and billions of dollars to support fundamental research that has no apparent use.

One of my favourite stories on basic research and applied research is the one about the discovery of antibiotics. Sir Alexander Fleming, the biologist who is credited with the discovery of antibiotics, observed that bacteria he was trying to culture were not able to grow near a mould that had contaminated his culture plates. He translated this to mean that the mould was producing something that was preventing bacterial growth. However, it was Lord Howard Florey and Sir Ernst Chain who took that knowledge and developed it into the application of antibiotics that we know of today. All three were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1945.

Another story that has had a large impact on humankind is the discovery of Röntgen radiation. Wilhelm Röntgen was the first winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1901. He was experimenting with vacuum tubes when he chanced upon the discovery of the rays named after him. A few weeks after his discovery of the mysterious rays emanating from the vacuum tubes, he was able to take a photograph using them. The photograph was that of his wife’s hand, or specifically, an image of the bones in his wife’s hand. Not knowing what these rays were, he had named them X-rays, the X in reference to it being something unknown. X-rays and antibiotics have probably saved hundreds of millions of lives since their first use in medicine until the present day.

Basic research contributes to the foundation of our collective knowledge as a species.

Despite what may seem like a waste of funds, knowledge from basic research is the cornerstone that has enabled numerous disruptive innovations that we use in our daily lives. However, is our approach to science and research funding in Malaysia duly considering the impact that fundamental research can bring forth? Or are we arrogant enough to think that we can know which knowledge is going to be useless and which ones will be useful and thus only fund those that will be of perceived future use?

I do not disagree that applied research is necessary. The story about the discovery and following deployment of antibiotics for treating bacterial infections clearly demonstrates how applied research is necessary to capitalise on the fundamental knowledge gained from basic research. But are we just focusing too much on applied research for what we think are quick return of investments for R&D?

by MOHD FIRDAUS RAIH.

Read more @http://www.nst.com.my/education/2017/04/229752/why-we-need-useless-knowledge

Rural schools to be transformed

Sunday, April 16th, 2017
Mahdzir speaking during the Education Ministrys Excellent Service Awards 2016 ceremony.

Mahdzir speaking during the Education Ministrys Excellent Service Awards 2016 ceremony.

DILAPIDATED schools in rural areas will be transformed into community centres under the Government’s National Blue Ocean Strategy (NBOS).

Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said the initiative, called My New School, will involve the upgrading and renovation of certain schools to equip them with modern learning facilities to benefit students.

“This will also turn the school into a community hub where social activities with the local community can be carried out,” he said in his speech at the Education Ministry’s Excellent Service Awards 2016 ceremony last Tuesday.

“The Civil Defence Force or the police can also organise social activities (within the school),” he said.

He also said that health clinics can be opened on school grounds.

“A lot of activities can be carried out inside the school compound,” he said, adding that the school hall can be used for talks and other community programmes.

He added that the chosen schools are those that are far from any clinics or community halls.

Last year, four schools were chosen in Sabah and Sarawak. This year, four more schools from Kedah, Negri Sembilan, Malacca and Pahang are expected to be added to the list, while Sabah and Sarawak will contribute four more, bringing the total to 12.

On another matter, Mahdzir said 8% of the ministry’s staff had been “good” or “excellent” at their work throughout the year, and congratulated them for receiving the excellent service awards.

by  REBECCA RAJAENDRAM
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2017/04/16/rural-schools-to-be-transformed/#HXwJZxbEFvZjvlvG.99

Tengku Abdullah Wants Private Religious Schools Supervised Under One One Roof

Friday, April 14th, 2017

KUANTAN, April 13 (Bernama) — The Regent of Pahang, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah has called on all private religious schools in the state to come under the supervison of Maahad Tahfiz Negeri Pahang (MTNP) so that the quality of education at such schools could be raised.

He said that since its establishment in 1996, MNTP had achieved many successes including emerging as the best school in Pahang for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) results and being one of the top 10 schools at the national level.

“We observe the successes of the MTNP, all the programmes carried out appeared to be effective to produce outstanding results both in terms of studies and cocurriculum,” he told reporters after attending an event at MNTP, Tanjung Lumpur, here today which was also attended by Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob.

Among other successes achieved by MNTP were winning the gold medal in the International Young Inventors programme through the Duo Honey Jelly project and emerging as champion in the Arabic language debate in the Musleh International Debating Championship 2016.

BERNAMA.

Read more @ http://education.bernama.com/index.php?sid=news_content&id=1347323

School Holidays Cannot Be Standardised With IPT Holidays

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, April 5 (Bernama) — School holidays cannot be standardised with the holidays of institutions of higher learning (IPT) because the structuring of the academic calendar for diploma and degree students is under the consideration and planning of the IPT.

According to the Education Ministry, the holiday sessions for government schools in the country are subjected to the education regulations in terms, days and holidays.

Based on the regulations, the number of schooling days for government schools in a year should not be less than 190 days, it said in a written reply to Datuk Seri Abdul Ghapur Salleh (BN-Kalabakan) on the benefits for school holidays not falling simultaneously with the holidays of diploma and degree students.

In another development, the Education Ministry said a review of the curriculum was being conducted for all subjects, including Islamic Education.

It said a new curriculum, the Primary School Standard Curriculum (Revised 2017) and the Secondary School Standard Curriculum, had been implemented with Year 1 and Form 1 students this year.

It said the new curriculum imparted elements of strengthening their understanding of the Sunnah Wal Jamaah based on the concept of moderation.

BERNAMA.

Read more @ http://education.bernama.com/index.php?sid=news_content&id=1344781