Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

NST Leader: Education, a basic right

Sunday, November 1st, 2020
When schools closed during the MCO, classes went online. But reportedly there were many issues, including teachers who were not prepared nor trained to conduct classes online and the lack of a virtual syllabus. - NSTP pic, for illustration purposes onlyWhen schools closed during the MCO, classes went online. But reportedly there were many issues, including teachers who were not prepared nor trained to conduct classes online and the lack of a virtual syllabus. – NSTP pic, for illustration purposes only

A RECENT survey conducted by two United Nations agencies has disclosed some disturbing data.

Carried out by the UN Population Fund and UN Children’s Fund, the “Family On Edge” survey revealed that the number of students returning to schools has dropped at an alarming rate as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the survey, one of the areas posing new challenges to policymakers as they battle the pandemic is education. School closings due to Covid-19 have turned a spotlight on such problems and while schools reopened after the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO), not all students have returned.

The survey reported that seven per cent of upper secondary age children from poor families have not returned.

What’s more, the parents surveyed reported that the long lay-off from school seemed to have negatively affected their children, whom, for the most part, have lost interest in education. The biggest challenge facing the respondents, however, was the cost factor.

While one in five reported that their children were demotivated or disinterested in school, one in two said they could not afford neither the tuition fees nor pocket money, while a fifth said they could not afford transportation costs.

The survey was of households in low cost flats in the Klang Valley, so we do not know how accurate it is on a national scale, but, it stands to reason that parents living in other urban centres are facing similar predicaments.

When schools closed during the MCO, classes went online. But reportedly there were many issues, including teachers who were not prepared nor trained to conduct classes online and the lack of a virtual syllabus.

If schools in the Klang Valley reported a seven per cent drop in attendance between May and September, what are the national numbers now? This pandemic has played merry hell with the global economy.

Reports say the ones benefiting from the pandemic are medical equipment companies, glove makers and the digital industry. That education is one of the sectors which is suffering is a crying shame.

That children are deprived of the basic right to education because of the economics of it all is a bigger shame. The government,therefore, should step in to help those who cannot afford to send their children to school.

There is an opportunity for just this with the 2021 Budget. The budget should allocate funds for a programme to help children go back to school. Efforts must be taken to ensure that schools are prepared to go online should there be future outbreaks or disasters.

In developed countries, schools, particularly in winter and snowbound countries, have a backup online learning system.

We do not experience winter, but we do have the annual monsoon season which causes floods that lead to school closures in the north and east coast states.

With a backup system, our children would not miss a day of school. That is why the Communications and Multimedia Ministry must ensure broadband reach in the country is adequate and far reaching.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/leaders/2020/11/636932/nst-leader-education-basic-right

The Curve latest mall to report Covid-19 case

Saturday, October 17th, 2020
The Curve in Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya.The Curve in Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya.

KUALA LUMPUR: With a slew of shopping malls within the Klang Valley having recorded positive Covid-19 cases, The Curve in Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya is the latest to join the list.

In a statement on their official Instagram page, the mall’s management informed that an employee at Foot Solutions, a shoe store within the complex, tested positive for the virus on Oct 16.

Foot Solutions is located on the first floor, near the centre court.

Upon receiving confirmation of the test result, the said party notified the management of The Curve, the statement read.

“All other staff of Foot Solutions were immediately tested and have been confirmed as Covid-19 negative. They are currently under self-quarantine for 14 days,” The Curve said.

They aded that these employees would only be allowed to return to work after they test negative again at the end of the quarantine period and upon receiving approval from the mall’s management.

The mall conducted deep cleaning and sanitisation at the entire complex after 10pm last night and will reopen for business as usual at 10am this morning.

“The Curve management would like to reassure our patrons that we are taking all necessary measures in accordance with MoH (Health Ministry) guidelines for the safety of our patrons, employees, retailers and the community at large,” the statement said.

By New Straits Times.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/10/632951/curve-latest-mall-report-covid-19-case

CMCO: All schools to close in Labuan

Friday, October 16th, 2020
All Labuan schools registered under the Education Ministry will be closed from Oct 17 to Oct 30. - BERNAMA pic All Labuan schools registered under the Education Ministry will be closed from Oct 17 to Oct 30. – BERNAMA pic

KUALA LUMPUR: All schools, kindergartens, boarding schools, private schools, vocational colleges and matriculation colleges registered under the Education Ministry will be closed from Oct 17 to Oct 30 following the enforcement of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) in Labuan.

In a statement issued by the Ministry today, it said the closure will involve 31 educational institutions and 19,262 students.

“This also involves those at boarding schools. Parents or guardians should pick the students up from the boarding schools back to their respective homes.

“However, students who are waiting for their parents to pick them up, or students who wish to stay at the boarding schools throughout the period will be under the care of the warden.

“Food and drink supplies will be provided as well,” it said.

It also said students who are still staying at the Labuan Matriculation College hostel are allowed to return home, but they should heed to the standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the respective state governments.

For students who are sitting for scheduled international examinations, it said they should obtain letters from their respective schools to attend the examination.

The learning process for students during the closure should be given attention, the ministry stressed.

“The educational institution administrators are ordered to ensure that teachers, lecturers as well as students conduct teaching and learning online.

“Home teaching and learning manuals can be downloaded from the Ministry’s official portal at www.moe.gov.my,” it added.

Labuan has become the latest area to be placed under the CMCO, following in the footsteps of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Selangor and Sabah.

By Esther Landau.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/10/632654/cmco-all-schools-close-labuan

Poland wants MoU with M’sia on higher education

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: The Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Malaysia looks forward to the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on higher education with Malaysia by next year in conjunction with both countries’ 50th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations in 2021, said Ambassador Krzysztof Dębnicki (pic).

The Ambassador said that the MoU should provide ways to increase cooperation in education, including scholarships for students in exchange programmes as well as additional programmes in education and culture.

“It’s about providing opportunities for students. Right now, we are waiting for the draft from the Malaysian side. Hopefully we can sign it next year in conjunction with 50 years of diplomatic relations,” he told Bernama in an interview at the Embassy recently. Dębnicki said some 30 Polish universities will take part in a webinar this month called “The First Edition of Poland Virtual Educational Fair 2020” dedicated specifically to the Malaysian students – organised by the Polish National Agency of Academic Exchange (Nawa) under the Ministry of Science and Higher Education to promote tertiary education in the country.

The participants will be able to learn more about Poland as a higher education destination, its universities, student life, scholarships, and other opportunities for foreign students.

Details of the event are available on the Embassy’s website and in social media.

“Each year, more and more foreign students are choosing Poland to obtain high-quality education. Students are drawn by a wide range of programmes offered by Polish universities, low tuition fees and cost of living compared to the cost of living in Malaysia,” stressed Dębnicki.

The Ambassador said there are currently about 180 Malaysian students studying in Poland, half of them studying medicine.

There is also an increased interest among Malaysian students in studying at polytechnics in Poland, he said, adding that more and more universities in Poland are offering courses in English.

According to the Embassy’s estimations, there are now over 1,000 Malaysian graduates from Polish universities.

“Last year, we organised the first edition of “Malaysian Alumni of Polish Universities’ Get-Together’ which was a very successful event. We would like to continue,” he said.

Dębnicki said that despite the current Covid-19 pandemic, Malaysian students are allowed to enter Poland without any obstacles to continue their studies.

Poland and Malaysia established diplomatic relations on June 21, 1971. The Polish trade commercial office was opened in Kuala Lumpur in 1972 and was elevated to the rank of an Embassy the following year.

Meanwhile, the Embassy of Malaysia in Warsaw was established on November 4, 1978.

By: Bernama.

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news/159948/poland-wants-mou-with-m-sia-on-higher-education/

Financial literacy among youth alarmingly low

Tuesday, October 13th, 2020

About 84,805 Malaysians were declared bankrupt between 2015 and 2019. This is alarming because it reflects that the level of financial literacy among young Malaysians on the ground is still lacking.- NSTP/ FATHIL ASRI.About 84,805 Malaysians were declared bankrupt between 2015 and 2019. This is alarming because it reflects that the level of financial literacy among young Malaysians on the ground is still lacking.- NSTP/ FATHIL ASRI.

LETTER: About 84,805 Malaysians were declared bankrupt between 2015 and 2019. Based on the figure provided by the Insolvency Department, people below the age of 34 made up 26 per cent of the bankruptcy cases.

Worse yet, in 2018, it was stated by the then Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Assistant Governor, Nazrul Hisyam Mohd Noh, that 47 per cent of Malaysian youth have high credit card debt. Most of the bankruptcy cases were primarily due to the inability to sustain debt made of installment purchases, personal loans, and credit card debt.

This is alarming because it reflects that the level of financial literacy among young Malaysians on the ground is still lacking. Financial literacy as defined by the National Financial Educators Council is the ability to manage financial resources effectively for a lifetime pf financial security.

When someone is being financially illiterate, it will lead to poor financial decisions such as overutilisation of credit cards and overspending, which end up in low financial well-being as what has been happening to the youth of Malaysia in recent years. But, earlier this year, the world was hit with an unprecedented event, the Covid-19 pandemic which has brought a significant impact to Malaysians as a whole.

It has not only been limiting people’s mobility, but also affecting economic activity where small business owners, generally the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and services, are not allowed to open their shops due to the Movement Control Order (MCO).

Consequently, it leads to a sharp downturn in profit, a permanent shutdown of businesses, loss of active income, as well as individuals going bankrupt. During this challenging time, savings have become more imperative than ever. Savings act as an emergency cushion to cover any unexpected expenses when unforeseen circumstances like this occur.

For this reason, it is important to understand the importance of being financially literate and acquire the necessary skills in managing financial resources, especially for youth. As a start, it is vital to practice the 2B’s: budgeting and balancing in life. Budgeting is basically identifying how much money is coming in every month (income) and how much is going out every month (expenses).

On the other hand, balancing is making sure total expenses shall not exceed the amount of income every month. Malaysian youth may start utilising various initiatives initiated by the government and independent bodies in Malaysia, including Belanjawanku, an expenditure guideline for Malaysian individuals and families in managing their personal finances in a wise manner.

At the same time, various outreach programmes have been organised by the Insolvency Department, Malaysian Financial Planning Council (MFPC), and the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) to expose youth to basic knowledge on financial management and increase the level of awareness about the ripple effects and risks of being indebted and declared bankrupt at a young age.

Financial literacy may seem hard to possess because there is no manual or textbook on how to attain it but, it is important for youth to learn and acquire the essential skills and knowledge from a young age in order to make the right decisions in managing debt and planning finances in the future. It is hoped that our generation will be more resilient and prepared to face the next crisis.

by Athirah Mohamad.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2020/10/631937/financial-literacy-among-youth-alarmingly-low

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

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2020/09/625579/service-learning-best-way-engage-solve-community-issues

Education must never stop

Saturday, September 19th, 2020
Pix for representational purposes only. -- Pix: STR/ AFPPix for representational purposes only. — Pix: STR/ AFP

LETTER: Upon reading the article titled “Rise to the challenge of encouraging kids to read”, I was surprised and appalled to discover that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the learning of 463 million children.

Even more important to note, the children are mostly those who are poor or disempowered and deprived of the essential tools for online school.

When schools close, education invariably stops too. So, as an international school student, I recognise now that the resources that I have, including devices and access to online education, cannot be taken for granted.

At the same time, I often wonder and ask myself this – what can I do to help others? In that article, the writer suggested that even though schools close, there is still a way for education to go on – through reading.

While we can encourage lawmakers to promote quality education that is accessible for every family, it is our job, especially those of us who have more than we need, to help all of those affected children who are right now lacking the education and learning that they deserve.

In another way, I am inspired by the solution proposed in the article. Let’s encourage reading initiatives such as providing community libraries with books and resources for learning to those in need.

Not only can we provide a child with an education, but also in the process, we can transform their life.

by MIKAYA RONZHEIMER.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2020/09/625718/education-must-never-stop

Malaysia among top 5 non-EU countries sending students to UK

Friday, September 4th, 2020
British High Commissioner to Malaysia Charles Hay (right) exchanging pleasantries with 38 Malaysians who received the Chevening scholarship at his official residence yesterday.Hay said the Chevening Secretariat received some 800 applications from Malaysians, of which only 38 were selected=British High Commissioner to Malaysia Charles Hay (right) exchanging pleasantries with 38 Malaysians who received the Chevening scholarship at his official residence yesterday.Hay said the Chevening Secretariat received some 800 applications from Malaysians, of which only 38 were selected to undertake studies in various fields for the 2020/21 academic year – including a Chevening Fellow who will undertake a short course at the prestigious Oxford Centre of Islamic Studies. — BERNAMA photo

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia remains one of the top five non-European Union (EU) countries for sending students to the United Kingdom.

British High Commissioner to Malaysia Charles Hay said this development reflected a testament of the strong education link between the two countries, a key pillar in their longstanding relationship.

Hay said some 19,000 Malaysians pursued their higher studies in the UK last year, adding that the number will probably be lower this year due to Covid-19.

“With a track record of academic and research excellence, UK universities are highly sought after, and UK graduates are among the most employable in the world according to QS Graduate Employability Rankings,” said Hay in his speech at the Chevening Scholarships award presentation ceremony to 38 Malaysians at his official residence here.

He said in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, the British government and the education sector were working together to ensure the health and safety aspects of all Malaysian students, including Chevening scholars, in the country.

“You can expect to undertake your studies with a combination of online and in-person learning, get support for your well-being from your respective university and the Chevening Secretariat, as well as up-to-date guidance from Study UK,” he said.

Hay also hoped to see the active involvement of Malaysian Chevening Scholars in the Chevening Alumni Malaysia Committee’s activities to ensure the continuity of the alumni’s strong and dynamic network across Malaysia.

Hay said the Chevening Secretariat received some 800 applications from Malaysians, where only 38 were selected to undertake studies in various fields for the 2020/21 academic year – including a Chevening Fellow who will undertake a short course at the prestigious Oxford Centre of Islamic Studies.

The recipients will pursue courses at top UK universities in a wide variety of fields including environment and climate change, human rights, and public policy, as well as arts and media.

Malaysia is the second-largest recipient of Chevening awards in Asean, and there are already over 17,000 Chevening alumni in Malaysia.

by Bernama.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/education/2020/09/621956/malaysia-among-top-5-non-eu-countries-sending-students-uk

Optimising technology to overcome Covid-19

Monday, August 31st, 2020

A COLLABORATION between industry and academia has led to the production of a system that enables contactless implementation of Covid-19 standard operating procedures.

This is done through Industry 4.0 technologies such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT), which are all integrated into a single device.

The partnership is between Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) and Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Smart Manufacturing Research Institute.

MARii chief executive officer Datuk Madani Sahari said the system, known as the Modular and Open System-Plus (MOST-Plus), is undergoing further research and development (R&D), as well as commercialisation.

This is to include additional features such as real-time data monitoring and mobile application functionalities to improve its effectiveness based on industrial standards and demands.

“To advance the partnership to the next level, both parties are actively working on the establishment of a MARii UiTM Satellite Node to offer industry-grade facilities, tools and equipment focusing on automotive, automation, robotics, IoT and other related fields.

“This includes a Digital Factory with Augmented Reality applications, a mechatronics and robotics lab, and a hydrogen fuel cell car development area.

“The MARii UiTM Satellite Node is expected to officially open by the end of the year,” he said.

The institute has also collaborated with Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) to enhance the development of new age solutions.

The collaboration with UKM, Madani said, aims to accelerate the development of the three new elements outlined in the National Automotive Policy 2020 by utilising research facilities and local talents.

One of the projects includes the development and commercialisation of electric vehicle (EV) batteries, focusing on battery performance, battery replication and the development of a lithium-ion battery production line, he added.

“We are also working closely with UPM in the local development of EVs and to establish a testbed which has reached the final stages of R&D.

“An EV Wireless Charging System is also in the works, with goals to enhance the capabilities of the local automotive sector to penetrate the EV market, including the creation of high value jobs in the areas of EV development.”

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, he said, poses a continuous demand for new skills, knowledge and familiarisation of expertise, making industry-academia collaboration vital.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2020/08/30/optimising-technology-to-overcome-covid-19

Application to MRSM for 2021 session opens today

Monday, August 24th, 2020

BEAUFORT: Application for admission to the MARA Junior Science Colleges (MRSM) for the 2021 session for Form 1 and 4 students opens from 9am today (Aug 24).

MARA chairman, Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun said students applying for admission to MRSM for next year’s session are required to sit for the MRSM Entry Tendency Test (UKKM) to test their potential and interests in Mathematics, Science and English as well as aptitude test.

She said application can be made through the website http://www.mara.gov.my and the closing date is Dec 4.

“Candidates must pass all four UKKM tests to qualify to be considered for entry to MRSM and priority is given to students from low-income families. Applicants are advised to apply early to avoid any problems and facilitate the implementation of UKKM,” she added.

She told reporters this after officiating the two-day MARA Educational Institution Carnival, at Dewan Pa’Musa here Sunday. The Beaufort Member of Parliament said a MARA Professional College (KPM) would be built on a 30-hectare site in Beaufort.

The college, which will be the first in Sabah, is expected to be in operation in 2023., she added.

Read more @ http://www.newsabahtimes.com.my/nstweb/fullstory/39769