Archive for June, 2009

Integrated Curriculum for Secondary Schools

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

In 1979, the Cabinet Committee that reviewed the secondary school curriculum; recommended that the lower secondary school curriculum as follows:

“…be an extension of the primary school curriculum, that is further consolidating the basic education and introducing a general education which also encompasses aspects of pre-vocational education.”  (Para. 201.1 page 104)

For upper secondary school level it  was recommended that the curriculum should:

“”…be in the nature of a general education suitable not only for pupils who are going to work but also for those who  will continue their education”. (Para 206.1 page 107)

The Cabinet Committee also stressed the following:

  • That the development of students character based on accepted moral values be of paramount importance. Thus values which hitherto have been confined to Islamic lessons have been introduced in all subjects;
  • That Bahasa Malaysia be upgraded and reinforced as the national and official language of the country for communication, unity and for the acquisition of knowledge. Thus the use of standard Bahasa Malaysia is stressed in all subjects;
  • In order to clarify and give direction to education in Malaysia, with a view to creating good citizens and good human beings, concerted efforts were undertaken to define the National Educational Policy (NEP) which was documented in 1987.

Based on the NEP, the recommendations of the Cabinet Committee Report and the projected needs of the country, the Ministry of Education revamped the curriculum at the secondary school level. The new curriculum is now known as the Integrated Curriculum for Secondary School (ICSS).

The ICSS was implemented in 1988 at Form 1 and Remove Class levels for four languages : Bahasa Malaysia, English, Chinese and Tamil). This was followed by full implementation of all subjects in 1989. In 1991, the first batch of ICSS students took their SRP examination and in 1993 they took their SPM examination.

Aims and Objectives.

The aim of secondary school education is to further develop the potential of the individual in a holistic, balanced and integrated manner encompassing the intellectual, spiritual, emotional and physical aspects in order to create a balanced and harmonious human being with high moral standards.

To achieve this, education at the secondary level is geared toward enabling students :

  • to increase the proficiency in language in order to communicate effectively;
  • to upgrade their competence in and use of Bahasa Malaysia as the national and official language towards the acquisition of knowledge and the achievement of national unity;
  • to develop and enhance their intellectual capacity with respect to rational , critical and creative thinking;
  • to acquire knowledge and to develop a mastery of skills and to use them in daily life;
  • to be able to develop skills to cope with new areas of knowledge and development in technology;
  • to develop their abilities and faculties for the betterment of themselves and society;
  • to develop the confidence and the resilience to face challenge in life;
  • to understand, be aware of and appreciate the history as well as the socio-cultural milieu of the country;
  • to be aware of the importance of one’s health and to strive to maintain it;
  • to be sensitive to, concerned about and appreciative of the environment and its aesthetic value;
  • to acquire, appreciate and practice accepted moral values;
  • to have a love for knowledge and to constantly strive towards increasing and developing it, and
  • to develop a deep sense of responsibility and to be prepared to serve the religion and nation.

Principles of the ICSS.

The ICSS was formulated on the following principles:

  1. Continuity of education between the primary and secondary schools: to ensure that basic skills are further developed and reinforced, and knowledge is further increased and broadened;
  2. General education for all students. Students undergo a basic education programme common to all whereby opportunity is given for acquisition of a holistic and balanced knowledge. This programme comprises core subjects that are compulsory for all.
  3. Subject Disciplines: Most of the subjects of the previous secondary school curriculum are retained; but the organization of the content and the emphases differ from those of the previous curriculum.
  4. Integration of the intellectual, spiritual, emotional and physical needs of students. The subject disciplines too ensure that all these aspects develop in totality and are inter-related, bearing in mind the integrated person as the ultimate goal.
  5. Emphasis on values: The inculcation of accepted moral values is made possible by incorporating them in all the subjects of the ICSS. This is known as values across the curriculum. Values are specifically taught in Islamic Education, for Muslim students and Moral Education for non-Muslim students.
  6. Upgrading the use of Bahasa Malaysia: The use of Bahasa Malaysia is to be upgraded and reinforced in all subject disciplines except in languages such as English. This approach is known as Bahasa Malaysia across the curriculum.
  7. Lifelong learning. The secondary school curriculum nurtures the love for knowledge and provides opportunities for the acquisition of study skills, and for the inculcation of  a positive attitude that will motivate students to constantly seek knowledge throughout life.

Emphases of the ICSS:

ICSS provide students with a total school experience which include the learning processes inside and outside the classroom. The foremost feature is the use of the integrated approach which entails the integration of knowledge; skills and values; the integration of theory and practice; and the integration of curriculum; and the school culture.

  • Curriculum: The following elements are given due importance in order to ensure the success of the integrated approach: knowledge and skills; values; and language.
  • Co-curriculum: Co-curriculum is an extension of the teaching-learning process in the classroom and is activity-based. Co-curricular activities are categorized under three areas: uniformed bodies; clubs or societies; and sports.
  • School Culture: School culture refers to the total environment of the school which includes both the physical and the non-physical. An environment that is encouraging and supportive has positive effects to the teaching-learning process and the internalization of values. As such, efforts to mould the behaviour and personality of the students will be more effective.

Organization of Subjects:

  • Knowledge, skills and noble values acquired at the primary level forms the basis in formulating the curriculum at the secondary school level. These are nurtured, and further developed and reinforced at the secondary school level.
  • The curriculum at the secondary school level also provides opportunities for them to develop their talents and interests.
  • At the lower secondary level, subjects are categorized under core subjects and additional subjects. The core subjects are Bahasa Malaysia, English Language, Islamic Education, Moral Education, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Living Skills, Physical and Health Education, Art Education,and Living skills. Beside the core subjects, students can also offer additional subjects such as Chinese and Tamil.
  • A special programme for pupils from the National Type Primary Schools – Remove Class – has been adapted to ensure continuity with ICPS as well as prepare students for the ICSS. List of subjects in Remove Class are : Bahasa Malaysia, English Language, Chinese Language, Tamil Language, Practical Use of Bahasa Malaysia, Physical Education and Art Education.
  • At the upper secondary , besides the availability of core and additional subjects is the elective subjects. Core subjects taught at the lower secondary level continue to be taught at the upper secondary level with the exception of Geography, Art Education, and Living Skills. Chinese and Tamil languages are retained as additional subjects. The electives are listed under three groups: Humanities; Vocational and Technology; and Science. Subjects under the Humanities are: Malay Literature, Literature in English, Geography, Art Education. Subjects under Vocational and Technology : Principles of Account, Basic Economics, Commerce, Agricultural Science, Home Economics, Additional Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering Studies, Civil Engineering studies, Electrical and Electronic Engineering Studies, Engineering Drawing; Engineering Technology. Subjects under Science include: Additional Science, Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

The Implementation and Management of the ICSS.

  • ICSS has been implemented in stages since 1988 beginning with four languages programmes;
  • Full implementation of the ICSS in Form 1  and Remove Class was affected in 1989;
  • 1993 – Implementation of ICSS involved all forms from Form 1 and Remove Class to From V;
  • The responsibility of implementing the ICSS rests on teachers in the classroom as well as on officers managing the curriculum at the Ministry, state, division/district and school levels. In general; all parties involved in implementing the ICSS need to:
  1. understand the National Education Policy;
  2. understand the ICSS programme and the concept on integration;
  3. understand the emphases of specific subjects;
  4. upgrade the mastery of Bahasa Malaysia and its use in the teaching – learning process;
  5. have a love for knowledge  and to pursue this knowledge throughout life.
  • School principal, as manager and leader of the curriculum in schools, play a key role. They need to guide teachers in new teaching methods to ensure the success of the ICSS;
  • In the process of teaching and learning, the teacher should always ensure that values are  infused in all the subjects. This is part of the total effort toward making students internalize and practice values;
  • Every teacher is required to use teaching – learning methods and techniques which will stimulate, encourage, and develop the thinking abilities of students;
  • Teachers need to understand and internalize the aspirations of the NEP as well as the objectives of education. Teachers need to fulfill the roles of counselor, facilitator, educator, and character-builder;
  • The role of parents and of society is also important. The success of the ICSS depends on their support because parents and society can help schools in the education and character building of students;
  • Continuous monitoring needs to be carried out to ensure that all teachers fully understood the changes that need to be affected in the implementation of the ICSS and are able to translate them into the teaching-learning process. The aims of the monitoring exercises are to assess the level of comprehension, the extent of the implementation and the effectiveness of the ICSS; both inside and outside the classroom. Based on the feedback, further measures to improve and facilitate the implementation of the ICSS can be undertaken.


Evaluation of the performance and achievement of students is part of the teaching and learning in the classroom. In the ICSS, continuous evaluation in the classroom is carried out with the following aims:

  • to ascertain students’ level of mastery with respect to skills and specific knowledge;
  • to assess the progress of students with regard to the internalization and practice of values and attitudes; and
  • to assist teachers in ensuring their teaching is more effective.

The evaluation that is carried out in the classroom falls under three categories:

  1. Monitoring whilst teaching. Whilst teaching, teachers assess students’ mastery of the skills taught as well as observe the practice of values among the students. This evaluation in usually done informally and teachers  need not record the findings;
  2. Monitoring Progress Assessment of teaching and learning process involves evaluation in the form of test or project work. Normally, this assessment is is done after specific topics or a number of skills in a learning unit have been taught. Teachers need to know their students’ mastery with regard to the skills or knowledge acquired. In assessing the students formally or informally, teachers record their progress.
  3. Monitoring Achievement. Evaluation of students achievement is carried out at the end of a term, at mid-term or at he end of the year. Evaluation of this kind is carried out formally in order to assess students knowledge and understanding of what has been taught. Tests are conducted in various forms such as paper-pencil tests and the results of these tests are recorded as marks, grades or statements.and used for reporting purposes.

Recent Improvements:

To continuously improve the quality of education in Malaysia, the Ministry adopted the following approaches, strategies and reforms in education:

  • In 2002, the English language was made as the medium of instruction for Mathematics, Science and Information Communication / Technical subjects which is expected to enable students to access information in the internet, read articles and research papers and other materials publish in English;
  • The School-based Assessment of Oral Skills focused on  Bahasa Malaysia and English Language is offered to students in Form I to III. It entails that students be assessed inside or outside the classroom situation. The Oral Test of Speaking and Listening Skills is offered to students in Form 4 and 5.
  • Another assessment on bilingual proficiency was conducted starting 2004 for Mathematics and Science. By 2008, all assessment instruments for UPSR, SRP and SPM public examination for Mathematics, Science, Technical and Technology subjects was supposed to be in English for all national primary and secondary schools; but till to-date the examination is still conducted in bilingual (Bahasa Malaysia and English).
  • Certification for Vocational subjects in Academic schools or VSAS was also introduced. It comprises parts on competency-based and modular certification.
  • For 2010 onwards, all students will be able to take a maximum of only 10 subjects in the SPM examination. However, students in the joint science and religious stream will be allowed to take 11 subjects. In 2011, the secondary school curriculum will be streamlined and all students will be able to take a maximum of 10 subjects only (in their SPM). Y.A.B. Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, the Education Minister said the rational behind the decision was to ensure students had more time for extra-curricular activities.
  • Deputy Education Minister, Dr. Wee Ka Siong said the Examination Board will introduce a modular system to replace the existing terminal system for the Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM) examination by 2011. He said that the modular system system which is based on three semesters is similar to that in the universities where students need only to concentrate on the modules for a particular semester. Dr. Wee also mentioned that 20 to 30 percent of the marks would be based on coursework or projects and the other assignments, as well as practical work.

The ICSS is formulated with  the NEP as its base and is aimed at creating a balanced, harmonious and a morally sound individual. To ensure the success of the ICSS, a variety of suitable educational activities have been planned and carried out in schools. Besides teaching-learning and co-curricular activities, the Ministry of Education also gives due importance to activities that contribute to the formation of a positive school culture. It is envisaged that these activities are to be carried out in an integrated manner.


Integrated Secondary School Curriculum, Curriculum Development Centre, Ministry of Education, Kuala Lumpur.

Karen Chapman, The Star Online, 19 June 2009.

Teaching goes to Another Level.

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Education secretary – general Tan Sri Dr. Zulkurnain Awang, during the 5th Regional Innovative Teachers’ Conference in Kuala Lumpur; mentioned that traditional teaching and learning methods need to be supported by an ICT framework. He added that there need to be deep and continued collaboration between the private sector and the government agencies to help teachers develop the country’s human capital.

He added that “The ministry is always receptive to positive change in classroom practices and the approach of integrating ICT into teaching and learning situations provides an excellent opportunity for us to level the playing field and to raise the bar of education achievement and standards.”

The 5th Regional Innovative Teachers’ Conference was hosted by Microsoft Malaysia under its flagship Partners-in-Learning initiative with the Ministry of Education, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and TakingITGlobal, an international non-profit student organisation.

According to Microsoft Malaysia managing director Yasmin Mahmood: “Our aim with the innovative teachers programme is to help educators further their professional development, promote the creation of best practices, award software grants and give them access to online learning communities.”

The four-day conference was aimed at assisting educators in developing teaching methods and school curriculums that empower students to become agents of change. It focused on engaging students to critically examine real world issues and providing them with opportunities to act upon them locally. The theme of the conference: Empower, Enact, Engage: Becoming Agents of  Change initiated conversations about globalisation and its effects on education.

Microsoft Malaysia also announced its RM3.045 billion investment in its DreamSpark programme, aimed at equipping and empowering the next generation of software developers by providing providing professional-level tools to tertiary students.

Through DreamSpark, more than 870,000 students in Malaysia will gain access to the company’s product-portfolio at no cost, helping them fully realise their potential during their academic experience and equipping them with the skills they will need for the workplace.

Read more @

Benefits of Education.

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, the vice chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Nigeria; and also the president of the African Association of Universities: one of the many delegates who attended the 17th Conference of  Commonwealth Education Ministers (17th CCEM), stressed that education in interlinked with being human. He said that “Education is life itself; without education, there can be no concept of the person.”

According to him, it is education that makes the difference, as it is education that would help unlock the potential of an individual. “A person with a low level of education is basically in a coma, while having a proper education will make one vibrant and dynamic.” he added.

Other conference delegates who had equally passionate views on the concept of education -  Prof  Sandra Harding, vice-chancellor, James Cook University, Australia who mentioned that “Education changes lives“.

According to Talib S. Karim, Executive Director (academics, corporate affairs and business support centre) of the Institute ob Business Management, Pakistan; education is no loner a local issue, but a global one. “That is why this conference is relevant as it is a good platform for the exchange of ideas, which will hopefully encourage more partnerships between countries and more ways in which realistic measures can be implemented.” he added.

by Priya Kulasagaran .

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Integrated Curriculum for Primary Schools

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

In 1979, the Cabinet Committee presented a comprehensive report on the various aspects of the education system of the country. Based on the recommendations of this committee, the Education Ministry undertook to review the existing curricula of both the primary and secondary schools.

The formation of the New  Primary School Curriculum - the Integrated Curriculum for Primary Schools (ICPS) or Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Rendah (KBSR) was first introduced ( trial run) in 302 primary school  in 1982. In 1983 it was implemented in all primary schools; and was fully implemented (completed one cycle ) 1n 1988. In 1988 Primary School Achievement (Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah) was introduced.

The aim  of primary school education is to ensure an overall, balanced and integrated development of an individual’s potential which includes the intellectual, spiritual, emotional and physical aspects so as to produce balanced and harmonious with high moral standards.

The basic principles of ICPS is based on the National Philosophy of Malaysian  Education as follows:

  • an integrated approach;
  • individual holistic development;
  • equal education for all;
  • life long education.

The concept of integration is manifested as follows:

  • Integration of skills in a subject  (In language teaching; 2 or more of the 4 skills – speaking, listening, reading and writing can be integrated in a lesson);
  • Integration of skills across a number of subjects. Example drawing and colouring can be adopted in Mathematics.
  • Assimilation of various content in subjects. For example, elements of science are assimilated in the teaching of language.
  • Integration of values in subjects. For example, Cleanliness and safety are given emphasis during practical session.
  • Elements taught across the curriculum include language, the environment, science and technology, patriotism, thinking skills and study skills.
  • Integration of the curriculum and co-curriculum.  Co-curricular activities are reinforced in the classroom learning situation.
  • Integration of knowledge and practice . Knowledge acquired can be put into practice outside the formal classroom situation.
  • Integration of past experiences and the newly acquired experiences of pupils.

For operational purpose, the structure of the Integrated Curriculum for Primary School is divided into 2 phases of three years each.

  • Phase I comprises Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3;
  • Phase II comprises Year 4, Year 5, and Year 6.

The ICPS consists of three areas namely: Communication; Man and His Environment; and Self – Development. These three areas are subdivided into six components, namely:

  • Basic Skills;
  • Humanities and Environment;
  • Arts and Recreation;
  • Spirituality, Values and Attitudes;
  • Living Skills;
  • Co-curriculum.

Recent Improvements and Interventions.

Since 1999, the motivation for improvements and interventions was to align the curriculum to existing and future needs; particularly in recognition of the need to adapt to rapid technological development within and outside the country. The revised curriculum was placed in the context of national development, learning theories and the National Philosophy of Education, and the Vision 2020.These are then translated into disciplines and special programmes such as patriotism, drug education, and environmental education.

The country has been consistently tackling the challenges in educational access, equity, quality, and relevance. The success of the system in responding to these issues was closely linked to the systematic strategies as expressed in Malaysia’s Outline Perspective Plan (OPP), which was implemented starting in the 1960’s. The OPP has always identified the education sector as the mechanisms in national growth. This ensured that sufficient funds are allocated to the education sector. The government, too, recognizes the immense impact of developing human resources in meeting the goals of Vision 2020. This is translated to continuous training and upgrading of skills.

The following outcomes are just part and parcel of the efforts of the Malaysian government in dealing with the issues and concerns in education, particularly in terms of access, equity, quality and relevance, and participation of the society in educational change.

  1. To improve access to education, the Federal Constitution ensures that there will be no discrimination against any citizen in terms of access to and financial support for education. Universal primary education is almost achieved and efforts to provide twelve years of basic education is being intensified. Literacy rates and enrollment rates are growing. The continuous increase of Malaysia’s literacy rate from 85 per cent in 1990 , to 93.7 per cent in 1998, to 94 per cent in 2002 and to 97 per cent in 2006. In 2003 the average class size was 31 and 33 for primary and secondary education respectively. In the same year, the student – teacher ratio for primary schools was17, and 16 among secondary schools. The number of primary schools increased to 7,623 in 2007 from 7,504 in 2003 and 7,130 five years before that. The number of secondary schools also increased from 1,566 in 1998 to 1,902 in 2003 and 2,058 in 2007.
  2. In terms of educational equity, equal opportunity for education is provided to every child, including those from remote and rural areas. Parents can also choose to enroll their children into National Schools that provide instruction in Malay and the National -type schools of their choice.
  3. Quality and relevance of education to individual needs and nation building have likewise been given top priority in the national development plan.The National Curriculum places emphasis on the holistic development and potentials of individuals. Technical, vocational, and skills training offered in secondary technical and vocational schools provide students with practical training and employable skills. Using technology to facilitate teaching and learning makes the process more interesting, motivating, stimulating, and meaningful.
  4. Participation of the society is also given priority in educational development. In designing and implementing education programs, the ministry of education has close cooperation and collaboration with other government agencies, private enterprises, non-government organizations, community-based organizations, religious institutions, and industries;  in activities such as strengthening early childhood education, vocational and trainings skills programmes; parent-teacher associations in fund raising, and the mass media.

In order to continuously improve the quality of education in Malaysia, the government  also adopted a number of upgraded approaches, strategies, and reforms in education. This is of course closely hinged on the National Philosophy of Malaysian Education, that aims to develop the potential of individuals in a holistic and integrated manner for them to be intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and physically balanced and harmonious, based on a firm belief in and devotion to God.

  1. First, there had been strategic changes in the teaching and learning of mathematics and science in primary and secondary schools by enhancing the teaching of those subjects. In 2002, English language (from the traditionally Bahasa Malaysia) was made as the medium of instruction for both these two subjects; which is expected to enable students to access information in the internet, read articles and research papers and other materials published in English.
  2. Second, the Ministry of Education is also working on making the utilization of ICT more common among Malaysian schools. This may come in ways such as ICT-enhanced teaching and learning, distance learning, video conferencing, and Internet links to facilitate the exchange of ideas, and collaborative classroom discussion. Majority of primary and secondary schools in Malaysia already have computer laboratories and internet facilities. The Smart School Project or SSP in a flagship programme in Malaysia’s Multimedia Super Corridor ICT Application. SSP utilizes the browser-based teaching and learning materials for Bahasa Malaysia, English Language, Science, and Mathematics. These materials accommodate different needs and abilities that allow learners to take greater responsibility in managing their own learning.The SSP also encourages the development of teaching and learning courseware in the classroom that would be incorporated in the Smart School Integrated System or SSIS. All coursewares are launched through the networked computer system provided to all Smart Schools.
  3. Thirdly, the ministry, through the intervention initiatives - Early Intervention Classes for Reading and Writing (Kelas Intervensi Awal Membaca dan Menulis – KIA2M) actively pursuing to redress the 100,00 primary school pupils who are still struggling to master basic skills in reading and writing. Introduced in 2006 for grade 1 pupils, the assessment is carried at the very beginning of the school session to screen and identify those needed special help and care in reading and writing. The progress is progressively monitored and measured six month later, with those achieving the set minimum standard in reading and writing will be transitioned back to the main stream.
  4. The fourth key initiative is on the changes in public examinations. The School-based Assessment of Oral Skills focus on the Bahasa Malaysia and English languages. It entails that students be assessed in or outside the classroom situation. It is offered to students in grade 1 to grade 6 in primary schools. As mentioned earlier  Mathematics and Science were first conducted in Bahasa Malaysia and English in 2003, hence another assessment on bilingual proficiency was conducted starting in 2004. By 2008, all assessment instruments for grades 6 public examinations (UPSR) for Mathematics and Science subjects would be in English for all national primary schools; but till to-date this ruling is not implemented yet.
  5. Primary school pupils may be studying Malaysian history as early as January 2010. Education Director -general, Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd. Dom said that this is part of the education transformation to restructure the curriculum and to make schooling more fun.

Challenges and Opportunities.

The following are some of the challenges that have to be address by the  ministry:

  1. Malaysia has always been motivated to pursue integration through education in line with vision 2020’s goal of uniting all races. Vision Schools were thus established to keep pupils learning together in the same vicinity irrespective of race or religion. It also creates greater opportunities for pupils of different ethnic groups to mix and interact through various schools activities.
  2. Expansion of preschool education is another challenge as indicate by only 36 per cent of children aged 5-plus years who did not have access to preschool as of 2000.  The Ministry of Education institutionalized the National Preschool Curriculum compulsory in all preschools beginning 2003. This effort, (among many others)  increased participation rate on the preschool level from 64 per cent in 2000 to 88.3 per cent in 2003.
  3. The Ministry is giving increased emphasis on science and technology education. Currently, the low participation rate in the science stream is far from the targeted ratio of 60 percent in science and technology – compared to 40 percent in the arts. Efforts have been made to the upgrading of vocational and technical schools, building and upgrading science schools and science laboratory facilities. The ministry also introduced science subjects in grade 1 starting in 2003.
  4. Another challenge is sustaining students’ participation in the system especially among the poor. The Poor Students’ Trust Fund distributed 1.54 million Malaysian ringgit to 800 primary school students nationwide in 2003. Each poor student receives a maximum of 2,000 Malaysian ringgit a year to pay for their school expenses. In 2003, the ministry also introduced a financial assistance programme for children at risk of dropping out of school because of poverty. Also the tuition voucher scheme for children Year Four, Five, and Six at primary level qualify children from needy families who show poor academic performance to enroll into extra-classes in critical subjects such as Mathematics, Science, English, and Bahasa Malaysia.
  5. In the area of education and gender equality, the main challenges for the Malaysian education is the low participation of male youths at the secondary level. However, in primary school the composition of males and females enrolled in public primary school is about the same. This places Malaysia in a unique situation among other developing countries.
  6. The Ministry of Education is also trying to address social inclusion in education, particularly among children with special needs and children of indigenous people of the country. The Orang Asli , the indigenous children population of Malaysia, has been the main focus of integration and assimilation by providing them with equal opportunities  in education and introducing measures to ensure the teaching of their dialects. School uniforms, food rations, textbooks and other forms of assistance are continually supplied as incentives for school attendance. The ministry is also working with other government agencies to provide learning and training facilities and services for children and youths with special needs. The Special Education Department of the Ministry of Education coordinates all special education programmes of all special education schools to students with hearing and visual impairment. In the case of students with special needs; Integrated Special Education Programmes through special education classes in mainstream schools were carried to enhance their social integration.
  7. To better pioneering  changes in education, the Education Development Master Plan (Pelan  Induk Pembangunan Pendidikan, PIPP) 2006-2010 outlines the strategic moves to close the gap and raise the bar of Malaysian education. Being a diverse society, it cannot be ignored that unity, social cohesion and developing the human capital of the country made significant contribution to economic growth and social maturity that the country is enjoying right now. Focal areas are still on improving equity, access, and democratization of education. The ministry is fully aware that a continuing process of transformation – that has to consciously and consistently prioritized.

Read more @ :

Dr. Khair Mohamad Yusof, “Basic Education Curriculum Revisited: A Look at hte current content and reform in Malaysia”. SEAMEO-RETRAC 11TH Governing Board Meeting and Conference,Institut Aminuddin Baki Malaysia, 27-30 August 2008.

Hamidah Atan, NST Online, 14 June, 2009

Interview Guide

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

When you are being selected or being shotlisted to attend a job interview – you’ll be informed either by a call or through letter. Normally you’ll have a few days to prepare for your interview. Below are some helpful tips to consider when preparing to attend an interview.

1. Prior to the Interview:

  • Make sure that you are clear about the following information about your interview: the time, the date and the location of the interview;
  • Work out how you are going to get to the location of the interview. Plan to arrive at the interview 20 – 30 minutes before the time of the interview;
  • Sometimes a company can call you up a day or so before the interview. Make sure you know how to answer the call or ask the right questions;
  • Up-date yourself with as much information about your potential employer as possible (vision, mission, objectives, its major players, its projects, long and short term plans, expension plans, etc);
  • Prepare and rehearse what you will say to some of the following questions:
  1. Did you have trouble getting here?
  2. Tell me about yourself;
  3. Why are you interested in joining our company/institution?
  4. Why are you interested in this particular role?
  5. What are your strengths?
  6. What are your weaknesses?
  7. What extra-curricular activities did you do at university?
  8. What do yo understand by the word “management”? “education” etc?
  9. How do you think you can contribute to this company? institution?
  10. Why did you leave your previous job?
  11. What particular aspects of your current position do you / dislike?
  12. How did you obtain your past job(s)?
  13. What did you like most / least about your last job?
  14. How do you cope / work under pressure?
  15. What business references  can you provide?
  16. How long would it take for you to become  productive in this role?
  17. Tell me about the best / worst manager / boss you have ever had?
  18. How would you describe yourself?
  19. How would your Manager/co-workers/subordinates/friends describe you?
  20. What goals have you established recently? Did you achieve these?
  21. What have you done that shows initiatives in your career?
  22. What would you like in terms of remuneration?
  23. What do you know about our company/institution?
  24. What do you look for in a job?
  25. Why should we hire you?
  26. What can you do for us that someone else can’t?
  27. What problems did you have at university / previous job and how did you solve them?

Think very carefully about the above questions. Always stress the positive aspects which have attracted you to applying for the job. Do not mention the negative aspects of your current job, your boss, colleagues, etc. Always emphasize the positive reasons as to why you want to join the company/institution. Try to impress the interviewers with your knowledge of the company, policy, vision, mission, products, sales figures, news, achievements, etc. Tell them about your achievements in university, school, previous job).

  • Arrange your documents and copies in an organised way / as instructed in your calling letter; so that you are able to access them quickly. Also bring copies of work done to showcase work you have done;
  • Know yourself and know your achievements, so that you can utilise the opportunities to illustrate your strengths;
  • Be tactful about the reasons as to why you left  previous service / position;
  • Ensure that you are dressed professionally:
  1. For Men: a suit; plan colour, long sleeve shirt; tie; dark colour trousers (not jeans);  black, shining shoes with lace; and hair neatly groomed.
  2. For Women: a suit; or trousers; a skirt (knee length) with a collared shirt; or National clothing (avoid too colourful clothing); shoes (avoid too high heel) with toes completely covered); hair neatly styled.

2. On the day of Interview:

  • Plan your journey so that you arrive at least 20 minutes before the interview in order to avoid any unexpected situations.
  • Make use of the waiting time to relax and get your thoughts organised and to become comfortable with your surroundings.
  • Be polite and greet everybody you encounter. The person you bump into in the elevator or walking down the hall may have an influence on whether you get hired or not.
  • Switch off your mobile phone.
  • Get ready a pen and paper, and some notes with you ( if you want to). The interviewer will not mind if you want to write down part of the question or refer briefly to your notes; but do not waste too much time on it.

3. During the Interview:

  • The interview begins the moment you walk into the room. The interviewer(s) grade you by your dressing and grooming; the way you walk; the way you carry yourself; the way you greet him/her; how well you speak; how confidently you can describe yourself;
  • Acknowledge your potential employer when they greet you by standing and shaking hands;
  • A firm and prompt handshake is appropriate;
  • Make sure you know the correct name, pronunciation and job title of the interviewer(s). Ask, if you don’t know. Listen carefully when they introduce themselves (repeat it or ask if you did not hear properly) and say “hello”;
  • Wait for the interviewer to show you where to sit;
  • Avoid leaning or placing things on the table. Sit comfortably with your back straight. Also don’t cross your legs. Avoid shaking your legs, or looking elsewhere while the interviewer is talking to you;
  • The interviewers will take it in turns to ask you questions. Listen carefully to them. Pause for a few seconds to make sure that you understand exactly what you are being asked before you start to answer. If you don’t understand the question or don’t know the answer, say so. You should speak clearly and relatively slowly. Avoid words like “um”, ”uh”, “like”, “well”, etc;
  • Frequently make eye contact with the interviewer. If there is more than one interviewer, try to acknowledge all;
  • Be ware of your body language;   do not cross your arms across your chest;
  • You can keep a friendly smile on your face to show your enthusiasm. Try not to look too eager for the job or so relaxed that you don’t seem to care. Try to project a serious and professional image on your interviewers;
  • Maintain a positive attitude and demonstrate enthusiasm, interest, and confidence. Do not promise what you can’t deliver;
  • You can use humour appropriately in an interview to lighten up a tense atmosphere. Demonstrate your leadership quality by showing that you are a confident of controlling a tough situation;

Be prepared with questions to ask when the interviewers ask “would you like to ask anything?” Be prepared with at least one intelligent question such as:

  • Why has this position become available?
  • What are the main responsibilities of the position?
  • How many people would I be working with?
  • Who would I report to?
  • Who would report to me?
  • What is the training / induction period for this position?
  • What objectives / standards would I be expected to meet?
  • What are the resources available to carry out the role?
  • How will my performance be managed if I’m successful in obtaining this position?
  • What is the work culture of the workplace?
  • What are the growth plans for the organisation?
  • What opportunities are there for travel, further training,or advancement?
  • What step do I need to take from here?

4. At the end of the Interview:

Watch out for signals from the panel that indicate the end of the interview. Before leaving:

  • A statement concerning your expectation and your interest to be part of the company / institution;
  • A note of thanks to all the panel members;
  • Remember to collect back all your original documents;
  • Get back to the Secretariat / officer on duty for the name card of the contact person to find out the result of the interview;

5. Group Interview:

Group interview are used to see how you react in a group.

  • Whether you help or hinder the group to  reach its objectives;
  • How you take criticism;
  • Whether you take leadership roles, and involves less communicative group members;
  • If you chair the meeting, you’ll be check on how you plan and keep control of the meeting;
  • If you are leading a group activity – you’ll be check on how you delegate tasks and how much of the work you keep for yourself.

6. After the Interview:

  • Reflect on the interview that you have just attended; the questions asked and how you answered it;
  • Don’t expect to be perfect during the interview. You are bound to make mistakes; but find out the mistakes made so that you’ll not repeat it;
  • Don’t expect the panel to accept you immediately. There are people who attended 20 interviews before being successfully given a job;
  • In case you always fail after interview; try to get advice from educators / counselors / people who can help you to do better.

Some Commonly Asked Questions :

Below are some of the commonly asked question (in Bahasa Malaysia) for those attending interviews conducted by Bahagian Sumber Manusia, Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia.

  1. Bebanan kerja guru semakin bertambah, bagaimanakah anda menghadapinya?
  2. Budaya buli di sekolah semakin serius, apakah puncanya? Cadangankan penyelesaian masalah tersebut;
  3. Murid lebih cenderung untuk belajar di pusat tuisyen. Adakah anda sudi menjadi guru tuisyen di pusat tuisyen? Mengapa?
  4. Apakah punca stress menjadikan guru sekolah semakin membimbangkan? Huraikan cara mengatasi stress;
  5. Mengapakah anda memohon mengikuti Kursus Pendidikan?
  6. Apakah kegunaan mengajar Sains dan Matematik dalam bahasa Inggeris?
  7. Berikan pro dan kontra dalam penggunaan ICT di sekolah?
  8. Mengapakah kerajaan berazam memperkasa sekolah kebangsaan?
  9. Apakah tanggungjawab seseorang guru?
  10. Huraikan konsep sekolah wawasan;
  11. Sejauh manakah kamu mengetahui “Rancangan Integrasi Murid-murid untuk Perpaduan?
  12. Adakah kamu dipilih sertai “Program Latihan Negara?” Apakah tujuan program itu?
  13. Apakah intisari Kandungan Pelan Induk Rancangan Pendidikan 2006 – 2010?
  14. Huraikan apa yang kamu memahami Falsafah Pendidikan Kebangsaan (FPK);
  15. Nyatakan lima prinsip yang terkandung dalam Rukun Negara;
  16. Huraikan matlamat Wawasan 2020;
  17. Jika anda diminta mengajar di luar bandar, bagaimana kamu menghadapi masalah kehidupan di situ?
  18. Bagaimanakah anda meningkatkan ilmu dan kemahiran supaya menjadi seorang guru yang cemerlang?
  19. Untuk menjadi seorang guru yang berkesan, anda harus meneruskan pembelajaran sepanjang hayat. Mengapa?
  20. Bagaimana anda menjadi seorang guru yang dihormati dan disanjungi?
  21. Apakah objektif utama perayaan “Hari Guru”?
  22. Mengikut pandangan kamu, apakah teras perkhidmatan cemerlang?
  23. Apakah fungsi utama Persatuan Ibu Bapa dan Guru-guru (PIBG)?
  24. Berikan nama Menteri dan Timbalan Menteri Pelajaran Malaysia masa kini?
  25. Apakah masa depannya seseorang guru?
  26. Berikan pandangan kamu jika kamu ditempatkan untuk mengajar di kawasn terpencil, jauh dari bandar dan pekan?
  27. Apakah kepentingan “kecerdasan emosi” untuk seorang guru?
  28. “Guru mempunyai banyak masa lapang, tidak banyak tugas dan mempunyai tanggungjawab yang ringin”. Adakah kamu setuju? Mengapa?
  29. Berikan 5 sebab kenapa anda mesti dipilih untuk memasuki…?
  30. Apakah yang akan anda lakukan sekiranya pelajar tidak mendengar cakap anda di dalam kelas?
  31. Apakah yang akan anda lakukan sekiranya pelajar menentang anda semasa mengajar?
  32. Yang mana lebih penting? Tugas atau keluarga? Mengapa?
  33. Apakah tindakan paling wajar yang patut anda lakukan jika pelajar terlibat dengan penyalahgunaan dadah di sekolah?
  34. Apakah cabaran terhebat yang sedang dihadapi oleh guru pada masa sekarang?
  35. Berikan komen kamu tentang merotan murid-murid nakal di sekolah;
  36. Berikan 3 tugas lain seorang guru selain daripada mengajar di sekolah;
  37. Berikan pandangan tentang guru yang mempunyai kerja-kerja sampingan di luar sekolah.
  38. Pelajar yang bermasalah sepatutnya dibuang sekolah. Setuju? Mengapa?
  39. Berikan 3 sumbangan anda sebagai seorang guru kepada masyarakat;
  40. Guru kencing berdiri, anak murid kencing berlari. Adakah kamu setuju? Mengapa?
  41. Adakah pihak polis perlu campur tangan dalam kes disiplin di sekolah? Mengapa?
  42. Remaja-remaja kini semakin liar dan susah dikawal. Setuju? Mengapa?
  43. Apakah ciri-ciri positif yang perlu ada pada seorang guru untuk mengajar?
  44. Apakah kebaikan seorang guru yang boleh berfikiran kritis dan kreatif?
  45. Bagaimanakah caranya bagi guru untuk membendung masalah disiplin di sekolah?
  46. Berikan pandangan anda tentang isu guru disaman oleh ibu bapa murid?
  47. Semasa mengikuti kursus perguruan, anda akan dikehendaki mengikuti kuliah psikologi dan pedagogi pendidikan. Apakah kegunaan psikologi dan pedagogi pendidikan untuk seseorang guru?
  48. Seorang guru mesti mempunyai pengetahuan mendalam tentang isu-isu pendidikan semasa. Mengapa?
  49. Sejauh manakah yang anda faham mengnenai Pelan Strategik Pengajian Tinggi yang baru-baru ini diumumkan?
  50. Apakah faedah memilih kerjaya kamu dalam profesion keguruan?

Read more @ :

Robiah K. Hamzah, PhD.: Penampilan Diri Berkualiti – Teknik dan Strategi Membimbing Remaja, 2002.

Mok Soon Sang, MEdsi (Malaysian Education Selection Inventory) & Temu Duga, Penerbitan Multimedia Sdn. Bhd., 2008.

School – based Assessment

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

The Concept of School based Assessment.

Public examinations have long been the only measurement of students’ achievement. But inline with the on-going transformation of the national educational system this could be changed. This was hinted by Y.A.B. Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Education Minister, after launching the state level 38th Teacher’s Day at Dewan Seri Panglima Lee Shen, SM Ken Hwa, Keningau on 5  June, 2009. A new evaluation method will be introduced to gauge the competence of students by taking into account both academic and extra-curricular achievements. “The (present) evaluation is basically based on curriculum-achievements… we would like to see a more rounded sort of education achievements among our children.” (Daily Express, 6 June 2009)

According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Educational Assessment is the process of documenting; usually in measurable terms, knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs. Assessment can focus on individual learner, the learning community (class, or other organized unit of learners), the institution, or the education system as a whole. The term assessment is generally used to refer to all activities teachers use to help students learn and to gauge student progress. Assessment is often divided using the following categories:

  • formative and summative;
  • objective and subjective;
  • referencing (criterion-referenced; norm referenced);
  • informal and formal.

For the purpose of considering the different objectives for assessment practice, it is divided into:

  1. Summative assessment: Summative assessment is generally carried out at the end of a course or project. In an education setting, summative assessment are typically used to assign students a course grade.
  2. Formative Assessment: Formative assessment is generally carried out throughout a course or project. Formative assessment, also referred to as “educative assessment” is used to aid learning. In an education setting, formative assessment might be a teacher, or the learner, providing feedback on a student’s work, and would not necessarily be used for grading purposes. An educational researcher, Robert Stake explains the difference between formative and summative assessment with following anology:

“When the cook taste s the soup, that’s formative. When the guests taste the soup, that’s summative”.

3.  Performance based assessment is similar to summative assessment, as it focusses on achievement. They are commonly associated with standards-based assessment which used free-form responses to standard questions. A well – defined task is identified and students are asked to create, produce or do something, often in settings that involve real-world application of knowledge and skills. Proficiency is demonstrated by providing an exended response. Performance formats are further differrentiated into products and performances. The performance may result in a product, such as a painting, portfolio, paper or exhibition, or it may consist of a performance, such as a speech, athletic skill, musical recital, or reading.

4.  Internal assessment is set and marked by the school (ie. teachers). Students get the mark and feedback regarding the assessment. External assessment is set by the governing body (Malaysian Examination Syndicate / Majlis Peperiksaan Malaysia) and is marked by non-biased personnel. With external assessment, students only receive a mark. Therefore, they have no idea how they actually performed  (ie what bits they answered correctly).

Two characteristics of high quality assessment are those with high level of reliability and validity.

Reliability relates to the consistency of an assessment. It is one which consistently achieves the same results with the same (or similar) cohort of students. Various factors which affect reliability – including ambiguous questions, too many options within a question paper, vague marking  and poorly trained markers.

Validity. A valid asessment is one which measures what it is intended to measure. Teachers frequently complain that some examinations do not assess the syllabus upon which the examination is based; they are, actually questioning the validity of the examination.

School – based Assessment for Malaysia?

The  then Minister of Education, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin TunHussein, stated that our education system should not be too examination oriented and suggested that The Malaysian Examination Syndicate to look into reducing the examination and to change the examination. A school -based assessment has been suggested (Utusan Malaysia, 22nd. Mac 2009).

School-based assessment is a much talked-about concept but was not really understood by different communities – parents, stakeholders, students and even teachers.  They have different perceptions of what school-based assessment means.

This is because Malaysia has been almost having similar mode of examination since independence; teachers assess their students “formatively” through internal test; whereas the Malaysian Examination Syndicate and the Majlis Peperiksaan Malaysia conduct the external tests “summatively” at the end of the year for the whole country.

According to the former Malaysia Director of Education, Tan Sri Murad Mohd. Noor, “The attitude of too obsess to too many standardized examinations in the national education system are the factors to not being able to achieve maximum level of creativity and innovation. Too many examinations at primary, secondary and university levels cause students to not having time to develop their talents, ability and potentials in an area of interest” (Utusan Malaysia, 29th September 2005).

Because of the too many examinations, students are made to memorize the would be answers to the examination questions that are “likely” to be tested. Each student is competing for the maximum numbers of A’s without justifying the means of getting it. Some school heads even went to the extend of barring their weak students from taking the public examination for fearing that the result of that particular year might drop.

What is School – based Assessment?

In our Malaysian System of Education’s context school-based assessment could be understood as :  assessment that is going to take teachers’ grade as part of students’ official grade after completing specific school level. There are four schooling levels in Malaysia; and at the end of each level, students are require to sit for : UPSR, PMR, SPM and STPM. The purpose of school-based assessment is to avoid students totally dependent on those high stake examinations alone (for their grade) which  created alot of tensions and anxiety among them.

The implementation of school-based assessment will imply that school teachers will have to take some of the responsibilities of Malaysian Examination Syndicate / Majlis Peperiksaan Malaysia in conducting external tests/ assessment; that is some of the external test jobs carried out by MES / MPM are to be transfered to become teachers’ jobs while conducting their internal test. It requires a teacher deliberately gather information (grading) how well each student has achieved stated learning objectives. This means focusing an activity on specific  learning objectives and evaluating student achievement of these learning objectives against established criteria.

Presently, the major reasons for MES/MPM to solely carry out the high – stake test like UPSR, PMR, SPM. and STPM is to ensure the validity and objectivity of the examination of the examination. Once part of the responsibility of conducting external assessment is transferred to teachers, the major issues are:

  1. how to maintain scoring objectivity or reliability , and
  2. how to ensure the validity of the school based test.

Thus, the need of a well-designed school based assessment system conducted by classroom teachers to complement the role of MES who conducts the conventional standardized test.  Currently majority of tests administered by MES / MPM are paper-and-pencil type whereby candidates are given written questions for them to respond in a specified time span.  This type of test is good for large number of candidates and the scoring objectivity can be easily and systematically maintained.

One of the test forms that fit the requirement of a school-based assessment system is performance test. By performance test, we mean a test that needs students to provide genuine response in an assessment domain closest to the intended criteria for the examiner to make inferences. (Popham, 2000). The medium could be through actions or report writing; such as report writing on  study of Local Geography at PMR. The examiner will observe the performance and is required to repeort the judgement about that performance. Thus administering performance test in a big scale is not easy in terms of maintaining scoring objectivity.

Nitko (2004) in his keynote address entitled “Alternative Assessment for Teaching and Learning” at the Second Intyernational Conference on Measurement and Evaluation in Education; in Penang stated that alternative assessment to our existing examination system should:

  1. presents a hands-on-task requiring students to do something with their knowledge, such  as making (a bookshelf), produce a report(on a group project that surveyed parents attitudes),  or give demonstration (show how to measure mass on a laboratory scale);
  2. a clear rubric for scoring – clearly defined criteria to evaluate how well the students achieved this application.

A common misconception is that any alternative learning activity used in teaching is also an assessment. Usually, classroom alternative activities lack this scoring rubric component, and thus cannot qualify as assessment.

Technology For School-based Assessment.

1. Computer aided assessment is a term that covers all forms of assessment, whether Summative (test that will contribute to formal qualifications) or Formative (test that promote learning but are not part of a course marking), delivered with the help of computer, either online or on a local network, and those that are marked with the aid of computers, such as those using Optical Mark Reading (OMR). One of the most common forms of computer aided assessment (e-learning) is online quizzes or examinations. These can be implemented online, and also marked by computer by putting the answers in. Many Content Management Systems will have easy to setup and use systems for online examination.

2. Since 2000, New Zealand has researched, developed, and deployed a national, computer-assisted effective school-based assessment system. Eight major principles for the development of the school – based assessment are focused on:

  • Curriculum alignment;
  • Calibration;
  • Innovative communication;
  • Choice;
  • Low consequences;
  • Local control;
  • Incremental design;
  • Deployment of computer technology.

These principles can be adapted in our country to bring about effective improvements in learning and teaching outcomes.

3. A group of researchers at the School of Educational Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang; developed a performance assessment tool for a school-based assessment system – a Computer Environment Diagnostic and Remediation (CEDAR) courseware programme. The programme was developed for 4 subject areas (Mathematics, Science, Bahasa Malaysia, and English) of Year Six pupils who are sitting for their UPSR examination. Mokhtar et. al (2003) in his paper “Diagnosis of pupils’ Learning Difficulties in Mathematics” presented at the Second International Conference on Measurement and Evaluation in Education in Penang, discussed the suitability of the programme for diagnostic purposes to prepare pupils for the UPSR examination.

The important feature of CEDAR programme is the pop-up signal and remediation activities. If a students fails an item after three continuous attempts, a pop-up signal will appear on the teacher’s computer terrminal. On getting the signal, the teacher will go to the pupil concerned and starts talking to that pupil on mistakes that he or she made. After completing the remediation, the teacher will key in a password on the pupil’s key-board to let the pupil continue with the diagnostic testing programme. Scores obtained by each pupils are recorded and these scores can be cumulated to beome part of school – based assessment scores.

This Computer Environment Diagnostic and Remediation Courseware programme is one of the many alternative that can make our Malaysian school-based assessment a success.

Read more @ :,6

String of A’s

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Y.A. B. Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Minister of Education; after launching the state level 38 th Sabah Teacher’s Day Celebration at Dewan Datuk Seri Panglima Lee Shen, SM Ken Hwa, Keningau, on 6th June 2009 stated that a new evaluation method will be introduced to guage the competence of students by taking into account both academic and extra curricular achievements.

The minister said that the move was in line with the on-going transformation of the national education system. “The (present) evaluation is basically based on curriculum achievements … we would like to see a more rounded sort of education achievements among our children.” “We don’t want students to be so focused on just achieving excellence in terms of syllabus and subjects they are taking. They have also to be more involved in extra curricular activities.” Thus active participation in co-curricular activities would also be taken into account in the assessment of the students’ education achievement.

In his speech Y.A.B. Tan Sri Muhyiddin also said that it was important that teachers play a role in developing a more balanced human capital resource in line with the National Education Philosophy. “It would be of no use to have buildings and sophisticated education facilities but fail to nurture the potential of students in a balanced manner” he said. (Daily Express, 6 June 2009).

Malaysia has been carrying out almost similar mode of examination system since independence in terms of the role of teachers in the classrooms and the role of Malaysian Examination Syndicate (MES). The teachers assess their students “formatively” and the MES conducts external tests to test the students “summatively” at the end of each year, for the whole country. To some expert, this system is not that conducive. The former Malaysia Director General of Education, Tan Sri Murad Mohd. Noor has said the followings: “The attitude of too obsess to too many standardized examinations in the national examination system are the factors to not being able to achieve maximum level of creativity  and innovation. Too many examinations at primary, secondary and university levels cause students to not having time to develop their talent, ability and potentials in an area of interest” (Utusan Malaysia, 29th September 2005). Each students is competing for the maximum numbers of A’s without justifying the means of getting it. Students are made to memorize the would be answers to the examination questions that are going to be tested (by MES). There were cases of school heads quarantined or barred a few of their weak students from taking MES examination for fearing that the school’s results of a particular year might drop.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, on July 2008, reported that the Regent of Perak; Raja Nazrin Shah said that getting a string of A’s is meaningless if students fail to understand, appreciate and practice good values; and describing that excellent results as mere pakaian luaran (external appearance); there would be uneven development of human capital if students failed to inculcate good morals. This will lead to society and the country to suffer”. He also said that people with good moral values always hold firm to life principles especially in defending truth and justice. Students should be taught not to lie or rely on “leaked” examination papers just to obtain higher grades. He noted that while positions and posts could give one power, one would be judged by the people. There are many people who obtained positions and posts but there are not many who die with a good name”.

Researchers have shown that many parents are still looking for A’s in their children’s school examination papers. They said that scoring in examinations only only means that the child has learned to answer correctly on paper. Real learning comes through when the child makes his contribution to the world he or she lives in. According to the British Council, foreign universities were looking beyond those with a string of A’s at the SPM level, as they prefer all rounders who also excel in extra – curricular activities. They have stated that British universities were put off by the number of A’s which Malaysian students boasted about.

Datuk Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, the then Minister of Education stated that our education should not be too examination oriented and suggested that MES to look into reducing the examination and to change the examination format. A school based assessment has been suggested. (Utusan Malaysia, 22nd Mac 2006). The Minister also stated that the Ministry will look into replacing the school terms system with the semester system as practiced in the University as this also has implication on the school based assessment that will be implemented. As mentioned by Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussien, if MES is able to come up with this new policy, it can be implemented in this 9th Malaysian Plan. Otherwise it will be implemented in another 5 years time (10th Malaysian Plan).

Education Minister Y.A.B. Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin after attending the Victoria Institutuion Carnival on 30 May 2009 mentioned that the Ministry will listen to contrary views regarding its plan limiting to 10 subjects for candidates sitting SPM in 2010. “Concerned parties can submit their views. We are open to suggestions. We will listen to them”. he said.

Read more @

ICT and Malaysian Schools

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

The then Minister of Education, Dato’ Sri Hishammuddin Tun Hussien in his seminar paper “The Moving Young Minds International Ministerial Seminar of Education” in London (2004) among many other things stated that ICT is growing not just in capacity but in accessibility, availability and popularity. Old ways of communicating information and making things are destroyed or altered and new ones come into being. He gave the example that within 24 hours after the tsunami horror (the deadly waves that had spread destruction in twelve countries up to 3000 miles apart and killed an uncountable number of people); news and images of the destruction has been beamed into living rooms worldwide and journalists reported via satellite phone from affected sites. The Internet played an irreplaceable role in the mobilization and coordination of the relief effort in the affected countries. Within 48 hours, the largest ever fundraising effort for disaster relief was well under way, much of it on the web.


Wikibooks define information and communication technologies (ICT) as a “diverse set of technological tools and resources used to communicate, and to create, disseminate, store, and manage information”. These technologies include computers, the Internet, broadcasting technologies (radio and television), and telephony. Older technologies such as the telephone, radio and television, although given less attention, have a longer and richer history as instructional tools. Radio and television have for forty years been used for open and distance learning, although print remains the cheapest, most accessible and therefore most dominant delivery mechanism in both developed and developing countries.

E-Learning is most commonly associated with higher education and corporate training. E-Learning encompasses learning at all levels, both formal and non-formal, that uses an information network – the internet, an intranet (LAN) or extranet (WAN) – whether wholly or in part, for course delivery, interaction, evaluation and / or facilitation. Others prefer the term online learning. Web – based learning is a subject of e-learning and refers to learning using an internet browser (such as Netscape or Internet Explorer).

Blended Learning refers to learning models that combine traditional classroom practice with e-learning solutions. Class can be assigned both print-based and online materials, have online mentoring sessions with their teacher through chat, and are subscribed to a class email list. “Blending” was prompted by the recognition that not all learning is best achieved in an electronically-mediated environment, particularly one that dispenses with a live instructor altogether. Consideration must be given to the subject matter, the learning objectives and outcomes, the characteristics of the learners, and the learning context in order to arrive at the optimum mix of instructional and delivery methods.

Open and distance learning is defined by the Commonwealth of Learning as “a way of providing learning opportunities that is characterized by the seperation of teacher and learner in time and place, or both time and place; learning that is certified in some way, by an institution or agency; the use of a variety of media; including print and electronic: two-way communications that allow learners and tutors to interact; the possibilities of occasional face-to-face meetings, and a specialized division of labour in the production and delivery of courses”.


The potential of each technology varies according to how it is used. Haddad and Draxler identify at least five levels of technology use in education:

  • presentation;
  • demonstration;
  • drill and practice;
  • interaction;
  • collaboration.

Each of the different ICT’s may be used for presentation and demonstration, the most basic of the five levels. Except for video technologies, drills and practice may likewise be performed using the whole range of technologies. Networked computers and the Internet are the ICT’s that enable interactive and collaborative learning best. However the full potential as educational tools will remain unrealized if they are used merely for presentation or demonstration.

There are three (3) general approaches to the use of radio and TV broadcasting in education:

  • Direct class teaching, where broadcast programming substitues for teachers on a temporary basis.
  • School broadcasting, where broadcast programming provides complementary teaching and learning resources not otherwise available, and
  • General educational programming over community, national and international stations which provide general and informal educational opportunities.

Teleconferencing refers to “interactive electronic communication among people located at two or more different places. There are four (4) types of teleconferencing based on the nature and extent of interactivity and the sophistication of the technology.

  1. audioconferencing;
  2. audio-graphic conferencing;
  3. videoconferencing;
  4. web-based conferencing;

Audioconferencing involves the live (real-time) exchange of voice messages over a telephone network.

Videoconferencing allows the exchange not just of voice and graphics but also of moving images.

Teleconferencing is used in both formal and non-formal learning contexts to facilitate teacher-learner and learner-learner discussions, as well as to access experts and other resource persons remotely. In open and distance learning, teleconferencing is a useful tool for providing direct instruction and learner support, minimizing learner isolation. Higher institutions using teleconferecing in their online learning programs include the Open University of the United Kingdom, UNITAR (Universiti Tun Abdul Razak) Malaysia, Open University of Hong Kong, and Indira Ghandi National Open Univerity.

Three General Approaches to the Instructional Use of Computers and Internet:

  1. Learning about computers and the Internet, and technological literacy is the end goal.
  2. Learning with computer and the Internet, in which technology facilitates learning across the curriculum.
  3. Learning through computers and the Internet, integrating technological skills development with curriculum applications.

Learning about computers and the Internet focuses on developing technological literacy. It typically includes:

  • Fundamentals: basic terms, concepts and operations;
  • Use of the keyboard and mouse;
  • Use productivity tools such as word processing, spreadsheets, data base and graphics programs;
  • Use of research and collaboration tools such as search engines and email;
  • Basic skills in using programming and authoring applications such as Logo or HyperStudio;
  • Developing an awareness of the social impact of technological change.

Learning with computers and the Internet means focusing on how technology can be the means to learning ends across the curriculum. It includes:

  • Presentation, demonstration, and the manipulation of data using productivity tools;
  • Use of curriculum specific applications types such a games, drill and practice, simulations, tutorials, virtual  laboratories, visualizations and graphical representations of abstract concepts, musical composition and expert systems;
  • Use of information and resources on CD-ROM or online such as encyclopedia, interactive maps and atlases, electronic journals and other references.

Learning through computers and the Internet combine learning about them with learning with them. It involves learning the technological skills to engage in a curriculum related activities eg. using spreadsheet and database programs to help organize and analyze the data they have collected, as well as using a word processing application to prepare their written report.

Telecollaboration is the organised use of web resources and collaboration tools for curriculum appropriate purposes. Judi Harris defines telecollaboration as “an educational endeavor that involves people in different locations using Internet tools and resources to work together. Much educational telecollaboration is curriculum-based, teacher-designed, and teacher-coordinated. Most use e-mail to help participants communicate with each other. Many telecollaborative activities and projects have web sites to support them.


The Ministry of Education sees ICT as a means, not an end in itself. Technology is not seen a “vitamin” whose mere presence in schools can catalyse better educational outcome. The concept of ICT in education, as seen by the Ministry of Education, includes systems that enable information gathering, management, manipulation, access, and communication in various froms.

Three (3) Main Policies for ICT:

  1. ICT for all students – ICT is used as an enabler to reduce the digital gap between the schools.
  2. The role and function of ICT in education as a teaching and learning tool.
  3. Using ICT to increase productivity, efficiency and effectiveness of the management  system.

Malaysia is often cited as front runner in ICT implementation in developing world. The following are some of the initiatives implemented by government agencies that gave Malaysia this profile:

  1. The Malaysia Smart School Project that was launched in July 1997 by the Prime Minister – as one of the flagship applications of Malaysia’s Multimedia Super Corridor. The project aimed for a systematic reinvention of teaching and learning and of school management. It promotes student-centred, integrated and unified learning. It has developed a School Management System and a set of Learning Courseware.
  2. ICT Training in Schools : The model that the Ministry uses to disseminate training is the cascade model. Selected master trainers  undergo training , later to pass their training to selected trainers, who in turn, train their colleagues at school, district, or state level.
  3. Training teachers to use teaching courseware, notebooks, projectors and supplying schools with such equipment: In 2003 after a change in the language of instruction for Science and Mathematics to English – this programme was initiated to help teachers cope with the changed.
  4. The Computerisation Programme in Schools: The Ministry of Education implemented a Computerisation Programme in Schools to introduce ICT literacy to as many schools as possible, and thus to reduce the digital divide to some extent. Each school in Malaysia will be supplied with at least one computer Laboratory.  To date there are more than 3,000 computer lab. in operational.
  5. The Process of Providing Information Technology and Connectivity to all schools: Almost all schools are “wired” with broadband connections. The Ministry is also looking into equipping schools with WiFi (Wireless Local Area Networks) so that the benefits of connectivity can be realized by all.
  6. Internet Usage: MySchoolNet website was set up by the Ministry of Education to help increase the use of ICT in education, providing links to help teachers and students access educational information readily.
  7. The Electronic Book Project: In 2001, the Ministry initiated a pilot project involving the use of electronic book or e-book. E-book, a device which stores electronic textbooks and links the user to the internet, can be used to improve teaching and learning in the classroom. It is hope that the use of the e-book can replace the conventional textbooks and thereby resolve the perennial problem of heavy school-bags.

Introducing ICT into all schools in Malaysia is a major undertaking even though it is a major investment into the future productivity of Malaysia K-Economy Plan. Let’s hope that all Malaysians are committed to ensure it success.

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Environmental Education in Malaysia.

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

In the Malaysian school system, Environmental education was introduced through the infusion and integration approach; as well as introduced in relevant subjects such as English Language, Malay Language, Geography, Sciene, Local Studies, Civics and Citizenship.  It was also infused through co-curricular activities such as Nature Clubs. The Curriculum Development Centre in the Ministry of Education has also developed and distributed a Teacher’s Guide Book to infuse Environmental education across the primary and secondary school curriculum. However researches indicated that these approaches were generally not coordinated and not implemented effectively. Researches showed that till 2005 although Malaysians in general know and realize that the environment need to be taken care of, however most of them are not oriented to translating their knowledge into action.

In a report by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment presented at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2000, the following points were given:

  • Concerns over environmental issues among the general public in Malaysia vary widely;
  • Attitudes are also largely influenced by mass media coverage of environmental matters;
  • In spite of the heightened awareness because of the haze and El-Nino Phenomenon of 1997 and 1998, many people lack understanding of the delicate interrelationships between man, and all species of animals and plants; and
  • Fewer still have knowledge about the various institutional initiatives being taken at the national, regional, international, multilateral or global level to improve the environment.

According to Nelson and Abd. Rashid (2005), due to the lack of a policy within the National Education Policy, Environmental education remains very much on the side of the mainstream educational initiatives and reforms. The lack of specific allocation and instruction, to provide training for teachers in the skills of infusion or in the development of teaching resources despite some initial training and training opportunities offered by the non-governamental organizations (NGOs) has hinder the implementation at school level.

NGOs such as WWF-Malaysia  have been at the forefront in terms of  Environmental education initiatives. Such initiatives include collaboration with government initiatives such as teacher training and curriculum development. It is through such initiatives that a national wide initiative –  the WWW-Malaysia Smart Partnership; comprising of  smart partnerships between the government agencies such as Ministry of Education, Malaysian Public Universities, the Department of Fisheries, the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM), the Department of Wildlife ;  private organizations and non-governmantal organizations (NGOs) emerged with a focus of bringing about an Environmental Education Policy. This initiative consist of the following stages of development, namely:

  • Phase 1 : To draft an environment an environmental education policy within the National Education System taking into considerations from multi-stakeholders, by 2008.
  • Phase 2: To develop an effective framework for setting-up and the implementation of an Environmental education policy.

The overall objective is “to ensure that the Ministry Of Education places more emphasis on Environmental education in the National Education System by 2010 (Daniel & Nadeson, 2006).

However the WWF-Malaysia Smart Partnership initiative faces two (2) main challenges:

  • To promote positive attitudes and informed decisions of Malaysian citizens and government leaders that are necessary for sustainability; and
  • To teach people at all levels the benefits of integrating conservation with the need for development.

It is hope that through the WWF-Malaysia Smart Partnership, an effective environmental education policy will be materialised in the very near future.

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Environmental Education.

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Wikipedia summarized Environmental education (EE) as organized efforts to teach about how natural environments function and, particularly, how human beings can manage their behavior and ecosystems in order to live sustainably. It  is often used to imply education within the school system, from primary to post secondary. In its broader sense, it include all efforts to educate the public and other audiences, including print materials, websites, media campaigns, and other related activities such as out door education, and experiential education.

EE has been considered an additional or elective subject in the school curriculum. At the elementary school level, EE can take the form of science enrichment curriculum, natural history,  field trips, community service projects, and participation in outdoor science activities. In secondary school, environmental curriculum can be a focussed subject within the science or is a part of students interest groups or clubs. At the undergraduate level, it can be within education, environmental studies, environmental science policy, ecology, or human / cultural ecology programmes.

For Whom is Environmental Education Intended?

EE is intended for all types of learners ranging from students, out-of-school youth, community leaders, policy makers, and  the general public.

What is the Aim of Environmental Education?

EE intend to provide different groups of people (including graduates) with the knowledge needed to develop a sense of responsibility towards the environment and the rational utilization of its richness. It also intend to inculcate competencies needed for the solution of environmental problems and foster the highest cultural level of human’s productive activity.

What is an Environmental Education Curriculum?

The Environmental education curriculum is the sum total of all experiences that learners undertake to help them become environmentally literate. It is also referred to as a programmes of activities related to environmental protection and improvement.

What is the Goal of Environmental Education Curriculum?

Basically the goal is to help individuals to become environmentally knowledgeable, skilled and dedicated citizens who are willing to work individually and collectively towards achieving and maintaining the dynamic equilibrium between the quality of life and the environment.

What are the Objectives of the Environmental Education Curriculum?

The main objective is to develop the five domains of  EE, ie:

  • Awareness;
  • Knowledge;
  • Attitudes;
  • Skills;
  • Participation.

through learning  about the environment, acquiring skills to investigate the environment and developing concern for the environment and its resources.

What are the Contents of the Environmental Education Curriculum?

The curriculum must include the following aspects of the environment:

  • natural and human-made;
  • technological;
  • social;
  • economic;
  • cultural;
  • aesthetics.

It should also show the interconnections between the local, national and global problems; and also the links between the actions of today with the consequences of tomorrow.

What is the Role of Environmental Educators?

  1. The environmental educators (teachers, trainers, communicators) all play a very significant and substantial part in environmental education by being role models to learners in ensuring acceptable environmental standards;
  2. Those who show regard and act for the environment take the lead and the learners follow;
  3. At any given level, they need to know what steps, things, activities, lessons and projects are already taking place within the immediate environment to ensure continuity of lessons and learnings and at the same time avoid duplication, anchored on the spirit of complimentation and supplementation.

What is the Role of Environmental Education Learners?

  • Learners are the major component of the teaching and learning process;
  • They have to be helped in enhancing their own responsibility and accountability to care for the environment and be its stewards;
  • They need to be exposed to situations so that they can develop and possess unique ethics for the environment, and participate in activities to conserve and protect it;
  • They should be taught how to manage efficiently and properly so that the desired quality of life is maintained and development is sustained.

How will the Integration of Environmental Education be Successfully Achieved?

To achieve successful integration of environmental education, the following need to be considered:

  • Learning must be given a real purpose;
  • Educators must develop a set of understanding about the topics that are relevant and challenging;
  • Learners must participate in setting the direction of the learning activities;
  • Educators must help develop activities that will inform them about  what learners already know about a given topic;
  • Learners must be engaged in direct shared experiences to gather new information;
  • Activities must be interactive and learners must be involved in a range of groupings; and
  • Learners must be given the opportunities to act out what they have learned.

Further inquiries can be forwarded to:

The Environmental Education & Information Division,

Environmental Management Bureau-DENR,

2/F HRD Bldg., DENR Compound

Visayas Ave., Dilimen Quezon City.

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