Archive for November, 2014

ICT and its relevance

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Although we now have access to smart gadgets and various tools of communication, it is the technical skills of the people involved that make the products and services tick.

INFORMATION and Communication Technology (ICT) products are all around us, especially computers and mobile devices, and most people cannot live without these gadgets as they have all become tools for communication and work.

However, so little is known about how these devices work and who designs and develops the systems.

What makes ICT the most familiar stranger?

The reasons could be because of our own perception of whether ICT is important or otherwise.

Also, is the subject given the emphasis it deserves in our schools?

Many countries realise the relevance of ICT in today’s new age era which is why it is a subject throughout the years of study from kindergarten right up to Year 12.

Countries like the United Kingdom and Australia, realise the importance of ICT and expose their school-going youth to ICT.

In Malaysia, ICT education hasn’t been given the emphasis it deserves although recent efforts have been made to give more importance to the subject.

In the science stream, most students tend to choose the more secure subjects such as biology, physics and chemistry and not many students go through proper ICT lessons before joining college or university.

Information Technology (IT) emphasises on the storage, retrieval, process and discovery of meaningful information.

An example would be a local supermarket that sells groceries to the local community.

The cashier or point of sales system that scans the bar code and processes the bill is an IT product. The inventory system that records the quantity of all groceries is an IT product.

The expert system that gathers the above information and predicts the best-selling product for the coming quarter is again, an IT product. This is a general IT system.


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Virtual learning by 2016

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

THE Education Ministry will be digitalising textbooks to enable teaching and learning through a virtual learning environment (VLE) platform.

Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that these digital textbooks will help lighten both the students’ school bags and parents’ burdens.

“Innovation is an important element in spearheading education transformation, and this is one of the ministry’s efforts in resolving the heavy school bag problem which parents complain about.

“More importantly, parents will not be burdened by the additional costs incurred from the implementation of these digital textbooks as the tools such as Google Chrome Book and high speed Internet will be provided to schools,” he said after launching the ministry’s Innovation Day celebration recently.

Muhyiddin, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, added that the textbooks will be released in two phases.

“For the first phase, 313 titles will be made accessible to students, parents and teachers through the 1BestariNet website.

“As for the second phase, expected to be launched from between 2016 and 2025, digital textbooks will be made interactive,” he said.

He praised the ministry’s success in education innovation initiatives, including receiving a VMWare Innovation Award for its “Transforming IT by Defying Convention” project durign the VMWorld 2014 Conference held recently.

He said 25,000 virtual desktops were deployed at 1,250 schools across the country with VMware Horizon and Teradici PCoIP Zero Client devices as part of a national effort to modernise education and bridge the urban-rural digital divide.


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Setting the right example

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

The trouble with most politicians is that they lose the connection with the people after a while. They forget the people who put them in their positions in the first place.

IT is the kind of news that is guaranteed to go global. Reports of Indonesian President Joko Widodo (pic), or Jokowi as he is more popularly known, and his wife Iriana queuing at the Jakarta airport like ordinary passengers before taking their seats in economy class have become world news.

The Indonesian people have been given yet another moment to savour – and their new president has certainly endeared himself to the voters with his modest lifestyle.

The couple was taking a short flight to Singapore to attend the graduation ceremony of their 19-year-old son from the Anglo-Chinese International School, a Methodist secondary school.

Jokowi did not exactly make a big fuss about travelling economy but his publicists certainly did a good job in making sure the Indonesian people, and the rest of the world, knew about it.

As Jokowi explained later, this was strictly a private affair and there was no need to make use of government facilities for what was essentially a personal matter.

Jokowi, of course, is still on what is known as the “honeymoon phase” of his presidency.

The Indonesians find him refreshing. He is the direct opposite of many of the Indonesian politicians who are seen as corrupt, arrogant and patronising.

The news of Jokowi travelling economy class has gone viral but, as to be expected of social media, there are also many counter reports that question his motive and play up the fact that the couple stayed at an expensive five-star hotel along Orchard Road.


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Kidnappers extend fish farm operator’s ransom deadline by 20 days

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

KOTA KINABALU: Kunak fish farm operator Chan Sai Chuin has been given a 20-day respite by his Abu Sayyaf captors who have threatened to behead him by today if a RM3mil ransom is not paid up.

His wife Chin Pek Nyen said police had told her that the kidnappers gave the authorities another 20 days to meet their demand.

“They managed to persuade the kidnappers to give them more time to raise the money for his release,” said the 42-year-old yesterday.

However, Chin said the kidnappers continued to refuse to let her speak to her 32-year-old husband, saying that they would only allow her to do so in the next few days.

“It’s been almost four months since I last heard my husband’s voice and I really want to speak to him.

“I hope they will keep their promise and let me talk to him after a few days,” she said.

Chan was abducted by the Filipino gunmen from his fish farm during a 12.45am raid on June 16.

Another Malaysian, marine policeman Kons Zakiah Aleip, 26, who was abducted from Pulau Mabul on July 12, is still being held by gunmen in Jolo, southern Philippines.

The kidnappers, said Chin, would only tell her that her husband was “doing well” but claimed that he was “not around” whenever she asked to speak to him.


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‘Ensure children cherish diversity’

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

PETALING JAYA: The education of the present generation to appreciate the diversity of race, culture and religion should begin at home, according to NGO Mothers of Malaysia Initiative (MoMs).

Founder Associate Professor Dr Harlina Halizah Siraj said parents played a vital role in instilling values to promote mutual respect, tolerance and appreciation of the diversity of Malaysian society.

“Parents now seem to be dependent on schools or government bodies to educate children to understand and accept the uniqueness of other races,” she said at the launch of MoMs here yesterday.

“However, parents, especially mothers, should take the initiative to ensure that their children not only accept but also cherish diversity by encouraging them to participate in activities with children of other races.”


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Education vital for malaria eradication

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

KOTA KINABALU: University Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Social Science Faculty Professor Dr Kntayya Mariappan who participated in the internationally collaborated malaria study programme tagged ‘MONKEYBAR’ Mid-Project Workshop on from Nov 25 to 28 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital here, called for more follow-up action and programmes following the successful conclusion of the event.

“It is very important that awareness of the monkey malaria or P. knowlesi is to be disseminate especially among the affected population in Kudat and Banggi island so that they are educated on how to take preventive action to protect themselves against the disease,” he told Daily Express of the important role that social scientists as agents of change could help the local community.

Dr Kntayya said, depending on the availability of funds, he would encourage some of his students to consider doing research on the subject as part of their course.

The professor attended the workshop with eight other professors and academicians from UMS – Professors Chua Tock Hing, Dr Paul Porodong, Dr Gaim James Lunkapis, Dr Sylvia Daim, Dr Sophia Lau Tiek Ying, Nor Afizah Nuin, Benny Obrain and Hanns Ng.

Dr Kntayya said it is imperative that monkeys should not be vilified and victimised as a result of P. knowlesi prevention education and awareness.

“Conservationists would not want monkeys, some are kept as pets of humans, to be killed wantonly just because of the fear of P. knowlesi malaria, as now it has been established and understood that monkeys through mosquito vectors could spread the disease to humans,” he said.

“To control and eradicate this malaria disease, education is crucial and this is where social scientists with the pertinent knowledge, can play an important role towards this goal,” he stressed.

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No lessons learned from recurring Govt wastages, says Auditor-General

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR: Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang (pic) feels it is unfair to assume that every aspect of his report involves corruption.

Ambrin said on Saturday that some of the shortcomings of spending in the public sector, highlighted in his report, were due to “opportunists” from the private sector, who had been hired by the Government.

However, he said that lessons were not learnt from the recurring leakages and wastages.

These issues will continue if department heads do not competently address problems raised in the reports, he told a forum on Government accountability by the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) and the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4).

“But don’t get the idea that all issues in the report are due to corruption, which is a criminal act that should be professionally investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

“Most of the reported losses are due to human error. Oversight is the popular word. These issues require corrective measures rather than punitive,” said Ambrin, who attributed the perception of widespread corruption to the way his report was being reported in the media.

He said that the failure of correcting the mistakes raised in the report yearly had resulted in repeat offenders.


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UPSR GPN falls, 7.89pc score all A’s

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

PUTRAJAYA: The National Grade Average (or GPN) for Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) 2014 has fallen, while the number of students who scored all A’s also dipped, as compared to 2013.

Education director-general Datuk Seri Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof said the overall GPN of UPSR candidates this year was 2.29 points, falling 0.02 points as compared to 2.27 points in 2013.

Based on the calculation used, a smaller GPN meant a better achievement.

Making an announcement based on the analysis for this year’s UPSRresults, Dr Khair Mohamad said 36,304 students, or 7.89 per cent of 460,407 of those who sat for the examination this year scored all A’s.

It fell 1.26 per cent as compared to the 2013 results, where 42,646 candidates, or 9.15 per cent of students achieved the feat.

Dr Khair Mohamad said the overall GPN reduction of 0.02 points should be seen in a positive manner. “Although on the whole, there was a fall, we could see that the percentage of candidates who scored below the required minimum level (all D’s or all E’s or a combination of both) had fallen by 0.49 per cent,” he added.

The number of students who scored below the required minimum level this year was reduced by 2,445, from 15,656 in 2013 to 13,211 this year, he said.

“I believe the teachers have worked hard and will continue to do so to ensure students succeed,” he said. Dr Khair Mohamad said this year, there was improvement in performance in five papers, six showed a decline, and one remained unchanged from 2013.

The papers which showed improved performance were English Language, Chinese Language (comprehension), Bahasa Melayu (writing, SK), Tamil Language (writing) and Bahasa Melayu (comprehension, SJK).

The papers which showed a decline in performance were Chinese Language (writing), Bahasa Melayu (comprehension, SK), Science (018)(028)(038), Bahasa Melayu (comprehension, SJK), Mathematics (015)(025)(035), and Tamil Language (comprehension).

Meanwhile, the paper in which performance remained unchanged from last year was English Language (SJK)(024)(034).

Commenting further, Dr Khair Mohamad said the gap in good achievement between urban and rural UPSR candidates was further reduced this year, to 1.43 per cent.

Touching on candidates with special needs (CBK), he said the number of candidates increased by 65, from 1,916 students in 2013 to 1,981 this year.

He said the percentage of candidates with special needs who scored all A’s increased from 12 students in 2013 to 16 this year, an increase of four candidates, or 0.18 per cent.

He said 16 CBK who scored all A’s included a blind candidate, four myopic candidates, one spastic candidate and 10 candidates with other disabilities.

Dr Khair Mohamad said the 2014 UPSR was successfully carried out despite facing leakage issues in four papers, which were Science (SK,SJKC & SJKT); English Language – Papers 1 and 2 (SK); Mathematics – Paper 1 (SK, SJKC & SJKT) and Tamil Language – comprehension.

He said the paper leak showed that UPSR had a huge impact on students at the end of their primary education. “This was caused due to extreme reaction towards the examination, and too much attention given towards the grades shown in a candidate’s slip,” he said.

Dr Khair Mohamad said the education ministry had cooperated with the authorities, namely the police and the Malaysian Communications & Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to help in investigations to identify those responsible for the paper leaks.

In order to maintain the quality of education which led to the development of human capital, he said, the current examination system would be strengthened and its concept broadened towards assessment, to understand a student’s education development.

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Sabah’s exam results this year the best so far

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s Ujian Penilaian Menengah Rendah (UPSR) results this year are the best so far, scoring a National Average Grade (or GPN) of 2.71.

The average grade in Sabah for the UPSR last year was 2.76.

Based on the calculation used, a smaller GPN meant a better achievement.

From a total of 44,427 students that sat for the examinations in Sabah this year, there were 22,699 students who passed with the minimum grade C.

This is also an increase of 2.43 per cent from last year making the percentage rate this year to 51.09. Last year from the 45,491 candidates a total of 22,136 students passed with the minimum grade C.

The percentage of students scoring D and E in all subjects showed a drop to 1.23 per cent compared to 7.81 per cent last year.

Candidates scoring straight As jumped slightly by 0.14 per cent, with a total of 1,231 students excelling in this year’s UPSR examinations compared to last year with 1,197 students.

In announcing the result at a press conference held at SK Sri Gaya yesterday, State Education Department director Datuk Jame Alip attributed the achievement to the hard work put in by the headmasters, headmistresses, teachers and parents.

“If we want to move forward, we need to be extraordinary. The teachers need to give extraordinary commitment and parents must be extraordinary in encouraging their children to do well in their studies,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jame said students who missed out the UPSR examinations but wished to proceed to the secondary level will have their cases studied by the Education Department that will determine whether the candidate had been absent on purpose or otherwise.


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SIDMA College Premier Kadazan-Dusun Language Storytelling Competition.

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

SIDMA College, Kota Kinabalu held its premier Piboian Mananong Boros Kadazan-Dusun (Kadazan-Dusun Language Storytelling Competition) at SIDMA Atrium on 26 November 2014. Nine finalists were selected, from preliminary rounds held earlier this week,  to participate in the event. Each participant prepared an interesting and unique story to be expressed in their individual styles to the audience in the Kadazan-Dusun language.

The competition was the brainchild of the newly established SIDMA College very own Kadazan-Dusun Club, which was formed in September 2014 and headed by Mr. David Tiongin Lumbok.  The club is currently waiting for formal registration from the Malaysian Registrar of Society (ROS). The aim of the competition was to provide an avenue for SIDMA College’s Kadazan-Dusun language speakers to showcase their talents in Mananong. It was also intended to enhance their proficiency in the language, and also to encourage and motivate them to use them own mother tongue.

Prof Dr. Morni Hj Kambrie, SIDMA Chairman as well as the Patronage of the club, in his officiating address congratulated the SIDMA Kadazan-Dusun Club, SIDMA Student Representative Counsel (MPM), and the Student Affairs Department (STAD) for their contributions and collaborations to ensure the successful implementation of the event. He also complimented SIDMA Prima Dansa for their unique performance.

As a Patron to the club, Dr. Morni harbours a strong desire to draw out and enhance the oral component of the Kadazan-Dusun Traditional Storytelling Culture – the Mananong particularly among the young and the youth.

He felt that despite the Kadazan-Dusun language being formally implemented in school since 1995, Kadazan-Dusun Language, like any other native languages continue to decline from its originality due to the practice of code mixing among modern Kadazan-Dusun speaking families, giving ways to the infiltration of “broken” Kadazan-Dusun language, which may eventually erode the pureness of the language.

Thus Dr. Morni felt the timeliness of the club’s establishment as well as its focus to spearhead the continuous efforts to maintain the various Kadazan-Dusun traditional cultures such as the Mananong.

Through this club, Dr. Morni planned to work closely with the State Director of Education, as well as other related and relevant authorities and agencies to compliment and supplement their existing and on-going programmes and committees to bring the current activities at school and district levels to greater heights.

In addition, Mr David Tiongin conveyed his heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Prof Dr. Morni, Puan Azlina Ngatimin (Director, Corporate Relations and Marketing Development), and Puan Azizah Khalid Merican (CEO) for their generosity to provide the necessary funding for the event. He also thanked SIDMA College staff and students for their kind cooperation and collaboration to ensure the success of the programme. He too encouraged more SIDMA students to register themselves as members of the club.

The judges for the day were Mr.Joanes Sanan Tangau (SIDMA College), Puan Rachel (SK St. Joseph, Penampang), and Mr. Fredolin Aban (SK Mandurian, Pitas). They have unreservedly declared Melanie Majunah with her story “ii Tongkud om ii Bolou” as the overall winner of the competition.

Prof Dr. Morni proudly presented prizes to winners of the competition as well as souvenirs to the judges.

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