Archive for July, 2018

RM10m aid for students

Friday, July 27th, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: The State Government through the Sabah Foundation Group (KYS) will give a one-off assistance this year worth RM10 million to bright SPM and STPM Sabahan students to continue their studies at higher leaning institutions.

Chief Minister cum Sabah Foundation Board of Trustees Chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said at least 5,000 students will benefit, including from less fortunate backgrounds.

“This year we have set aside RM10 million as a one off assistance for approximately 5,000 students including those less fortunate students whose parents do not have the means to fund their studies.

“There are some parents who also end up incurring debt in order to assist their children to further their studies after SPM and STPM.”

Shafie said the number of scholarship recipients would also be increased in the years to come and there will be recipients from each district in the state.

He said the initiative is proof of the commitment under the new State Government to provide opportunities to young Sabahans to continue their studies to university or tertiary level.

“If the state’s finances are good we will ensure the assistance will be increased next year as educational knowledge and human capital development is one of the priorities of the state government.

This is something important for us,” he said, after presentation of 29th State Scholarship Awards at the Tun Ahmad Raffae Auditorium, Menara Tun Mustapha, Thursday.

This year, 40 excellent SPM students received State scholarships compared to 25 last year.

Shafie said the State Government will also set up at State level institutions that are linked to industries in the State Government’s focus.

“We have set up such institutions as Mara Junior Science College (MRSM) before so we don’t need the approval of any kind of authority to do so. We just set it up and of course we will ensure the school’s curriculum will be in line with the industry’s needs.”

Also present was State Education and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob and State Education Director Datuk Maimunah Suhaibul.

Meanwhile Sabah Foundation Deputy Director Datuk Rosmawati Lasuki said the assistance showed the commitment of the State Government to give more opportunities to Sabahans to pursue their education to a higher level.

She said KYS will continue to work closely with the state government in efforts to provide education assistance to less fortunate students to pursue their studies.

by Neil Chan.

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=126104

10 cholera outbreaks in Sabah: Dept

Thursday, July 26th, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Ten cholera outbreaks have been recorded in Sabah so far this year, resulting in 18 symptomatic and 24 asymptomatic cases.

Sabah Health Department Director Datuk Dr Christina Rundi (pic) said that cholera is easily spread in areas lacking clean water supply and proper toilets.

She added that the contaminated water and food-borne disease is caused by Vibrio cholera, which is also spread via the stool and vomit of infected people.

“The incubation period for cholera is between several hours to five days, with most of the infected not showing any symptoms.

“For severe cases, however, patients will have acute diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and dehydration, which leads to acidosis, complication in blood circulation, kidney failure and death,” she said in a statement.

Dr Christina advised people in the state to take preventive measures, such as washing their hands, drinking only boiled or bottled water, eating food within four hours of it being cooked, and avoiding food exposed to the elements.

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=126071

Seeing the big picture

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018
Issues such as heavy school bags and the colour of school shoes tend to generate controversies. Hence, we should not be too preoccupied with them.

IN the course of my public-service career, I would have heard hundreds of speeches by public-service leaders. A few have stuck in my mind. One of which is that by Tan Sri Ismail Adam, a former director-general of public service.

As often as the opportunity arose, Ismail would exhort public servants to see the big picture or, in his words, “the forest for the trees”. And, he walked the talk. When ministries approached the Public Service Department, or JPA — the Malay acronym — for the creation of new posts or divisions, he would invariably ask them how their request would further the strategic direction of their ministries. That would get them thinking of the big picture about how their request would fit into the larger vision and purpose of their ministries.

This nugget of wisdom of seeing the big picture is also the central theme of the Kim Chan’s and Renee Mauborgne’s 2017 book Blue Ocean Shift. There, as in their previous path-breaking 2005 book Blue Ocean Strategy, they exhort businesses to be single-minded about the big picture. Businesses should not to focus on operational issues and accounting figures if they want to seek out uncontested markets without competitors.

A similar resonance of appreciating the big picture is evident in Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson’s 2012 insightful book, Why Nations Fail.

Acemoglu and Robinson argue that inclusive and pro-growth political and economic institutions and the rule of law are prerequisites for a nation’s socio-economic progress. Countries are more likely to develop the right institutions when they have a pluralistic political system with competition for political office. There must also be an openness to their newly-elected political leaders, giving them space to realise their big picture.

Powerful people everywhere have always sought to rig the rules to seize control over government. In the process they weaken institutions. And, it is effective democracy that keeps these power-hungry gluttons in check.

Against this big canvass of economic development, Acemoglu and Robinson argue that contingent policies — the “trees” — however sensible, are often bereft of impact without the big picture of institutional change. Poor countries are poor simply because their leaders do not know which policies to pursue to prosper their citizens.

The new government came into power with such a big picture. At the hustings, Pakatan Harapan advocated stanching the rise in cost of living. The Goods and Services Tax and escalating petroleum prices were in the cross-hairs. Upon assuming office, the new government has mowed down these causes of inflation.

The bigger picture of restoring the fiscal position has seen the government committing to shrinking the public debt and deferring or paring down the price-tag of big-ticket projects.

To restore public trust, the new government has promised to restore the supremacy of the constitution. It wants the rule of law to be omnipresent in all its dealings. Relatedly, the government wants to revive the integrity of all three branches of government — parliament, judiciary and executive

A start on these big pictures has been made. There are many more big pictures looming on the horizon. One such big picture is education reform. Here, the big picture is how the education system can be revamped to produce employable school-leavers and graduates. This has to be done without compromising the high ideals of the higher-education system to extend the frontiers of knowledge and make students better leaders of tomorrow.

Such a big picture should not be stained by an obsessive preoccupation on issues such as the weight of school bags or the colour of school shoes. While these may be pertinent issues, they tend to generate controversies. Such controversies are unnecessary distractions from the pursuit of the bigger vision.

As Assegid Habtewold, the author of 9 Cardinal Building Blocks for Continued Success, says: “Having the big picture in mind enables us to overcome the routines that distract us from pursuing our dream.”

Similarly, the nation’s human resource management should not be mired by issues of who gets to cook in our restaurants. Rather, the big-picture focus should be on elevating our vocational education to the level of excellence that the German and Swiss vocational education exemplifies. The relevant ministry should focus on the bigger sketch of how talent can be attracted, developed and retained.

Putting out the small fires should not be ignored either lest they conflagrate into bigger ones. Notwithstanding, a proper perspective between “the forest” and “the trees” should prevail.

The political leadership has shown by example that we should not sweat the small stuff. It is our turn, as citizens, to emulate this good example. What is important for us today is that we must be mindful that irrespective of race or creed we are all Malaysians. It behoves therefore for all of us to honour that identity and treat one another as belonging to that big family.

By DATUK DR JOHN ANTONY XAVIER.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2018/07/394172/seeing-big-picture

Key issues to be addressed in revamp of tertiary level education.

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018
Aiming high: Students of University Malaya in Kuala Lumpur will be hoping to see better and improved times with the expected revamp of the country’s tertiary level education.

Aiming high: Students of University Malaya in Kuala Lumpur will be hoping to see better and improved times with the expected revamp of the country’s tertiary level education.

KUALA LUMPUR: How academics get their positions will be relooked to make sure they win on merit and not for their political views.

This has been proposed under a major review of the curriculum and selection criteria for top posts at universities, as part of a revamp to “overhaul” tertiary level education.

Education Minister Dr Mazlee Malik is scheduled to hold a townhall session with a select team of about 20 top academics and scho­lars at Universiti Malaya today, his first such session since assuming the post in May.

The reforms, largely advanced by the Malaysian Academic Movement better known by its Malay acronym Gerak, is to address the root causes of the problem.

Gerak chairman Prof Zaharom Naim of Nottingham University said the aim was to chart a way forward at the tertiary level.

“We will discuss strategies with the minister,’’ he added.

Officials said under the revamp, the appointment of the vice-chancellors, their deputies and university boards would also come under scrutiny.

In a 10-point memorandum submitted by Gerak to the ministry on June 11, it called for such appointments and that of other top university administrators to be based solely on merit and not political affiliation

The others include the call to dissolve the National Professors Council which has been deemed political in nature, and to do away with policies based on race and religious sentiment, rather than promoting knowledge and ethical values, to help support nation-buil­ding.

Gerak also called for the Pakatan government to replace all those appointed for their political links with respected, independent-min­ded, analytical and accountable academicians.

It wanted the Government to abolish laws that stifled academic freedom which it said impacted negatively on academic excellence, citing the University and University Colleges Act 1971, and the Statutory Bodies (Discipline and Surcharge) Act which prohibited academics from expressing their views.

UM’s Prof Dr Rajah Rasiah, a prominent economist who was named Distinguished Professor for 2017, said appointments for top posts must be made based on education qualifications and distinctions achieved.

“And it must be rotated every two to three years between those truly deserving,” he said.

Prof Dr Edmund Terence Gomez of UM’s Faculty of Economics & Administration, felt the ministry should allow the curriculum to be decided by the universities.

“It can be watched over by the ministry but the higher learning institutions should not always have to go to the ministry to seek approval,” he said.

On the review of curriculum by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency, he said that it should not just be “paper work” but vet how courses were run and if proper teaching methods were implemented.

Prof Gomez said the ministry should also find ways to boost funding for research in public universities.

“The government plays a huge role in getting funding and such a task should not be left to the universities alone,” he added.

The session with more than 20 professors and other academics is being viewed with extra interest as the Pakatan Harapan government has put reform in education as one of its top priorities.

By Rahimy Rahim
Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/07/23/only-the-best-must-be-chosen-key-issues-to-be-addressed-in-revamp-of-tertiary-level-education/#AHwrKKVDWJTEqcKQ.99

Datuk Seri Panglima Hj Mohd Shafie Bin Hj Apdal Officiated 2018 MASISWA Sports Carnival Zone Sabah

Monday, July 23rd, 2018

Y.A.B Datuk Seri Panglima Hj Mohd Shafie Bin Hj Apdal, Chief Minister of Sabah, when officiating the 2018 Sabah Private Universities and Colleges (MASISWA) Sports Carnival at Kota Kinabalu Sports Complex on 22 July 2018, congratulated the contingents for their full commitment and excellence performance in the 2018 MASISWA Sports Carnival and hope that they will continue to excel and be able to represent the country and the nation; much to the applauds from all the IPTS students.

The Chief Minister added that sports play a great role in our life as it keeps us healthy, wealthy; and increase our ability to always stay active and resilient. We can only have healthy mind when we have a healthy body – thus enabling us to achieve our dreams as well as to overcome obstacles. Great achievements can come our way when we maintain our physical and mental well-being.

Y.A.B Datuk Seri Panglima Hj Mohd Shafie urged students from the universities and colleges to seize opportunities from the conducive learning environments provided by their learning institutions to excel holistically, not only in sports but also in academic, social, spiritual, moral values, thinking and communication skills, and more in order to be useful citizens and future leaders of the country.

As Chief Minister of Sabah, he stressed that he and his cabinet is willing to listen from the students and the youths of the country, and build the future of Sabah for the students and youths. He thanked Dr Morni Hj Kambrie (2018 MASISWA Organiser and SIDMA Sabah Chairman) for inviting and giving him the platform to meet and talk to the students and youth from the IPTS of Sabah and he hope that he will be invited again for the 2019 MASISWA Sports Carnival.

Y.A.B Datuk Seri Panglima Hj Mohd Shafie and wife (Datin Seri Panglima Hajah Shuryani Shuaib), who was accompanied by Y.B Datuk Dr Yusof Bin Yacob (Sabah Education and Innovation Minister) and his wife; later took the opportunity to mingle and congratulated the IPTS athletes for their success; and together danced with the students to the tune of Sabah currently popular hit, “Original Sabahan” song.

Y.B Datuk Dr Yusof Bin Yacob, took the opportunities to advise students to avoid segregation among themselves based on race, religion, or economic status, but them to be more inclusive and united in their diversities, and work together in order to build a stronger and a more progressive country.

Earlier, Prof Dr Mohd Zamri Bin Yusoff, President of Sabah MASISWA Sports Council, thanked and congratulated Dr Morni Hj Kambrie and SIDMA College Sabah for their successful organisation of the event despite facing adverse conditions, particularly the financial constraints. He also appreciated the full commitment, support and collaborative efforts from all the IPTS to the organising committee.

He also announced that 2019 MASISWA Sports Carnival will be hosted by Asia Metropolitan College Kota Kinabalu and hope that all IPTS will continue their undivided support to the next year’s host.

Dr Morni in his welcoming address, thanked and congratulated the Chief Minister of Sabah, Y.A.B Datuk Seri Panglima Hj Mohd Shafie Bin Apdal and Datin Seri Panglima Hajah Shuryani Shuaib, for taking their time off to grace the ceremony despite their very busy schedule for the day. He too conveyed his thanks and appreciation to all who have contributed both in money and kinds to the organising committee to ensure the smooth running of the sports carnival. He particularly thanked Y.B Datuk Dr Yusof and Sabah Education and Innovation Ministry who had contributed RM 10,000; the Sabah Youth and Sports Ministry and Sabah Sports Council who have given their support to ensure the host of the event can make use of all facilities at Kota Kinabalu Sports at a special rate. He too thanked all individuals who have sponsored and co-sponsored to the event such as KK Event House Sdn Bhd, Red Bull Malaysia, and more.

Dr Morni too thanked Prof Dr Mohd Zamri for his sharing of experiences and advice to the organising committee, as well as the full support and collaboration from all the IPTS. He too, congratulated all the athletes for their sportsmanship and sporting spirit. He particularly thanked all the sports marshals who were working in a very tight schedule and with limited resources.

Dr Morni also conveyed his appreciation to all staff of SIDMA College who have collaborated and assisted to ensure the smooth implementation of the event without compromising their core duties to the students.

SIDMA College Sabah which hosted the 10th MASISWA Sports Carnival for the first time, managed to set a record with the largest number of participants (both in terms of colleges and athletes). More than 1,500 athlete from 20 private institutions of higher learning in Sabah took part and participate in the grand event. The 20 IPTS that collaborated and participated in the event are SIDMA College UNITAR Sabah, University College Sabah Foundation (UCSF), Kolej Teknikal Yayasan Sabah, Eastern College, INTI College Sabah, Almacrest International College, Asia Metropolitan College KK, Institut Sinaran, Asian Tourism International College (ATIC), North Borneo University College (NBUC), AMC College, Jesselton College, Cosmopoint Sabah College, Management and Science University (MSU), Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TARUC), Kiara College, Kinabalu Commercial College (KCC), MAHSA College, Geomatika College Keningau, and Sabah Institute of Art (SIA).

University College Sabah Foundation (UCSF) has emerged as the overall champions in the recent concluded Sabah Zone MASISWA Games 2018 held at Kota Kinabalu Sports Complex from 20 -21 July 2018.

During the 3-day carnival saw UCSF hauled a total of six (6) gold four (4) silver and two (2) bronze medals from the 12 games they contested. Their gold medals came from ten-pin bowling (individual and team), netball, badminton (men double), chess (women individual and team)

Inti College finished as the overall runners-up with four (4) gold and two (2) silver medals. Third place went to University Tunku Abdul Rahman College with three gold medals.

Please <CLICK HERE> to view list of colleges that participated during the competition and their achievement status.

Also present during the event were Sabah Sports Board General Manager, Datuk Penyuki Matta; as well as Chairman of Sabah Sports Board, Datuk Louis Rampas, Madam Azizah Khalid Merican (CEO SIDMA College Sabah), as well as the Chief Executive Officer and managers from IPTS that have participated in the events.

Read more @ https://www.sidma.edu.my/index.php/all-bulletin/89-news/169-datuk-seri-panglima-hj-mohd-shafie-bin-hj-apdal-officiated-2018-masiswa-sports-carnival-zone-sabah

Can cancer be as manageable as HIV?

Monday, July 23rd, 2018
Nowadays, HIV is just as manageable as diabetes and hypertension. Can cancer be one day just as manageable? (File pix)

VERY few would deny that cancer to this day remains among the world’s most dreaded disease.

Despite many years of research, cancer is still not fully tamed.

There have been some progress, of course, in the diagnostics and the therapeutics to treat some cancers.

Over the years the survival rates have shown some increase. But the search for a cure remains elusive.

Can this change? What will it take to turn cancer into just another chronic disease? Just like the HIV (human immuno deficiency virus) infection which was at one time also a dreaded illness.

Nowadays, HIV is just as manageable as diabetes and hypertension. Can cancer be one day just as manageable?

This line of questioning has become commonplace in many recent discourses on cancer, not only among the medical fraternity, but also among the larger academics.

Through concerted efforts, many groups are now joining hands to embark on a new initiative to declare a full-blown war on cancer.

This ambitious initiative will be launched by no less than the deputy prime minister herself. Can this new initiative make a difference?

The truth is that we all have had encounters with cancer. Some have personally experienced battling the disease. Others have had the occasion to witness firsthand how close family members succumbed to the disease. I know of many close friends who have left us because of cancer. In other words, the disease has become rather common.

Many reasons have been cited for the rise in the cases. Better availability of statistics is one. Many also blame the rise on worsening environmental pollution, especially air pollution. A few also attribute the rise to the food we eat. Many studies have pointed to the uncontrolled use of unnatural chemical ingredients in our cuisine. All these need proper studies.

What is clear is that cancer is a multi-factor disease. It is not just caused by a single factor. It can be a combination of factors. Genetic disposition, for example, has also been reasoned as one possible factor. The treatment of cancer also has many approaches. Often doctors would prescribe a combination of surgery, drugs, radiation and other forms of therapy. Many treatments based on traditional medicines have also been tried. But whatever it is, early detection has proven to be the best way to fight the disease. The problem is many are not aware until the disease has reached a late stage. This is where a public awareness campaign becomes desirable and critical.

There also has to be better coordination among research groups in the country. Regular sharing of research findings would be another feature of the collaboration. Not to mention collaboration with international research partners. The end game is to build globally recognised experts in the country.

Take the case of traditional cures for cancer. As a country with diverse ethnic groups, the nation is rich in traditional cancer cures.

Many are based on herbal concoctions. But there have been reports of some traditional cancer therapies based on insect species. In Sarawak, for example, the Penans have been resorting to local insects to treat cancer cases in their community. It may be pertinent to undertake scientific studies to confirm the mechanism of therapy as well as determine the active compounds doing the job.

There is no doubt that funding, talent and the right research facilities are key to the success of the war on cancer. A national research and development laboratory devoted to the war on cancer may be worth considering. Crowd-funding should also be deployed to motivate the contributions from non-governmental sources. Most of the funding may have to initially come from the government. However, over time, the public and the corporate sector may be persuaded to chip in.

By DR AHMAD IBRAHIM.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2018/07/393480/can-cancer-be-manageable-hiv

Best way to understand Islam

Monday, July 23rd, 2018
Being a multicultural and multireligious society, peaceful coexistence with mutual respect and understanding among religious adherents is much needed at all level of society. FILE PIC

TOGETHER with the reform agenda, the Pa-katan Harapan government has made a commitment that it will bring a new approach to governing that is based on the spirit of openness, integrity, competency, accountability and transparency.

Aiming mostly at the implementation of a just and transparent political system, this approach will undoubtedly have consequences on how religion is administered.

What is mainly expected with regard to religious administration is a more inclusive approach from the government.

This would mean more freedom is given to all religious groups to express themselves either at the inter- or intra-religious levels through dialogue and interaction.

This is based on the premise that being a multicultural and multireligious society, peaceful coexistence with mutual respect and understanding among religious adherents is much needed at all levels of society.

As also stated by the new minister in charge of Islamic affairs in the Prime Minister’s Department, such an inclusive approach is in line with the Quranic principle that declares Islam as a blessing for all mankind.

“We have not sent you (O Muhammad), but as a mercy to all mankind (creatures).” (al-Anbiya’, (21):107)

Obviously, such an approach is disturbing, especially to complacent Muslims who have been pampered with a safe version of Islamic administration, protected by governmental Islamic institutions and unchallenged by external parties.

The escalating concern among them is that the inclusive approach will gradually open the floodgates of invasion of various ideologies and belief systems that will affect the true understanding of Islam among Muslims.

Internally, the room given to various minority interpretations of Islam will confuse the general populace who have been properly educated and inculcated with the understanding of Islam based on the well-accepted majority interpretation. It will also finally lead to more division among Muslims, who are already divided along political lines.

But it is equally important to emphasise that Islam, as a
universal religion, already has made itself open and transparent from the very beginning in history.

It is a religion that has declared its truth not to any particular group of audience, but to all mankind.

That Islam grants freedom of belief is very clear, both from the textual and rational basis. The Quran says, “There shall be no compulsion in religion.” (al-Baqarah, (2):256)

In commenting on the verse, Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi said that since God has made truth clear from falsehood, through justification and proof, there should be no coercion in accepting religion.

What is encouraged instead is to “call them with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious.” (al-Nahl, (16):125)

Thus, based on the above verses, Islam spreads through persuasion and arguments, rather than through the sword and coercion.

The principle of persuasion and arguments is equally applicable to Muslims in terms of their own belief in the sense that even they have to ensure that whatever they believe in religion must be based on their own willingness and freedom of choice that is guided by true justification.

Rationally, since man is created with the faculty of reason and is made responsible for what he does, he has to be given freedom to judge based on his knowledge and conscience.

Hence, based on true knowledge, man will choose what is best for him and that which will bring him to certainty.

Hence, it is pertinent to re-
emphasise that Islam is based on knowledge and understanding which makes it reasonably explainable to human beings. The Quran gives strong reminders that one must not stand on something that one has no knowledge of.

We cannot but agree with the fact that being a religion that is meant to be the mercy of all mankind, Islam should be conveyed to all through the best possible ways.

For that matter, Muslims must be ready for dialogues and interactions which are important in maintaining peaceful co-existence.

For such a situation to take place in a good way, it is equally important to note that the understanding of religion among Muslims through proper education is of utmost priority.

By DR MOHD FARID MOHD SHAHRAN.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2018/07/393504/best-way-understand-islam

Malaysia launches first Food-EPI to curb rising NCDs, obesity

Monday, July 23rd, 2018
Malaysia has launched its first Food-Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI) today aimed at curbing the rise of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and obesity in the country. (Pix by Amirudin Sahib)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has launched its first Food-Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI) today aimed at curbing the rise of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and obesity in the country.

Health deputy director-general Datuk Dr Azman Abu Bakar said the Food-EPI will be used as a tool to benchmark the government’s progress in creating healthy food environment against international best practices.

He said awareness on healthy eating must start early and spread among children at the school level.

“While the introduction of effective preventive policies in ensuring healthier food environment is important, the awareness on healthy food consumption needs to be emphasised from the young age.

“A healthy lifestyle plays a major role in creating healthy food environment.

“NCDs and obesity are escalating, especially among children. Thus, with this policy, we can now tackle them.

“We should not just discuss on the type of food for the society but also the industry.

“(As such) The policies need to be implemented effectively at all sectors.” he said.

Taylor University pro vice-chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Professor Dr Anthony Ho said the creation of healthy and supportive food environment play a vital role in NCD prevention.

“Over the last few decades, the prevalence of NCDs in Malaysia has risen at an alarming rate.

“The National Health and Morbidity Survey 2015 reported about 73 per cent of the total deaths in Malaysia were due to NCDs, with half of the number caused by cardiovascular diseases.

“It is our hope that findings from the Food-EPI project will be useful to all relevant stakeholders to assess where the nation stands, where we do well, and where we can improve on. Both soft and hard policies,” he said.

The project is a collective effort of experts and researchers from Malaysia, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand.

By Julia Fiona.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2018/07/393531/malaysia-launches-first-food-epi-curb-rising-ncds-obesity

Specific training to enhance teachers

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

Professional development for educators has been a key enabling factor for transformation in education as it involves transforming their knowledge into practice for the benefit of their learners.

THE emergence of a technology-driven world has raised many challenges to conservative teaching and learning in traditional classrooms.

Coupled with volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) characteristics of current environment, both what is to be learned and how learning or knowledge construction should happen, need serious reconceptualisation.

The notion of 21st century learning can be viewed as an overarching vision of education that many educators are now advocating as a collective response to the emerging challenges.

A growing number of policy makers and educators are united around the idea that students need ‘21st century skills’ to be successful today.

It is exciting to believe that we live in times that are so revolutionary that they demand new and different abilities.

However, these 21st century skills aren’t new.

21st century skills

The likes of critical thinking and problem solving have been components of human progress throughout history. From the development of early tools, agricultural advancements and the invention of vaccines, to land and sea exploration.

So, what is new is the extent of changes in our economy and the world which consequently means, collective and individual success depends on having such skills. The Education Ministry is sensitive to respond to the VUCA situations and challenges.

Strategies are formed to upskill and empower teachers and school leaders, with close collaboration with the Education Performance and Delivery Unit (PADU).

Professional development for educators has been a key enabling factor for transformation in education; it involves transforming their knowledge into practice for the benefit of their learners.

Various aspects must be considered to develop educators’ competencies for 21st century teaching and learning.

These include knowledge, beliefs, and design thinking capacities of the educators and school leaders.

It has been advocated that a professional learning community is a viable way for educators to participate in the co-constructing of knowledge to experience the required transformative changes.

“PADU realises the importance of equipping school leaders and teachers with capacities to deal with emerging challenges.

“We see the necessity of adaptive expertise directed toward solving emerging problems.

“We have a sector in PADU that specifically looks into this which is our Teachers and School Leaders (TSL) sector.

“Instead of converting content knowledge through pedagogical means so that they are accessible to students, we believe teachers in a knowledge building environment must encourage students to construct understanding themselves.

“Guiding students’ sense-making processes is highly discursive and it demands teachers to ask appropriate questions,” says PADU chief executive officer Khadijah Abdullah.

Such adaptive expertise would require teachers to develop the ability to orchestrate learning rather than delivering information in a controlled environment.

Advocates of 21st century skills favour student-centred methods such as problem-based and project-based learning as it allows students to collaborate, work on problems and creatively find its solutions, and engage with the community.

These approaches are widely acclaimed and can be found in any pedagogical method textbook.

However, even its advocates acknowledge that these methods pose classroom management problems for teachers.

When students collaborate, one expects a certain amount of hubbub in the classroom, which could devolve into chaos in less experienced hands.

These methods also demand that teachers be knowledgeable about a broad range of topics and are prepared to make prompt decisions as the lesson plan progresses.

Anyone who has watched a highly effective teacher lead a class by simultaneously engaging with teaching and learning content, managing classrooms and continuously monitoring students progress, knows how intense and demanding the work is.

It is a constant juggling act that involves keeping many balls in the air.

“For change to move beyond the ministry or PADU’s offices and penetrate classrooms, we in PADU understand that professional development is a massive undertaking.

“Most teachers do not need to be persuaded that problem-based learning or project-based learning is a good idea—they already believe that and many have already integrate it in their classrooms.

“What teachers most need now are more robust training and support, including specific and focused training that enhances teachers and school leaders competencies and capacities,” states Dr Ruhaya Hassan, who leads the TSL sector in PADU .

Via the Malaysia Education Blueprint, the Ministry with PADU are looking at facilitating teachers to adapt and adopt these skills, developing the competencies that our teachers may already have but are perhaps quite unsure on how to utilise fully. As for those still being trained in the Ministry’s teachers training colleges, much is being done to develop their comprehension, competencies and ultimately their commitment to 21st century teaching and learning.

This simplicity in seeing things underestimates the challenges in implementing such methods of teaching and learning, hence ignoring the gravity of real issues and problems that come with such implementation.

Teachers need to be prepared and enabled for progress and improvements in education, and in this case, based on the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025, the ministry, together with PADU, have taken various steps in this direction under the Teacher Charter.


Read more @
https://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2018/07/22/specific-training-to-enhance-teachers/#5kVpWABtzkZpq50f.99

Lam Thye: More needed to ensure safety at road works’ sites.

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

PETALING JAYA: More efforts must be done to implement necessary safety measures at road works’ sites, said Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) chairman said the latest tragic accident involving Balakong assemblyman Eddie Ng on Friday could have been avoided if the contractor involved with road works had taken all the necessary safety measures at their work sites.

“My condolences to Ng’s family.

“Following his death at km11.7 of Grand Saga Highway, Cheras, the highway authorities have put up warning signs on road works being carried out,” he said when contacted on Sunday.

“Why wait till a tragedy occur and then taking steps to rectify the situation.  This is unacceptable,” he said.

Selangor Traffic Investigation and Enforcement department chief Supt Azman Shariat had said previously that the risk of road accidents has increased due to the lackadaisical attitude of contractors and workers who have not fully complied with safety guidelines and procedures during road maintenance works.

“I have been raising this subject over the years due to poor safety management of work sites during road maintenance works.

“Whenever road works are being carried out, contractors and workers concerned do not give much thought for public convenience and safety,” Lee said.

Lee said inadequate or poor warning signs and lighting especially at night has made it very hazardous or risky for road accidents.

“As a road user I also want to express my disappointment and dissatisfaction over the manner in which most contractors carry out road digging works and leave the road badly resurfaced after completing their works,” he said.

During the rainy season these work sites pose a danger to the public and accidents have occurred because of the lack of safety measures to warn motorists of the work in progress, he added.

Lee called on the relevant ministry to conduct a thorough review of all safety measures in respect of road construction or maintenance works to prevent more losses of innocent lives on roads.

By Farik Zolkepli
Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/07/22/lee-lam-thye-road-works-safety-must-improve/#ghqj83osjJE0kD0q.99