Archive for October, 2019

Education Ministry allocates RM48mil to fix teacher shortage, up from RM40mil.

Thursday, October 31st, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: The Education Ministry has allocated a total of RM48mil to address the shortage of teachers at schools across the country, the Dewan Rakyat heard.

Its deputy minister Teo Nie Ching said that the amount was an increase from RM40mil allocated last year for the purpose of hiring replacement teachers.

She said that the problem arose due to the imbalance between the vacancies and the number of graduates from Institute of Teacher Education Malaysia (IPGM).

“For instance, national schools this year needs about 6,000 teachers, but there are only 1,676 graduates from IPGM who will then be placed at various schools across the country by November.

“To address this issue, the ministry has taken the initiative to train interim teachers in February next year and we target that the number will be about 3,000 for national schools and 800 teachers for vernacular schools,” she said in reply to a supplementary question from Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (PH-Setiawangsa) during Question Time.

Nik Nazmi had asked the ministry to explain its move to empower interim teachers as an alternative to address the shortage problem.

She said the allocation this year would be used to hire a total of 21,656 replacement teachers.

“The ministry takes note that the hiring of replacement teachers are needed to ensure that learning and education can continue smoothly,” she said.

“If there are other needs for an increase, it will be considered based on the ministry’s financial position,” she said.

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Education Ministry: 376k PTPTN borrowers have yet to make a single repayment.

Thursday, October 31st, 2019
KUALA LUMPUR: Some 375,925 borrowers of the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) have never made a single repayment to the body, says the Education Ministry.

Its deputy minister Teo Nie Ching said the government had yet to decide whether to reintroduce the travel ban previously imposed on loan defaulters to boost repayment.

“A travel ban was one of the proposals given during the public consultation on (PTPTN’s) new mechanism.

“However, it has yet to be finalised by the Cabinet, whether to reintroduce the travel ban,” she said.

This was in reply to supplementary questions by Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin (PH-Masjid Tanah), who asked about the possibility of reintroducing travel bans on loan defaulters, and to Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff (PAS-Rantau Panjang) on the number of those who had yet to make any repayment.

Teo said PTPTN spent an average of between RM3.7bil to RM4.3bil each year to provide loans to some 180,000 new borrowers and 420,000 existing ones.

“As of Sept, this year, PTPTN has approved RM72.1bil worth of loans to 3.14 million borrowers, of which, RM36.5bil was allocated for students in the public higher education institutes and RM35.5bil for those in the private higher learning bodies.

“From the total, RM57.7bil has been dispersed to borrowers,” she said.

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One in 4 will get stroke, so let’s get people to care for themselves from young

Thursday, October 31st, 2019
WORLD Stroke Day falls on Oct 29 every year.

Stroke is the leading cause of disability worldwide. It is also the second leading cause of death.

One in four will experience a stroke. However, studies show that up to 90 per cent of strokes could be prevented.

The first step is to understand risk factors, such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, alcohol consumption and smoking, while engaging in exercise and eating healthily.

By doing so, we reduce cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. However, health-related behaviours are often the hardest to change.

Even though the government says it is committed to tackling non-communicable diseases (NCD), the delivery of this promise is slow and often reactionary.

Policymakers need to be more creative in incentivising healthy behaviour rather than just concentrating on promoting health.

Thus, we need to change the approach by building new advocacy approaches and partnerships.

As we do not know if we can ride out the NCD epidemic, let’s not forget the younger generation.

We need to instil the importance of a healthy lifestyle at home and school in people.

Then they will be equipped with knowledge and make the effort to take care of themselves from young.

Health is the most valuable asset one can possess, and since information is power, we should empower people with knowledge.

by Cheah C.F..

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Collaboration skills key to successful teams, projects

Thursday, October 31st, 2019
Collaboration enhances students’ learning potential allowing them to take responsibility for group assignments.

THE saying “two heads are better than one” encourages individuals to work together to be more productive, creative and motivated as a team.

In higher learning institutions, students need to work in groups, be it writing a comprehensive paper, completing a project or making an oral presentation.

The ability to work together and accomplish a shared, common goal is known as “collaboration”, which is one of the four Cs in 21st century learning. The other Cs are critical thinking, creativity and communication.

Being involved in a group project helps students to solve complex problems and achieve better results.

“Qualities like teamwork and synergy are best fostered at university,” said Taylor’s University Bachelor of Psychology stream coordinator and lecturer, Pang Chia Yee.

Group tasks are incorporated into most courses and subjects, and are a part of a student’s assessment.

“Group task does not necessarily apply to big projects and graded assignments but it can be carried out in a topic discussion of a subject. Group assignments usually carry 10 to 30 per cent of the overall marks.

“Failure to cooperate and being participative in group tasks can affect a student’s final grade,” she added.


Instructors and lecturers use collaboration to enhance students’ learning potential, allowing them to take responsibility for group assignments with little supervision. Properly structured group projects encourage students to become active rather than passive learners.

Sunway College Foundation in Science and Technology lecturer Liew Jia Shi said most subjects in a semester require at least one group project.

“Working in groups provides an opportunity for students to engage in different modes of learning, shifting from individual learning to learning in a group via effective discussions.

Pang added: “Group tasks hone higher order thinking skills, so that students can apply the skills and knowledge learnt to come up with ideas,”.

By working in a group, students tackle more complex problems than they can on their own.

“For some projects or assignments, one individual will not be able to complete the task in the given time. Hence, group assignments work better in such scenarios.

“Students who are a bit reserved may hesitate to voice their opinions in a lecture but given the opportunity to work in smaller groups, they are more comfortable in participating,” she said.


Sunway Foundation in Science and Technology student Emily Jean Legada, 18, said that she prefers to work in a group rather than handle individual tasks.

“From simple discussions to graded assignments, working in collaboration promotes healthy peer pressure.

“A group project requires everyone to finish their tasks by a certain time and up to a particular standard. This motivates group members to complete tasks on time as well as put in more effort, increasing the overall quality of work.

“Besides, it gives classmates the opportunity to interact with each other outside class,” she said.

Taylor’s Business School final year student, Poh Song Yang, 22, believes that working in a group setting provides a chance to build greater rapport with peers.

“Often, there is a tendency for university students to group with friends that they are comfortable with. I find working with different groups of people empowers me to learn more.

Students engage in different modes of learning, shifting from individual learning at lectures to learning in a group via effective discussions.

“I benefit from diverse perspectives and knowledge while building new friendships,” he said.

Taylor’s University third year Psychology student Nabilah Hilsya Hashim, 21, said: “When done correctly, group assignments help ease the burden as the tasks are usually delegated among the group members.”

Liew added that working collectively with others fosters effective communication.

“Communication is an important skill which students can develop while working closely with others. We live in close proximity with one another because we are social beings dependent on each other.

“Failure in communication means losing the ability to work with each other. In a group assignment, how can you effectively share ideas with everyone? If there is an argument or conflict, how will you address and solve it effectively? These are just some examples which require good communication skills.

“Good communication skills help ensure that your collaboration experience is a positive and productive one.”


While collaborative learning through group projects has the potential to produce better results, some students find working effectively with others an extremely challenging endeavour when social loafing occurs.

Social loafing happens where students do not pull the same weight in contributing to the group yet receive the same grade as others, said Pang.

“The experience can be dreadful when there are social loafers in a group. However, it challenges students to take charge and work out a solution,” she added.

Being in his final year of studies, Poh has had his share of dealing with social loafers which he calls “free-riders”.

“Often times, unequal participation among team members occurs. When this happens, you have to contribute more and spend more time to cover for the free-riders.

“This behaviour can make group work an unpleasant experience for some. Other team members will be left feeling frustrated receiving the same mark as their fellow non-contributing group members despite producing much of the group work.

“In extreme cases where a member is neither responding nor completing the work, I submit a peer evaluation form to the tutor indicating that he/she has not contributed to the group work.

“This results in either lower marks or complete omission of the individual from the group, depending on the tutor’s review.

“When group work does not work out well, it can lead to resentment between group members, thus potentially jeopardise friendship between members. Also, group performance is usually assessed collectively in which case, my marks can be affected as well,” he said.

Nabilah Hilsya said she can be dominant in a group arrangement due to her outgoing nature when she faces an issue of having to deal with passive group mates.

“Some members are of no help when it comes to brainstorming and problem-solving.

“They tend to rely on the dominant members to do the decision-making which can be frustrating as it creates an unbalanced dynamic in the group’s productivity. When this happens, I will help by being active when it comes to encouraging discussions.

“This will avoid negative outcomes such as low productivity, feeling of dissatisfaction with other group members and lost friendships,” she added.

To avoid social loafing, Pang prepares at least two parts of group assignments — individual and group review.

“At the end of a project, I prepare a peer evaluation form for the students to grade their own group members. There are marks allocated for categories like teamwork and commitment.

“If they feel like one group member has been slacking off, they can collectively give a lower mark for that particular person.”


Group projects can help students develop a host of skills that are increasingly important in the professional world.

In the future, there will be a time when working in a group will not only be helpful but also vital. Therefore, collaboration skills should be honed while in college, said Liew.

“One of the key characteristics that employers seek in hires is the ability to work as a team.

“Day-to-day operations to the development of new projects cannot be accomplished without strong collaborations between employees, be it within a department or a joint effort across various departments in an organisation.

“It is important for the students to learn that everyone has their own way of doing something. They have different personalities and personal preferences that we need to respect.

“Through the process of group tasks, students discover their strengths and weaknesses as well as their peers. Learning to address one’s weaknesses, acknowledging others’ strengths while accepting others’ imperfections are the skills that students can gain from collaborating with others,” he said.

Pang prefers to randomly assign students into groups because it challenges them to work with others whom they are not close to.

“Although some students prefer to be in a group of their cliques, working with other students will push them to adapt to a new working dynamic. When students enter the industry, they do not get to choose their colleagues,” she said.

For Nabilah Hilsya, working in groups helps her to hone communication skills in various aspects especially in negotiation, persuasion and compromise which are essential skills in the workplace.

“In the workplace, we are most likely to work with individuals of diverse backgrounds with their own sets of experiences, ideologies, work ethics and personalities.

“Collaboration in such an environment can help enrich the working experience much more as I am able to learn new things along the way. Being a team player is relevant to mould not only an individual but also a high-performing employee,” she said.


“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”, therefore a proper planning process determines the success of a group project, said Liew.

In planning a group project and keeping it on track, there a few collaboration tools that students opt for.

“Google online collaboration tools are especially useful to monitor an assignment,” Emily said.

“Google Docs allow team members to view, edit and work simultaneously on a document without emailing attachments to each other. It permits those with access to update and make changes to documents.

“On a less formal note, WhatsApp group chats and calls are where most of the discussions happen. It is also the platform used by team leaders to check on team members without being physically present at a group discussion.”

Poh also utilises Google Calendar to set group meetings and deadlines.

“I also prefer Telegram as the main communication tool for a group task as we can pin important messages for everyone’s reference and create quick polls in the group chat.

“I also use Trello which is a to-do list app to organise a task and keep team members’ progress in check.”

By Murniati Abu Karim.

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We need to encourage truly multi-racial politics

Thursday, October 31st, 2019
So who is that Adenan-like national leader to calmly carry us forward? FILE PIC

“WE must sink or swim together. When I’m in trouble, you help me, when you are in trouble, we help you.

“This is what the federation is all about.”

So said the late Tan Sri Adenan Satem, Sarawak’s fifth chief minister.

In three short years before he died in early 2017, he inspired awe, admiration and respect across the communal divides with his often-witty one-liners.

Ordinary Sarawakians of all ethnicities wept at his funeral.

It is fair to say that his powerful message of social inclusiveness backed up with decisive action resonated beyond Sarawak and across the entire federation.

It is worth being reminded of Adenan’s unrivalled statesmanship at moments such as now with a certain mood of melancholy currently enveloping the nation.

Recall that Adenan won a fresh landslide mandate in May 2016 and breathed new life into the previously almost moribund Sarawak United People’s Party against a highly energised Sarawak DAP precisely because of his highly authentic message of inclusiveness.

His political victory despite over three uninterrupted decades under his immediate predecessor was the precursor to the New Malaysia we ushered in two years later.

How sadly short-lived the very idea of a New Malaysia appears to be now, with the return of overt racially-tinged discourse in our national life.

What is tragic is not the unsurprising fact that racial sentiments reaffirming such a discourse (from all racially extremist sides, it must be stressed) still exist but how easily they ignite or rather reignite deep passions of mutual loathing and perhaps even hatred of fellow Ma-laysians.

It strikes me as particularly sad how Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s typical and valiant call for those harbouring racial sentiments (and let’s face it, such sentiments are almost second nature to all but perhaps a too-tiny segment of truly enlightened, non-racial Malay-sians) to look inward within our own respective groups rather than to blame “outsiders” is all but drowned out in the very predictable and angry recriminations-following-accusations routine of our racialised political debate.

Reactionary political forces may be as inevitable as night follows day over such early days under New Malaysia but, for the sake of our collective future, there is little choice but for fair-minded, non-political or apolitical Malaysians to firmly resist and deny the reactionaries their admittedly still powerful capacity to suck all the oxygen out of any nascent alternative political narratives emerging.

And exactly what could such narratives possibly be?

The most obvious answer is encouraging truly multi-racial politics and political parties.

However, our record thus far on this score is anything but inspiring or encouraging.

The reason why multi-racial politics is having such a hard time making headway is, perhaps ironically, precisely why racially-based politics still holds such widespread appeal: multi-racialism is viewed by a good cross-section of Malaysians as merely a ruse or even a plot by those representing economically powerful minorities to gain a monopoly on power (political and economic) in the country.

If not true multi-racialism in politics, what then?

A national leader in the mould of Adenan Satem may be a pre-requisite stepping stone in a possibly slow, evolutionary process towards the eventual ideal of non-racial Malaysian politics.

As with Adenan, such a national leader must, almost out of the political necessity of the moment, emerge from a political party currently representing the majority racial group in the country.

Without political buy-in from the majority group, any national political leader espousing all-encompassing inclusiveness, as Adenan did, may not realistically prosper.

The nation, to be sure, faces grave perils, particularly in the economic sphere.

A global trade war rages as nations turn increasingly and worryingly insular and protectionist.

Our high national debt, despite being pared down, is a deadweight which we must do our utmost to break free.

Meanwhile, we may be staring the dreaded “middle-income trap” in the eye unless we can fairly quickly find new
economic drivers that afford us the leap to high-income-nation status.

We can thus ill-afford being stuck in the rut of endless political navel-gazing, held hostage to a narrative which cries out for some serious updating, at minimum.

The world will otherwise likely just pass us by. We either sink or swim together, as Adenan reminded us.

So, who is that Adenan-like national leader to calmly carry us forward?

Irony of ironies, it may be the one who acted as the midwife to New Malaysia. Yes, Dr Mahathir. But, of course, we all know that he is 94 years old. A Malaysian Dilemma indeed!

By John Teo.

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1,000 turtle eggs seized in Sandakan

Thursday, October 31st, 2019
SANDAKAN: Sabah Marine police on Tuesday foiled an attempt to smuggle 1,000 turtle eggs believed to be for local consumption  during a raid at Mile 3, here.
Sabah Fourth Regional Marine Police Commander ACP Mohamad Pajeri Ali said the seizure was made based on intelligence and surveillance.
“During an inspection at about 3pm, we found a box with black plastic bags containing the smuggled turtle eggs.
“All the 1,000 turtle eggs are worth about RM2,000 and suspected to be smuggled from a neighbouring country before being marketed here,” he said, Tuesday.

However, Pajeri said the boat skipper suspected to be the owner of the turtle eggs jumped into the sea to escape arrest upon realising the arrival of police in the area.

He said all the seizure were taken to the Sandakan Marine Police operation base for documentation process before being hand over to the Wildlife Department here for further action.

The case is being investigated under Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997.

By: Mardinah Jikur.

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MPWS: Need to educate people on immunisation

Thursday, October 31st, 2019
KOTA KINABALU: Vaccination awareness programmes are necessary in the State so that the public, especially parents will realise the important role they play in reaching full immunisation.
To educate on the safety and efficacy of vaccination as well as dangers of remaining unvaccinated, Sabah Women’s Advisory Council (MPWS) Health Committee organised an Immunisation Awareness Seminar at Wisma Wanita here, Wednesday.
MPWS Chairman, Datuk Noni Said when officiating the seminar said the programme is vital in providing knowledge and awareness to the public on the importance of immunisation.
She said immunisation is a simple and effective way of protecting children from serious diseases and it not only protects the child from deadly diseases but also keep other children safe by eliminating or greatly decreasing dangerous diseases that can be spread from child to child.

“When children are not vaccinated, they are at risk of catching diseases than can spread to other children in their play groups, school and communities, including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated.

“I hope the people who participated in this seminar will go back and spread the awareness on immunisation to their families and friends in achieving health priorities through vaccination,” she said.
Noni said immunisation is also important to reduce the risk of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks, especially when the disease comes from the unvaccinated immigrants in the State.
“When we are exposed to a disease in vaccine form, our immune system is able to build up antibodies that protect them from contacting the disease.

From my non-medical view, even if we get the disease it would not be as bad as the one who did not get immunisation,” she said.

Meanwhile, Sabah Health Department Chief Assistant Director, Dr Prabakaran Dhanaraj said according to  statistics, there are 14 people in the State who have refuse to get vaccinated, from Jan to June, this year.

He said that many of the people are well-educated and they also appear to be victims of widespread misinformation.

“Anti-vaccination has been going around for about 100 years and every time they get new information, they tend to make it an issue. It seems that the more educated the person is, the more they are easily convinced. It should be the other way around.
“People are more informed now, but some of them decided not to get vaccinated,” he said.
He also said the State Government needs to have a policy on immunisation for refugees and immigrants.
“Most of the immigrants in Sabah do not get vaccinated and they are working here. So we need to find solutions for this so that they will not affect other people if there is a disease outbreak coming from them.
Prabakaran said vaccine is the cheapest form of prevention against diseases and deaths.

He said the government incurs an immunisation cost of RM15 million to RM20 million a year.

“We need to encourage people to get vaccinated, it is free for Malaysians,” he said.By: Ottey Peter.

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Journalists simply have to do more: Editor

Tuesday, October 29th, 2019

“Today, journalists have to contend with social media which has changed media consumption habits in a big way….,” said James.

Kota Kinabalu: Journalists regardless of whether in print or broadcast must be willing to do more than what is required of them if they wish to stay relevant in a media landscape that keeps changing, a session at the recent Word Power event held here heard.

“Already the public is regarding social media where they get much of the latest news now as the alternative media.

“We have to make sure it stays as the alternative media but not become the substitute media,” warned Daily Express Chief Editor James Sarda, JP.

James said competition used to be among peers until CNN pioneered 24-7 reporting with the first Gulf War in Iraq in 1990.  Soon others followed as people expected to be briefed hourly on the latest happenings.

“Then came Cable TV and Satellite TV broadcasts until the Internet again changed the parameters again.

“Today, journalists have to contend with social media which has changed media consumption habits in a big way, resulting in many newspapers worldwide downsizing or going out of business due to failure to evolve and stay ahead of the changing trends,” he said.

He recalled his visit to the Sharp Corporation headquarters in Japan in 2000 and the Chairman proudly telling the visiting journalists how the company’s employees get to know all the latest news on a digital screen installed inside the lifts while waiting to take them to their respective floors every morning.

“That was in 20 years back and handphones were 2G and had not yet transformed into smartphones. Now hand-held gadgets offer a window to the latest happenings and many of you here must be  right now as I speak aware of what’s happening locally and abroad via watsapp, facebook, twitter, etc.

“Information is king. We (traditional media) used to enjoy that role but it has been taken away from our hands,” he said.

James likened what the traditional media experienced post-2000 to the invention of the printing press by Gutenberg that began producing Bibles by the thousands so much so that priests in churches in 1800s lost their monopoly over the Word of God.

“People realised they knew what God said, including about two nudists being expelled from the Garden of Eden over an apple incident, without having to attend Sunday Mass.

“Similarly, we have lost the monopoly over information to social media,” he said. This has given rise to a new phenomenon, i.e. that of Citizen Journalists who need no journalism training except to be at the right place at the right time armed with a smartphone.

“What happened next is that terrorists took it to the next level by deciding to live-stream their acts as in the bombing of churches in Sri Lanka and the mosque massacre in New Zealand,” said James, who has a Masters in Journalism from Cardiff University and is a Chevening scholar.

“Thus the information including images went straight from the perpetrator (terrorist/s) to the consumer via Facebook without needing a journalist to interpret and say what happened,” he said, adding this begs the question of whether journalism degrees from universities are relevant or useful anymore.

On the bright side, James said the traditional media has been regaining lost ground due to the fake news phenomena that have become a headache for governments and authorities worldwide due to the public’s desire for cheap, unsolicited and unverified information.

“It (fake news) is now seen as perhaps the best thing to happen to journalism as it makes the public appreciate the role of bona fide journalists even more”.

In fact, he said, even what constitutes fake news is not fully understood and its meaning differs to different people.

He said much fake news only comes into play during elections and cited the victory of Donald Trump where fake news originating from Serbia helped Trump secure millions of crucial Christian votes by falsely reporting that the Pope approved of his candidacy.

James said because of these recent developments in the industry, he would not advise youngsters to make journalism their first-choice career unless they really think it is their calling.

“It still remains one of the few professions that offer a fantastic opportunity to contribute to society meaningfully. This alone should be a motivation for those who wish to do so.

“But once you are in it, become the best journalist that you can ever be. Reporting not only on given or scheduled assignments but undertaking research-based work on your own that help the community understand themselves better or research into events that had an impact on their lives.”

He said there are lots of opportunities to do this in Sabah because there is a lot about the State that even Sabahans don’t know about because it is not in the school syllabus.

He cited the Malaysia Agreement, Kinabalu Guerillas which was the only local untrained armed resistance in Malaysia to take on the Japanese and defeat them temporarily in Jesselton (now KK) during World War Two and the Death March where close to 2,000 Allied soldiers died after being forced to march barefoot and without food by the Japanese from Sandakan to Ranau as examples.

“These are stories that are still not fully told. The information is all out there if you can find it and the Daily Express never misses an opportunity to do so,” he said, citing the Archives page that appears every Saturday which highlights events that matter to Sabahans who were not born then.

“Journalists can take on the extra role by recording the stories of those still alive so that even if the history books and government failed in their duty, the information will not be lost,” he said.

He said similar work which the paper was involved in was researching and producing evidence about Sabah’s Kinabatangan being the subject of the world’s very first wildlife documentary following visits by pioneer Hollywood couple Martin and Osa Johnson in 1920 and 1935.

James has won many journalism awards including three coveted national-level main prizes for reporting by the Malaysian Press Institute (MPI).

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Let’s move from 3R to 7R

Monday, October 28th, 2019
Traffic congestion on roads and bridges can be reduced if we practise the ‘7R’ concept. – NSTP/File pic

Notwithstanding the current cooler spell, Malaysia is hotter than ever before, and the trend shows no signs of reversing to the temperatures enjoyed by Malaysians over the last few decades.

This fact was also acknowledged by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in his speech at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York last month.

He had urged the global community to pay serious attention to combating extreme climate change. He also highlighted the importance of survival initiatives, such as alternative shelter and food production, in case of a calamity.

Indeed, a majority of countries are experiencing the drastic effects of climate change, as evident from UNGA where almost all leaders brought up the issue.

Most climate scientists agree that human activity is the leading cause of global warming, which in turn triggers climate change. Previously, the natural emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) was the most significant factor in global warming as it formed the largest concentration in the Earth’s atmosphere compared with other greenhouse gases (GHG).

However, human activity stemming from industry, energy production, transportation using carbon-based fuels, and the sum of agricultural activities, food production, land-use and forestry now contribute up to 29 per cent (i.e. more than one-fourth) of the total global GHG emissions.

In this regard, the world needs to shift its attention to sustainable resource management and development practices to curb climate issues.

The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy has taken place in many developed and developing nations, reducing their carbon footprint.

Among the progressive measures has been the increase in facilities for renewable energy, including solar farms, wind turbines, biomass and hydroelectric plants — creating a sustainable “energy mix” ecosystem. In addition, “energy efficiency” and “energy conservation” practices were also introduced.

Energy efficiency requires consumers to invest in equipment that can operate with less energy for the same or more load, while energy conservation requires consumers to reduce the use of electrical appliances.

These measures can save natural resources from depletion, keep the environment free from pollution, and save some money in the long run.

The best environmentally friendly activities include the 3R practice of “reduce, reuse, and recycle”. Some might extend this idea up to seven (7R) in a circular flow — rethink, refuse, reduce, repurpose, reuse, recycle and rot.

These ideas are commonly applied to daily products or consumables, but the concept can also be applied to other human activities such as transportation. For instance, first, we should rethink whether or not it is necessary to drive fast and recklessly. Driving fast will consume more fuel, release more carbon and might put other people at risk. As a result, the second step would be to refuse to make it a practice.

Third, we should reduce our driving activity by prioritising what is important or at least make the most out of a single trip by accomplishing multiple tasks. Additionally, instead of using a car for a single purpose, a car-sharing practice will make better use of its capacity; this can be considered as repurposing or reusing.

This, in turn, will reduce traffic congestion and pollution, while adding value to the car owner. Finally, as the car reaches a certain mileage, we must plan whether to restore, sell or recycle the vehicle.

Ideally, the process of managing resources will form a closed-loop system; this circularity is aimed at eliminating waste and promoting the continual use of resources — a model known as the circular economy. Unlike the traditional linear economy with the “take, make and dispose” approach that lets waste end up in landfills, the circular economy adopts the “regenerative” approach where “all waste should be food for another process”, inspired from the natural system.

It will mainly involve “reuse, remanufacturing, and recycling” processes. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation paper, “Completing the Picture: How the Circular Economy Tackles Climate Change”, switching to renewable energy could cut GHG by 55 per cent, and the circular economy could reduce the remaining 45 per cent emissions mainly from the making of products and food production.

In Muslim countries, the concept of the circular economy has been a subject of rigorous discussion especially by those in the Islamic finance circle. Several Islamic concepts in relation to managing resources and the ecology, such as mizan (universal balance), miqdar (proportion), khalifah (stewardship) and maqasid (purposeful use) are supportive of the circular approach.

These Islamic principles can serve as catalysts, among others, to encourage the Muslim community to live in a sustainable system, thus contributing to the efforts to address the climate issue at the global level.

By Dr Shahino Mah Abdullah.

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Time for STREAMLESS education

Monday, October 28th, 2019
With streamless education, there will be an increased tendency towards the convergence of knowledge. NSTP/ASYRAF HAMZAH

THE issue of ‘streamless’ education or more exactly its ‘delay’ had reared its ugly head recently.

There has yet to be an official announcement but comments about it abound.

Some are positive, others are more cautious – typical when moving into unfamiliar territory

‎However, the fact remains, this is the future as we go beyond 2020

By then, the shelf-life of knowledge will be no more than 24 hours, according to one study.

One must be able to take advantage of the ‘fleeting’ knowledge before it disappears.

Meaning to say that the approach to learning, and indeed education itself, will demand a new quantum shift.

It is said that learners who can go beyond their areas of interest will benefit the most.

They are better prepared in connecting the dots and will be more informed with the knowledge in hand.

Thus the approach must be transdisciplinary, or at least multidisciplinarity in nature.

Put it another way, it is ‘streamless’ education where knowledge can be better understood in one grasp, especially when looking for a solution to a complex problem.

Climate change is one example where no one discipline or expertise can provide satisfactory, what more comprehensive answers.

As the world gets entangled in multiple chaotic crises, more and more isolated singular disciplines will be deficient in providing ‘real’ solutions.

The contrary is deemed to be more relevant instead.

It means that there will be an increasing tendency towards the convergence or unity of knowledge.

The latter is a term introduced by a renowned sociobiologist, Edward Wilson, through his book Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge (1998).

He noted that the ongoing fragmentation of knowledge is an artifact of scholarship, notably of sciences and humanities.

It is not the reflection of the real world that skewed education into what it is today, being compartmentalised into rigidly siloed disciplines.

That being the case, we need to reorient things so that knowledge can be better connected and stays relevant.

The more holistic the combination of disciplines is, the more wholesome the knowledge, making its application more widely acceptable.

This is because it allows for what is called ‘lifewide’, which is to learn by linking as many dots as possible.

In a sense, it is the opposite of ‘lifelong’ learning, which concerns more the depth of knowledge.

Graphically, education can be represented as an ‘inverted’ T with the horizontal bar representing ‘lifewide’ learning as the foundation

The ‘lifelong’ dimension of learning is represented by the vertical bar.

Putting the two together in the ‘right’ proportion creates ‘lifeworthy’ learning, as described by the 3Ts; total, transformational and transversal, the overarching outcome of education per se.

During the ISIS Praxis conference in Kuala Lumpur last week, similar issues were also deliberated on.

The general consensus was that education must be carried out in an ongoing, holistic and integrated way.

Not as fragmented components.

This incidentally is what the National Education Philosophy (NEP) of 1996 advocated as spelt out in the Education Act.

It only boggles the mind why this was not duly adopted to the letter like in Japan and Finland.

This must therefore be urgently revisited within the proper NEP framework.

Education in Malaysia is deemed to be ‘distorted’ as suggested by a respected educationist.

He said this was due to the bureaucratic (over)regulation that limited its flexibility‎ and autonomy for so many decades.

Added to this is the absurdity of using the Key Performance Indicators to make siloed evaluations that further isolated the various academic disciplines.

STEM is a good example where it is totally devoid of the ‘humanitarian’ dimensions.

Students are then subjected to ranking exercises to measure the quality of education.

Needless to say such conventional and outdated approaches are in fact barriers to the concept of transdisciplinarity and unity of knowledge.

They form part of the artifacts that must be dealt with.

So the suggestion to ‘delay’ streaming until the ‘right’ moment has its own merits.

To hurriedly impose it may not be as productive as intended.

And it would delay Malaysia’s support of the Sustainable Development Goals that demand the nurturing of the 3Ts mindset.

By Dzulkifli Abdul Razak.

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