On target in meeting blueprint goals

Meeting selected education transformation objectives so far paves the way for Malaysia to raise its standards, and be on par with the best globally.

IT took a lot of effort to bring various parties together, but after countless evaluation sessions over the last three years, results from the First Wave of the Malaysia Education Blueprint that began in 2013 now has a report card of its own.

The Education Ministry released the 2015 annual report of the Blueprint, an ambitious undertaking that will transform the education system in three Waves orGelombang, with the first from 2013 to 2015, the second from 2016 to 2020, and the final one from 2021 to 2025. Within the Blueprint are 11 Shifts or Anjakan that will take the country to where it needs to be nine years from now.

The Blueprint contains 100 initiatives of which 25 came under the Blueprints’s First wave.

Based on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals to ensure “education for all”, the First Wave aimed to increase student enrolment, reduce the urban-rural divide, and ensure 100% literacy and numeracy (Linus) rates within the first three years of schooling.

Greater inclusivity

On inclusivity, Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said more students with special needs have been enrolling in national schools.

“The integration of special needs students with mainstream students in daily school activities has been enhanced through the usage of a more holistic and inclusive education model,” he said.

This is done through the Inclusive Education model which saw an increase to 16,899 (23.2%) special needs students in 2015, up from 10,700 (18.4%) students in 2014.

Besides just studying with their mainstream peers in classrooms, students under this model are also included in school events such as the morning assembly and co-curricular activities.

Overall, Mahdzir said the number of special needs students enrolling in schools have increased from 58,006 in 2014 to 72,715 in 2015.

Preschoolers are also not left out of the inclusive education programme.

As of 2015, 46 children have been included in this programme.

There are 860 special needs children in 197 preschool classes nationwide guided by trained special education teachers.

Permata Kurnia director Prof Dr Hasnah Toran, a leading authority on autism in the country, said: “The ministry’s Special Education Division has taken a number of positive steps to improve education for special needs children.

Firstly, they have increased the number of children with disabilities into mainstream schools.

“And they don’t just leave them there,” stressed Dr Hasnah, who is herself a mother of an autistic child.

The integration programme provides for a “shadow aide” (guru pendamping), where a teacher is tasked to be extra watchful over a student. Teachers and parents are also trained on teaching and caring for these children, while other students are taught to be more empathetic to their fellow special needs schoolmates.

The ministry is also trying to improve the quality of special education by introducing Pentaksiran Alternatif Sekolah Rendah (PASR), which is equivalent to UPSR, but designed for students with special needs.

“This will make teachers more accountable and allows us to track a child’s progress,” said Dr Hasnah.

Then, there are the opening of new vocational schools, such as Sekolah Menengah Vokasional Pendidikan Khas Merbok in Kedah in 2015.

by REBECCA RAJAENDRAMSANDHYA MENONLEE CHONGHUI, and OOI MAY SIM.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2016/08/14/on-target-in-meeting-blueprint-goals/

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