M’sia needs strong leadership badly

January 21st, 2020
Malaysian leadership has lost focus for many years now but our political leaders have chosen to ignore it. The result? The 2020 “Malaysian dream” for 1st world status has been shattered and lost in the wilderness. It is now 2030 but we are no better off than 5 or 10 years ago.

Unless political leaders can wake up from the dangers of “race and religion”, our country will stagnate in middle income or possibly worse, regress back into 3rd world like some African countries. Even some African countries are awake and are beginning to roar with Chinese assistance. The Asian Tigers [Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea] have left us far behind in their dusts. They are now much better off than us in income, standard of living and almost every economic and social endeavours. Vietnam, the late comer kid, will overtake us like Ferrari vs Proton Saga soon.

Weak leadership is causing Malaysia’s lack of economic progress.

Becoming an Asian Tiger was our much-heralded ambition, but our leaders have lost direction and will power.

This Vision 2020 has been blinded by ineffectual “political cataract” in both eyes. How about Government Transformation Programme? This was born dead.

Though GTP was an excellent concept and would have elevated Malaysia into 1st world status, weak, aimless and amoral leadership was subsumed by greed/corruption. Is there hope for New Malaysia and Shared Prosperity 2030? Like the old saying, “once bitten twice shy”, we are into the 3rdh time of being bitten, not twice as New Malaysia is fading fast. Shared Prosperity 2030 would not become our 4th time being bitten. Things just cannot improve in Malaysia. Political leaders playing “race and political” game, are preventing Malaysia from achieving 1st world economic progress and destroying our dream of better lives.

Weak leadership and our PETRO$$$$$?

What have these countries in common—-Norway, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait? Excellent Management of Petrowealth. Norway tops the world’s best managed sovereign wealth from oil revenue. Why does midget Brunei have a larger sovereign fund and 2 2 times larger GDP per capita than Malaysia? Why Malaysia is below par with Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, all of which have no petro$$$, little or no natural resources? Why the citizens of these countries can enjoy much better standard living than Malaysians? The answer is simple—Their citizens are blessed with superior economic leadership.

From day 1 when Malaysia has discovered oil till now—-our revenue/profit from oil must have been in the trillions. When oil prices were sky high, Petronas’ annual profits were more than RM100 billion. Where are all these petro$$$ windfalls? What has happened to them? Why leaders of previous BN and PH governments are reluctant and/or have no courage to investigate how Petro$$$ have been used.

Sabah has produced oil and gas for more than 30 years. Why is Sabah still one of the worst-off states? Why are so many Sabahans still living below poverty line? Why so many Sabahans have migrated to KL, Singapore and Johore to seek jobs and better salary? All these are manifestations of poor, very poor economic leadership.

Weak leadership and chance of better future economic performance?

History is a great teacher. Projecting into the future, I have grave doubt that Malaysia’s economic performance will experience dramatic improvement or can catch up with our erstwhile Asian Tiger cousins. Tun M has said Malaysia can be an Asia Tiger again. Likely we shall remain a kitten with stunted growth, unable to realise our full potentials.

https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2019/10/527408/msia-will-roar-asian-tiger-again-wkb-2030

Weak leadership in PH government.

The pre GE14 PH coalition that the voters have elected into government has morphed into a different animal. Most glaringly, it has forgotten that Malaysians have given support PH on a non-racial/religious platform. Its platform was on good governance, better economic management, inclusive policies and stronger economic performance. Unfortunately, it has fallen head over heels into the opposition’s race/religion trap. To brush up its race/religion credentials, the PH government has tumbled below par on being unable to produce meaningful economic policies that can put Malaysia on to the path of achieving Asian Tiger status.

Many PH ministers lack quality leadership as is obvious from the lack of definitive models/policies at the respective ministries, their embarrassing U turns announcements, neither here nor there “may-be” or “may consider” statements without follow proper ups. Quite amateurish!

Unable to appoint a new minister of education is very worrying. It cannot make sense for 94 year Tun M to take on the huge education ministry without sacrificing his focus on bigger national issues.

Weak leadership and Malaysia’s present political ambience.

Because of its unfocused leadership the PH government has been found wanting in its ability to change the attitude of bumiputras from economic/financial dependency to self-independency. It lacks political courage to convert the vast majority of bumiputra to face economic reality of competitiveness, hard work and necessity of saving.

Instead, it has embarked on an easy way out by continuing the “bantuan” policy of the previous government, albeit under different slogans. Its implicit condone of race supremacy, demand for dignity, birth rights to economic opportunities and not having to compete or work for it will continue to make Malaysia an economic laggard. So long as it refuses to face the fact that no country can achieve economic greatness without recognising basic economic realities, Malaysia will remain an economic kitten—-never an Asian Tiger.

The PH government has exhibited little political leadership and courage to change the present toxic political ambience. It has become a follower to opposition’s brand of race/religion politics. Sad, very sad indeed.

Weak leadership and fondness of shifting blame.

Strong, trustworthy leadership can lead the people to achieve strong economic performance by appropriate motivation, supported by a strong economic direction, fair policies and equitable distribution of wealth. Malaysian leaders have failed badly in this respect due to corruption, self-interest, cronyism and ineffective implementation. The leaders have no moral high ground to admit their failures. To shield themselves from political back lash from their own supporters, they have to use the bogeymen of blames on others to justify their own leadership failures. And encourage them to demand for more privileges under the pretext of enabling to catch up.

Weak leadership and quality of education.

It is in education that the worst type of weak leadership can be seen in the previous and present government. [a] Failure to recognize meritocracy has produced a whole bunch of mediocratic academics who can only churn out poorly qualitied graduates and a very large pool of unemployable and unemployed graduates.

Then put the blame on employers for refusing to employ them. [b] Fondness for quantity and failure to produce quality has produced square peg graduates for round holes in the economy. UPM [University Putra Malaysia] was very proud to produce at one time 632 PHd graduates which must be the largest in the world and which has attracted nothing but ridicules. UPM has become a joke. Sad to say, UPM is deluding in pride of this laughable PHd numbers!

Without competition and meritocracy, the Malaysian education system can never produce world class innovation.

Malaysia’s present education model will never equip Malaysians to achieve economic greatness.

The PH government has an unique opportunity to overhaul the poor education system but has failed to do so up to now. It cannot even implement teaching of maths and science in English which is T M’s favourite objective.

Malaysia in urgent need of fresh, strong leadership. It is quite easy to see weak leadership that has enveloped Malaysia inside a jumbled up, aimless economic model. Too many Malaysians, especially those wanting more privileges and bantuan, are being trapped and unable to escape.

All the talks of becoming Asian Tiger again, race supremacy and demands for economic dignity are just hot air. There must be strong leaders who can lead Malaysians to do away with all these economic ills and superfluous stuffs. They must roll up their sleeves, go for hard work and in education, learn the difficult stuff like maths, science, engineering and technology, adopt strong values of honesty, self-discipline, self-reflections and acceptance of all races/religions.

Let me reiterate—-the PH government is a not a bad government. All that it needs to do is—-

[a] Put its act together.

[b] Select ministers with genuine capabilities. PH’s good talents are being ignored.

[c] PH component parties must settle down and stop trying to out manoeuvre each other.

[d] Be leaders of all Malaysians.

[e] Small boy should not pick fights with giants like India and China—-bound to get the nose bloody.

[f] Most importantly, fulfil your GE14 promises if you want to win GE15.

By: Datuk John Lo

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/read/3467/m-sia-needs-strong-leadership-badly/

Having quality teachers crucial

January 21st, 2020

THE cornerstone of a truly successful nation in the 21st century characterised by the emergence of a knowledge-based economy is undoubtedly its human capital, which, in turn, is greatly shaped by its education system. As aptly stated by American political economist Lester Thurow, “In the twenty-first century the education and skills of the work force will be the dominant competitive weapon”.

Hence, a high-performing school system is crucial for transforming Malaysia into a high-income and sustainable economy. We also need to empower and “future proof” young Malaysians to thrive in the rapidly changing and disruptive workplace of the future that will be the result of the fourth industrial revolution.

We don’t need foreign experts to tell us what ails our school system and how to go about transforming it. What we need is to face stark reality, learn from our past shortcomings, and to muster the political will to institute much needed education reforms. We have sacrificed meritocracy and quality teaching for mediocrity, politics and an overdose of social re-engineering. Failure to transform our school system based upon systemic and brutal change will erode our nation’s global competitiveness, organisational productivity and individual well-being.

The fact that our school system needs immediate and drastic transformation is clearly evident. In the 2015 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, Malaysia (Form Two students) scored merely 465 in Mathematics and 471 in Science as compared to Singapore that scored 621 and 597 respectively. According to the Programme for International Students Assessment 2015 report, Malaysian students ranked 50th out of 72 countries in terms of reading proficiency, 45th in Mathematics and 47th position for Science, all below the corresponding OECD mean scores. Malaysia’s quality of school education even lags behind that of Vietnam (a lower-income nation) by a wide margin.

English proficiency has also deteriorated over time and this is one of the causes of the unemployment (besides a lack of soft skills and the required technical competence) of more than 200,000 Malaysian graduates.

Another area of grave concern is teacher quality: 46pc of principals report a lack of qualified teaching staff as a constraint in enhancing teaching quality. In 2011, researchers from Akademi Kepimpinan Pengajian Tinggi observed 125 lessons in 41 schools across Malaysia. They found that 50pc of the lessons were delivered unsatisfactorily with a focus on passive and surface learning rather than on active and deep learning, which are necessary to cultivate higher order thinking skills in students.

In short, the products of our school system are generally ill-prepared either for higher education or work. Our students lack critical and creative thinking skills because our education system promotes conformity and uniformity. Worse still, they have been “conditioned” to be spoon-fed.

The first step in transforming our school system is to determine the desired outcomes of Malaysian education: “What kind of knowledge, skills, values and personal traits should students have to enable them to thrive in a dynamic workplace and to function productively in society as ethical citizens?” To my mind, Malaysian students should possess adequate disciplinary knowledge (conceptual understanding); be self-confident and achievement-oriented; persuasive and effective communicators; demonstrate integrity and a strong work ethic; be fast, self-directed, self-reflective and lifelong learners; be resilient; demonstrate good interpersonal and teamwork skills; be good problem solvers with analytical and creative minds; be computer and information literate; and be productive and responsible citizens with inter-cultural tolerance.

Towards this end, schools should provide a high quality, broad-based and holistic education with emphasis on cognitive intelligence, emotional intelligence, moral intelligence, spiritual intelligence, and physical well-being.

Learning in Malaysian schools should shift from rote learning to conceptual understanding (deep learning) and real-world applications (authentic learning); from classroom learning to lifelong learning; from students as passive learners to active learners; from one-size fits all to customized learning; and from lower-order thinking to higher-order thinking. In the 21st century school, teachers need to function primarily as facilitators of learning and mentors and not merely as dispensers of knowledge.

Second, we need to recruit teachers based strictly on meritocracy and certain core attributes such as willingness to learn, strong communication and interpersonal skills, and being passionate about teaching. Hiring proper candidates into the teaching profession is extremely important as teacher quality is the most significant school-based factor in determining student outcomes.

Research findings show that over 30pc of the variance of school student achievement resulted from professional characteristics of teachers, teaching skills and classroom climate. Indeed, students placed with high-performing teachers are likely to progress three times faster as those placed with low-performing teachers. Simply put, the quality of a system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers.

In this regard, the world’s top-performing school systems recruit teachers from the top third of their academic cohort, pay good starting salaries, and undertake high quality teacher professional development programmes to ensure effective instruction in the classroom. Take heed that poor selection decisions can result in up to 40 years of poor teaching.

Third, we must ensure effective school leadership as the quality of school leaders is the second biggest school-based factor in determining student outcomes, after teacher quality. Effective school leaders can raise student outcomes by as much as 20pc to 25pc. Transformational school leaders have a strong focus on instructional leadership and are visionary, inspirational, change-adept and, more importantly, they nurture a high-performance school culture which brings out the best in others.

Fourth, it is important to adopt an integrated and systemic approach – and not take a piece-meal approach – towards transforming schools. School transformation efforts must encompass clear student outcomes; a broad-based and holistic curriculum; competent teacher recruitment and development; effective school governance; varied and student-centric instructional strategies; optimisation of e-learning, appropriate assessment and feedback, and a high-performance school culture committed to excellence and continuous improvement.

Fifth and finally, both the Education Ministry and schools must ensure that there is a constructive alignment between learning outcomes, teaching and learning activities, and the assessment tasks.

To conclude, our nation’s future and the wellbeing of its citizens are greatly dependent on high quality education in our schools. Take heed that no amount of education reforms will bring about the desired outcomes without first having quality and dedicated teachers, high-performing school leaders, and a nurturing school climate that brings out the best in both students and teachers.

By: Dr Ranjit Singh Malhi.

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/read/3468/having-quality-teachers-crucial/

Sabah tops free school breakfast list

January 21st, 2020

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah has the most number of schools selected for the improved Supplementary Food Programme (RMT) which kicked off nationwide Monday.

Priority is given to schools with the highest percentage of B40 in each state and taking into account all types of schools.

A total of 100 schools across the country have been selected for the programme, of which 13 schools involving 5,423 pupils are in Sabah.

State Education Director Mistirine Radin, while making her rounds monitoring the breakfast distribution at SK Kebagu noted there is still room for improvement.

“There is no problem in terms of food preparation, only the eating place. I believe the school will improve on this, perhaps add more chairs and tables for the pupils to have their breakfast in one place,” she said.

She also stressed the need to instil hygienic practices such as washing hands before meals. “Maybe we can also get pupils involved in leading prayers before every meal.

“The programme aims to provide nutritious supplements to pupils from low-income families with a monthly income of RM1,180 and below,” she said.

Pupils were seen enjoying their meal of nasi lemak, banana and a cup of hot milo. Among them was Primary Six Nurul Qharriah Pormin who thanked the government for providing the meal.

“My breakfast is usually bread or biscuits and a hot drink. It’s nice to be able to have something different,” said Nurul who comes from a family of fishermen.

The excitement was shared by two other Primary Four pupils, Aliff Naufal Azri and Mohd Shanil Mohd Noh. “It’s nice being able to have this delicious breakfast with our friends at school,” they quipped.

The schools in Sabah are SK Kebagu in Kota Kinabalu with 415 eligible pupils, SK Kulambai Kota Belud (401), SK Tandek Kota Marudu (451), SK St James (M) Kudat (425), SK Pinggan-Pinggan Pitas (403), SK Binsulok Beaufort (250), SK Kundasang Ranau (419), SK Penangah Telupid (335), SK Bukit Garam Kinabatangan (432), SK Kabogan Semporna (450), SK Umas-Umas Tawau (546), SK Nambayan Tambunan (283) and SK Pekan Nabawan Pensiangan (613).

The free breakfast programme was proposed by former Education Minister, Maszlee Malik last year to ensure that pupils have a nutritious meal to start their day.

The proposal, however, was not well received by some, including non-governmental organisation Community Empowerment Initiative Sabah, which pointed out in October last year that repairs on dilapidated schools are more urgent than free school breakfasts.

On Jan 16, Prime Minister cum acting Education Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, announced that the Ministry will proceed with the programme for national schools from Jan. 20.

The programme which initially aimed to benefit 2.7 million pupils is estimated to cost between RM800 million and RM1.67 billion and now only for eligible pupils from the low-income group.

The cost of implementing the programme is RM2.50 and RM3 per pupil in Sarawak, Sabah and Labuan. Breakfast time is between 7am and 7.30am for the morning session and 12.30pm and 2pm for afternoon session (except Friday at regular intervals).

Meanwhile, SK Kebagu Parent-Teacher Association Chairman, Marzuki Utuhmam hoped that every pupil attending the morning session would be included as well.

“We are told that only those eligible for the programme will be getting the assistance. However it would be best if all morning session pupil are listed because some might not have breakfast at home,” he said.

According to him, almost 90 per cent of parents in Kg Kebagu are fishermen. The school has 644 pupils but only 415 are eligible for the programme.

Meanwhile, Mistirine said influenza issues among school students is still under control in Sabah.

“As of Friday, we reported 12 pupils from eight primary schools across Sabah to the Education Ministry,” she said, adding that all are being treated in the hospital.

Also present was Kota Kinabalu District Education Officer, Tah Nia Jaman, and SK Kebagu Headmaster, Mazlan Osman, among others.

By: Sherell Jeffrey

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news/146560/sabah-tops-free-school-breakfast-list/

Free breakfast scheme for ‘deserving pupils’ lauded

January 17th, 2020

PETALING JAYA: Parents welcome the decision by the government to provide free breakfast to deserving pupils in 100 schools.

Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education chairman Mak Chee Kin said it would be quite a heavy financial burden to provide free meals to all primary school pupils.

He said those who qualify for the living aid should receive the free breakfast.

“I would also propose that instead of free food, these children should be given cash vouchers to be used in the school canteen for them to buy food like any other child, ” he said, adding that this would remove the stigma of being identified as “poor” among the pupils.

Mak was responding to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s decision to provide free breakfasts for “deserving pupils”.

Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia honorary secretary Tunku Munawirah Putra said the free breakfast programme, which begins on Monday, was the same as the Supplementary Food Programme (RMT), and that stringent guidelines need to be set up and enforced.

“It is a fully subsidised meal plan for pupils from poor families, ” she said, referring to the RMT.

She cautioned that the right vendors need to be chosen and continuously monitored to ensure the standard of the food provided will be maintained throughout the programme.

“To provide breakfast to everyone means even those who are rich and (can afford to have breakfast at home) will get them too. So, it’s not fair, ” said Dr Mahathir, who is also acting Education Minister, after officiating at the Balai Islam Complex at Tenaga Nasional Bhd headquarters in Bangsar.

Former education minister Dr Maszlee Malik had previously stated that the breakfast scheme would be for all pupils regardless of their parents’ income status.

The programme was initially for all 2.7 million pupils in government and government-aided primary schools for both morning and afternoon sessions.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/01/17/free-breakfast-scheme-for-deserving-pupils-lauded

Move to curb child marriage

January 17th, 2020

PUTRAJAYA: The government has outlined seven objectives, 17 strategies and 58 programmes and actions to address issues of child marriage through a five-year strategic plan.

The strategic plan will tackle six major causes of underage marriage.

Among the six causes identified are poverty, lack or no access to reproductive health education, lack of access to education and society’s stigma that marriage is the best choice to solve problems.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the plan would not merely tackle the causes of underage marriage, but also indirectly help to overcome other social issues affecting families and children.

She said, for instance, the social stigma that child marriage was the best solution to address unwanted pregnancies must be removed.

“Underage marriage will have a profound effect on the health of a teenager and there are studies that found that girls aged between 15 and 19 who are pregnant face a higher risk of death during pregnancy or birth.

“We believe that if we can address the causes, the issue of child marriages can be eradicated, ” said Dr Wan Azizah, during the launch of the 16-page document at her ministry here.

The Women, Family and Community Development Minister said the societies need to change this mindset, as underage marriages would not solve problems, but in fact, could lead to even more troubles.

“In the past, underage marriages were practised because the socio-economic situation, education opportunities and the realities of life at that time made it normal.

“But today, education opportunities are better, technology is more advanced, the socio-economic outlook is more positive and there is higher awareness that children deserve the chance to expand their potential.

“With this, child marriages should not at all be the option or solution to any problems, ” she said.

Dr Wan Azizah also said the government would continue to publicise the existence of shelters for pregnant teens to prevent baby dumping cases.

“It is important that those who are pregnant but are not married do not dump their babies.

“We want them to be aware that there is a support system for them and that child marriage is not the solution, ” she said.

Dr Wan Azizah added that among the initiatives in the plan was strengthening the existing socio-economic and outreach support programmes, increase the minimum marriage age to 18 for girls as well as providing self reproductive health services that were children-friendly.

She said a steering committee spearheaded by Women, Family and Community Development Ministry and participated by all agencies would be set up to monitor the implementation of the plan.

By JOSEPH KAOS Jr.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/01/17/move-to-curb-child-marriage

‘Higher Education Ministry’s revival needed’

January 16th, 2020
Malaysia’s higher education sector has been sidelined since the two education ministries; Education and Higher Education, were merged into one, claims Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) General Staff Union (Kepertama) president Mohd Razali Singah (2nd from right). – NSTP/ROSELA ISMAIL

SERDANG: Malaysia’s higher education sector has been sidelined since the two education ministries; Education and Higher Education, were merged into one, claims Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) General Staff Union (Kepertama) president Mohd Razali Singah.

He said this during a press conference held at UPM today in response to Prime Minister and interim Education Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad mulling whether or not to revive the Higher Education Ministry.

Voicing Kepertama’s support for the ministry to be revived, Mohd Razali, who is also the deputy president of the Joint Councils of Presidents and Honorary Secretaries of the Malaysian Universities Staff Union (Gakum) believed that this move would strengthen the focus on higher education institutions (HEIs) in Malaysia.

“From our observation, the progress of HEIs in Malaysia have lagged behind and we are not given the focus that we need.

“While we acknowledge and appreciate the many reforms that the former minister Dr Maszlee Malik made, there is no denying that higher education has been sidelined.

“We are aware of the increasingly challenging higher education sphere. Hence, it calls for a specific ministry to focus on spearheading the direction of HEIs in the nation.

“With the split, we hope the new Higher Education Ministry will propel public universities to achieve a higher prestige in the global arena,” said Mohd Razali.

He highlighted several issues faced by the Malaysian HEIs that need to be addressed.

Firstly, Razali said the ministry has been too concentrated on improving schools in Malaysia, leaving universities to be set aside.

“We found it difficult to communicate with the ministry to share our wishes and complaints. The current ministry’s portfolio is too wide, as it comprises both school-level and tertiary education.”

Secondly, the proposed merger of Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) and Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA) was not well planned.

“We are not happy with the merger due to the universities’ very distinct specialisations. Unisza focuses on Islamic studies, management and medicine while UMT is marine-focused.

“It is not relevant to merge the two universities due to geographical convenience. It is more efficient for UMT which originated from our Fisheries and Marine Science Centre to merge with UPM.

“We are concerned that the ministry did not go through more consultation and engagement with the stakeholders. This might have happened due to the lack of focus.”

Thirdly, te university and academic staff’s burdens need to be addressed.

“There is a shortage of executive staff. As universities progress and the number of students increase, our welfare is getting more sidelined.

“For instance, issues relating to the appointment of vice chancellors which falls under the ministry’s purview can disrupt the university’s administration. Again, we are not blaming anyone, but we feel that the portfolio is just too huge for one ministry.”

Mohd Razali added: “We worry for the future of higher education in this country. On behalf of public universities, we hope that the government can take our aspirations into consideration.

“We hope to see a ministry which exclusively oversees higher education, led by an experienced minister. We are confident that Dr Mahathir will make the right appointment.”

By Rayyan Rafidi.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/education/2020/01/556796/higher-education-ministrys-revival-needed

Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim appointed as Education director-general

January 16th, 2020
Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim has been appointed as the new Education director-general effective Jan 10. – NSTP/HALIMATON SAADIAH SULAIMAN

PUTRAJAYA: Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim has been appointed as the new Education director-general effective Jan 10.

She took over from Datuk Dr Amin Senin who retired on Dec 21 last year.

In a statement today, the Education Ministry said 58-year-old Habibah will be the ministry’s 17th director-general and the second woman to helm the post.

“Habibah started her service in education in 1986 as a teacher in several schools in Selangor and Kedah, before leaving to serve under several organisations under the ministry.

“Among her positions were deputy director-general (policy and curriculum sector), Education Planning and Research Division (BPPDP) director, Performance and Delivery Unit (Padu ) executive director and senior lecturer at Institut Aminuddin Baki (IAB),” it said.

Habibah obtained a bachelor’s degree with honours in Biology from the University of Salford, United Kingdom in 1984.

Later, she furthered her studies in Education at University of Bristol, United Kingdom in 1993 and earned a doctorate in Education from Stanford University in California, United States in 2001.

With her expertise, experience and excellent achievements, the Education Ministry is confident that Habibah would be able to further elevate its achievements in line with the aspirations of the National Education Blueprint 2013-2025.

The ministry recorded its highest appreciation to Amin for his service.

By Hashini Kavishtri Kannan.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/government-public-policy/2020/01/557140/dr-habibah-abdul-rahim-appointed-education-director

Schools told to inform police of crime-related activities

January 16th, 2020

KOTA KINABALU: All schools in Sabah are advised to liaise with the police if any unwanted incidents, such as crime-related activities, among the students occur.

City Police Chief ACP Habibi Majinji said that the collaboration between the police and schools could eventually help prevent students from being further involved in criminal cases.

“Therefore, as the representatives of the authorities, the police hope that the schools could report and share any information regarding crime-related activities among students.

“We will also send an officer to monitor the situation in the schools as needed. Teachers can immediately report criminal offence involving students to PDRM mediators with the schools,” he said when officiating the Maktab Sabah Parenthood Seminar programme at its Perdana Hall here recently.

The programme was organised by the school and Maktab Sabah Parent and Teacher Association (PIBG) that aims to provide exposure to parenting knowledge, thus helping parents nurture their children into becoming better persons.

Habibi acknowledged that it is not easy to be a parent, especially in this age where parents or guardians need to understand the current situation and find the appropriate ways to educate as well as to guide their children.

“Therefore, it is the responsibility of every parent to equip themselves with the latest skills so that they can effectively carry out their role as parents.

“With all the technology advancement today, parenting is so much different compared to the past. It is more challenging for parents of this age because nowadays children are smarter, especially when it comes to digital technology and most of them already have smartphones as young as five to seven.”

“For teachers in schools, it is more challenging as students are now smarter and more exposed to digital technology, the internet as well as a variety of internal and external threats.

“Therefore, parents and teachers must be more knowledgeable about digital technology than their children and students,” Habibi said.

By JASON JACK EBIT.

Read more @ http://www.newsabahtimes.com.my/nstweb/fullstory/35861

Racial unity becoming fragile due to sensational news on social media

January 16th, 2020

PUTRAJAYA: The attitude of some individuals who prefer to read and trust sensational news on social media without verifying their authenticity or truth has contributed to racial unity in the country becoming fragile, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department P. Waytha Moorthy.

He said the situation was made worse when some people misused the the freedom of speech granted by the government to spread false information to create misunderstanding and tensions among the people of various races in the country.

“Not only in our country, but all over the world, the social media has become a major medium to disseminate news, including false and inaccurate ones.

“Before, the media was controlled by certain groups, but now with the borderless information, some people think that they have the power to disseminate their own personal ideologies and opinions.

“They don’t read many newspapers, or authentic news and books, instead prefer (to read) sensational news. When they are impressed with the news, they will viral it immediately,” he said in a special interview with Bernama in his office here recently.

The minister, who is responsible for the National Unity and Social Wellbeing portfolio, said this group of people had no care to know the news was real or fake.

They are not interested to know the truth, but are happy and more interested to get the sensational news across to netizens, he added.

Waytha Moorthy said some of the issues raised on the social media had undermined the country’s harmony and it had become one of the main challenges facing the Pakatan Harapan government, where precautionary measures had been taken to safeguard the interests of all parties.

The minister also expressed his sadness over the action of previous government leaders for deliberately raising certain issues to build up anger against the current government for their own political survival.

“Therefore, it is the responsibility of the people to remain focus and to live as citizens who practice diversity in a pluralistic society. We have to live with each other and as long as we are focused, we can accept what we have practiced before,” he said. –Bernama

The issue on abuse of the social media was also raised by AirAsia Group Bhd chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes on Tuesday, saying too many negative things, falsities and outrages on the platform had led to the shutting down of his Twitter account.

Commenting further, Waytha Moorthy said the people, especially those in the peninsula, should emulate the close relationships and tolerance of the various tribes in Sabah and Sarawak, enabling them to live in harmony without suspicion for one another.

He recalled his visit to Sarawak and Sabah and was impressed with the understanding and respect for the religious practices and cultural diversity displayed among the people of the two states.

He said the ministry would take into account suggestions from community leaders in Sabah and Sarawak in formulating a new policy to enhance national integration between the people in the peninsula and East Malaysia.

In addressing racial and religious issues, he said the ministry hoped to set up a special commission known as the National Harmony and Reconciliation Commission to act as an independent body that would resolve sensitive matters on race and religion.

“This matter is still in the proposal stage and I am looking into the practicality of using existing laws, including the Sedition Act and the Penal Code to resolve related issues raised on social sites.

“This is because I find that some of them are unaware that their postings are offensive to other religions and in this case, the Commission will call on the relevant parties to explain to them,” he said.

by Bernama.

Read more @ http://www.newsabahtimes.com.my/nstweb/fullstory/35899

New class formats at some schools

January 15th, 2020

Ong visiting a Secondary 1 form class with students from different streams at Ping Yi Secondary School. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network

FOR Secondary 1 student Zayeed Ibrahim, the start of the new school year on Jan 2 was especially exciting because he was one of the first students in Singapore to have classmates from other academic streams.

The 13-year-old Normal (Technical) student is from Ping Yi Secondary School, one of 28 schools from this year to pilot full subject-based banding, start form classes with students of different streams, or do both.

“I am happy because we will get to spend time together in a class, but nervous because we haven’t gotten to know each other. I hope we can be good friends, ” said Zayeed.

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, who visited the school in Chai Chee, said the changes mark a “big step ahead for our education system” in bringing out students’ potential.

The pilot schools are trying out new Sec 1 form classes with students from different streams.

The students will take a common set of subjects, which include art, character and citizenship education, and physical education.

Traditionally, students are sorted into Express, Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) streams.

Ping Yi Secondary has four Sec 1 classes, each with 30 to 35 students from different streams.

“Each class is carefully composed of students from different streams, different ethnic backgrounds, different profiles, special needs students.

“If you are a stronger student… you can play a part to teach other students who may not be keeping up as well in the academic subjects, and they in turn have something to teach you in sports, in values, in various subjects, ” said Ong.

Such changes, he said, are meant to help students break out of mindsets that constrain their achievements and how they perceive themselves.

Students at Ping Yi Secondary can also now study humanities subjects – geography, history and literature in English – at a more demanding level from Sec 2, if they have the aptitude. Previously, options were limited to English, mathematics, science and mother tongue.

Two of the school’s Normal (Academic) students are now taking geography at the Express level, and three are studying Express-level history. They are all in Sec 2.

Principal Ang Chee Seng said: “These students took humanities subjects at Sec 1, and based on their results last year, we are confident that they can cope with higher-level subjects.”

Sec 2 student Lim Tie, 13, who is studying Express-level mathematics, geography, history and science this year, said: “I want to learn more… I am quick with numbers and mental calculations.”

“I didn’t expect to be able to take Express subjects. I thought Normal (Academic) is Normal (Academic), and there is nothing you can do about it, ” he said. “In primary school, I was very playful. But now, I like studying and I feel happy about it.”

His classmate Hajamaideen Asimathul Jafriya, 13, is also taking four subjects – mathematics, science, geography and Tamil – at the Express level. She is keen to study geography to find out about the world.

“I want to work harder to go to junior college or polytechnic, and work even harder there, ” she said.

The pilot comes ahead of the roll-out of full subject-based banding to all secondary schools by 2024. The Normal and Express streams will be scrapped that same year.

Ong said teachers will have to cater to students of different abilities in one classroom. “Some students are more vocal, some students are more quiet… So, the teacher (has to) actually make a conscious effort to draw out the students who are more reserved.” – The Straits Times/Asia News Network

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