Tan Eng Bee
The surprise announcement by Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that public university students must pass the English language to graduate is long overdue, since English was sidelined in the early 1970s and the decline is obviously felt since then.
Despite the call by local and foreign companies, concerned individuals and NGOs, it had often fallen on deaf ears. It is time to wake up from our slumber to do something positive for our graduates.
Malaysia was once an English-speaking nation but we have neglected the importance of the English language for more than four decades. Since then, our children have paid the price for that awful decision that was made without thinking through. (more…)
A new policy is to be implemented making English a compulsory subject, besides Bahasa Malaysia, for students to pass at Malaysia’s public universities.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (pic), who is also the Education Minister, said he had discussed the matter with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak about a week ago and the details would be announced later.
“The basic knowledge is not enough for graduates if they don’t have the ability to communicate and write in English.
“Companies will have a certain benchmark. They want people who are not only qualified, but people who will be able to be the ambassador, who can communicate to the rest of the world and one of the important requirements is the ability to communicate in English,” he said. (more…)
Teachers are predicting a sharp plunge in scores for this year’s national Form Three examination, and they blame this on the haphazard way the government has rolled out the School Based Assessment (SBA) system.
The teachers said that student performance this year would generally be lower than that of previous years, as the over 420,000 Form Three students are the first batch affected by the SBA.
Under the SBA, there are no exams or quizzes throughout the school year in Form One and Form Two. Teachers worry that this lack of exposure to preparing and taking examinations would impair students’ ability to sit for the PT3 (Form Three Assessment). (more…)
Overseas Malaysians are not convinced of the benefits of returning home, even when offered incentives by TalentCorp, one of which is a “tax exemption on cars imported into Malaysia”.
If only cars and material goods were the be all and end all for everyone. If only TalentCorp would put themselves in the shoes of these overseas Malaysians and discover the reasons for their reluctance to return.
Would Umno Baru politicians like an influx of people who will threaten their existence? The returning Malaysians will have learnt about living in a first world country, which champions human rights and democratic principles. The returning Malaysians will not hesitate to speak out against corrupt and incapable leaders. (more…)
He not only doesn’t like “huge” statues being built at places of worship for non-Muslims but he also does not want Tamil or Chinese schools to exist anymore.
Former Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mohd Noor Abdullah seems to enjoy courting controversy with his statements. His recent remark on vernacular schools has hit a raw nerve as the subject is close to the hearts of the Chinese and Indian communities.
Mohd Noor was reported to have called for the abolition of vernacular schools, saying that Mandarin and Tamil could be taught at national schools instead. (more…)
Scientia potentia est (sometimes written as scientia est potentia) is a Latin maxim often said to mean “knowledge is power”, and is commonly attributed to 16th century English philosopher Sir Francis Bacon.
This “lack of knowledge” seems to be one of the main issues faced by the poor when it comes to national schools, resulting in them not being aware of initiatives to help them move out of poverty and also of education transformation taking place.
On April 16, the Institute of Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) released a policy briefing paper outlining the main findings of its nationwide education survey of the bottom 40 per cent. (more…)
Students have neither fear nor respect for teachers, says Sarawak Teachers Union president Jisin Nyud.
A teachers’ union here has decried the current system which does not provide any legal protection for teachers to heavily discipline errant students.
Sarawak Teachers Union (STU) president Jisin Nyud said students today took teachers for granted and have neither fear nor respect for the system. (more…)
The Education Blueprint is comprehensive but implementation is key
I WAS probably luckier than most kids who grew up in rural Malaysia. My father was both my teacher and the village school headmaster, which meant learning was not just confined to school. Classes continued at home too.
He instilled in me a strong learning discipline and impressed upon us the importance of education. Without a doubt I believe it was education that lifted the lives of many of my classmates out of poverty in remote Bario. Education has the capacity to profoundly impact lives. This is why I continue to advocate its importance and believe that a nation must allocate as much resources as possible to this area. (more…)
I want to believe that I am in the position to write you this letter. I was almost bombed (metaphor intended) by my Tok Busu as I went to a few public and boarding schools.
Then, after SPM, I first registered at Kedah Matriculation College in Changlun but I ended up graduating from UiTM Kuantan in 2008.
I was an undergraduate at UPM Serdang for a month, a TESL undergraduate at UiTM Shah Alam for a year before realising what I really wanted to be in the next 30 years (God willing, if I could live that long).
So I quit UiTM and I completed my bachelor’s degree at IIUM after two-and-a-half years. (more…)
Students from Malaysia’s oldest university today submitted a memorandum to parliamentarians over what they believe to be academic interference in Universiti Malaya (UM).
This followed UM’s refusal to allow veteran lawyer Ambiga Sreenevasan to speak at the Law Faculty’s Law Career Convention.
Ambiga, a former Bar Council president, was to speak on public interest litigation.
UM allegedly allowed the Law Society to invite Ambiga if a “pro-government” speaker was also invited but retracted this approval at the last minute on Mar 27. (more…)
Thinking skills is always a good thing but be mindful of the danger that it can completely crowd out factual learning.
Rote learning gets a lot of attention in Malaysia from the media, employers, parents and the Education Ministry.
Most of this is negative and it hones in on examples of students in government schools dutifully transcribing text from blackboards, like human photocopiers.
There is also quite a bit of empirical data that suggests that practice is fairly widespread in the nation’s schools.
A recent Unesco survey found that 60% of Malaysian students claimed to have teachers that stressed rote learning and 40% indicated that the predominant teaching style was to copy text from the board. (more…)
Tan Eng Bee
Together with many concerned parties and as one who is passionate about education, I am hugely disappointed over our students’ performance in maths, science and reading at the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2012, which revealed we are not doing well at all.
Compared with other nations such as Vietnam and other developing countries, Malaysia ranked 52 out of 62 countries, a very disturbing placing where countries which we thought were lagging behind were actually doing very well indeed.
Though the Deputy Minister of Education, Datuk Mary Yap has acknowledged Putrajaya is not suffering from “denial syndrome” or hiding the state of affairs which PISA has revealed, I dread to think of the massive work that has to be done to correct this awful situation so as to bring our students to the level comparable with international standard. (more…)
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is satisfied that the Education Ministry followed finance guidelines when awarding contracts to companies providing security for schools after the Auditor General’s Report said it did not.
PAC chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed (pic), speaking to reporters after a meeting today attended by Education Minister 11 Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh and secretary-general Datuk Dr Madinah Mohamad, said that the ministry did not need to give any further explanation on the matter.
The 2012 Auditor General’s Report in his report last October said the Ministry had spent RM2 billion on beefing up security at schools and public institutes of learning nationwide, but had not followed proper guidelines and procedures, leading to poor implementation. (more…)
The School-Based Assessment (SBA) which was temporarily halted for review was implemented at all secondary schools nationwide on April 1 although certain issues raised by its detractors have yet to be addressed.
One area of concern yet to be resolved is the high number of students in a class which might render the system ineffective.
Suara Guru Masyarakat Malaysia (SGMM) chief Mohd Nor Izzat Johari maintained that while there are improvements in the revised SBA system, it should not be implemented before a pilot study is conducted for a minimum of three years.
The new exam system that will replace the PMR for Form Three students this year is open to bias and abuse, and could jeopardise the future of children from poorer families, said an education activist today.
Mohd Noor Izzat Mohd Johari (pic) said that unlike the old system, where the Form Three exam is produced and graded by an independent body outside the school, the new one, PT3 or Form Three Assessment, will be done by the teachers of each individual schools.
Since PT3 results are used by students to apply to elite schools such as residential schools and the MARA junior science colleges, richer, more well off parents could pressure teachers into giving their children better grades. (more…)
In September 2012 the Ministry of Education presided over the soft launch of the Malaysia Education Blueprint, with the hard launch almost exactly a year later. The finalised Blueprint is a veritable IKEA catalogue of education reform: there is something for everyone and it is designed to fit together perfectly into a durable and robust structure, without any pieces being left over.
During the last 12 months, commentators from all sides of the education landscape have expressed their opinion on the blueprint and these have ranged from “a bold but achievement vision” to “good in theory but impossible to realise in practice”.
However, there are two fundamental questions that often get overlooked in these exchanges:
(1) What do we actually mean by education transformation? (more…)
Sin Chew Daily
A total of 400,000 teachers nationwide can finally breathe a sigh of relief as the revised school-based assessment (PBS), taking effect on April 1, was said to be able to significantly reduce teachers’ workload.
Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that one of the reformed measures is, teachers will no longer need to key in data online, but just enter the information into an offline system.
After the PBS was first introduced, teachers had been complaining that they had to spend much time keying in data online and even worse, the online system was always difficult to access, causing teachers to sacrifice their sleeping time to complete the work. (more…)
Malaysian universities have failed yet again to feature in the latest Times Higher Education World Reputation rankings released today, a sign that local varsities are losing ground to not only top universities in the world, but to those within Southeast Asia.
Malaysia had never been featured on the list, which was into its fourth year, despite Putrajaya’s goals to make Malaysia an education hub for the region and attract some 200,000 students to local universities by 2020.
Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin previously said that Malaysia has one of the best education systems in the world – better than United States, Britain and Germany. (more…)
Baru (left) being briefed by the teachers about the flood problem at SK Siang-Siang.
The construction of SK Long Sukang new building is abandoned due to the contractor’s financial problem.
The Education Ministry is urged to seriously look into all the problems faced by rural schools in the state, especially with the RM1 billion allocated by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin recently.
Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian said The Borneo Post’s revelation yesterday on the lack of clean water supply and poorly built teachers’ quarters at SMK Tinjar in Lapok, was proof that many rural schools in the state were in ‘pathetic’ condition and in need of urgent action from the ministry. (more…)
The Sarawak state opposition has urged Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to go on a tour of some of the state’s rural primary schools to see for himself how the children are coping without water supply to the schools.
“It’s a really stinking situation,” state PKR chief Baru Bian (pic) said after returning from a weekend visit to his rural constituency of Ba Kelalan where he said some of the schools in the Lawas–Tinjar areas have had no piped water “for years”.
He said what he knew could probably be only the “tip of the iceberg” with more schools experiencing the same fate. (more…)
Lok Wing Kong
English is today entrenched as a global language. Research shows that 1 in 4 of the world’s population speaks English (25% of 7 billion or 1.75 billion). About 380 million people speak it as their first language and more than 1.35 billion people speak it as their second language.
English has official status in at least 75 countries with a more than 2 billion population. China alone has about 500 million people who speak English fluently as their second language. Its widespread use in practically all aspects of life and the work place is unquestionable. The use of English as the main international language in business communications, IT, academic conferences, advertising, travel, airports, air traffic control, education, science and technology, journalism, pop music, diplomacy, sports and as an “official” language in international events equates it as a sine qua non of progress, power and modernity. (more…)
The Borneo Post
Poor command of the English language, inability to communicate and lack of self confidence are among factors why local graduates are unemployable.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abd Wahid Omar said a solution must be found to tackle the problem to ensure graduates do not remain jobless in the future.
The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Shamsuddin Bardan had said poor command of the language among fresh graduates lists as one of the top grouses of employers. (more…)
The Education Ministry is mulling to introduce the Mandarin and Tamil languages as subjects in schools.
Second Education minister Idris Jusoh said the ministry wished to create a balance in language proficiency among the races in the country.
“Currently we are only emphasising on English, Higher Order Thinking Skills and other subjects,” he said.
Nevertheless, he said the plan had to be studied from all angles before it could be implemented. (more…)
Sin Chew Daily
The question about whether the School-based Assessment (PBS) will be continued has been clarified after Second Education Minister, Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said that it will not be abolished.
Idris said that the Education Ministry is currently studying ways to improve the system and the report will be out on April 1.
In other words, the new implementation of the PBS would be started, and whether it can fundamentally solve the existing problems will be tested in practice. (more…)
Amendments must be made to the PBS to lessen the burden on students and teenagers, says PAGE.
The school-based assessment (PBS) system can still operate in schools, but it should be tweaked so as not to burden either teachers or students, said education lobby group Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE).
PAGE chairman Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said the PBS’s objectives were good as it aimed to remove rote learning and an exam-centric system by allowing students to gain marks through other means besides the end-of-year exams. (more…)
With no exams under the school-based assessment system, its critics say gauging pupil performance was too subjective and vague.
Any improvements to the much-criticised school-based assessment (SBA) system should be tested at pioneer schools first before it is adopted throughout the country, says a teacher’s pressure group.
Teacher-Community Voices Malaysia (SGMM) spokesperson Mohd Nor Izzat Mohd Johari said such a pioneer programme would be able to test the new system to ensure that it worked well with pupils and teachers. (more…)
DR AZLY RAHMAN
Malaysia’s monopoly corporate crony capitalism, framed and flourishing ethnocentrically and laced with economic fascism continue to take root, fashioned after the ethos and eerie-ness of America’s Enron Corporation which was said to be too big to fail yet fell like a house of cards that turned into ashes after an internal combustion of a self-immolation.
It also brought down one of one of the world’s biggest accounting fraudsters and master of creative accounting – Arthur Anderson. This is a feature of the many a Wall Street-fashioned American corporation – grow bigger with bigger lies with the help of world-class lying accounting firms. (more…)
The government has an ambitious plan for education – it has declared that Malaysia intends to be an international hub for tertiary education.
That is well and good. But perhaps the Education Ministry should do some serious soul-searching about affairs at home too.
One nagging issue which the ministry has been flip-flopping on is this — why are our high school students today still unable to comprehend the simplest of English? Are our schools keeping up with what is actually relevant in today’s society? (more…)
The additional RM1 billion allocation for repair and rebuilding of dilapidated schools in Sarawak and Sabah as announced by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin last week has been described by Sarawak PKR as grossly inadequate.
Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian (pic) said there were 800 such schools in Sarawak alone, adding that according to the Educational Blueprint, 1,608 schools in the two states required critical repairs by the end of last year.
Muhyiddin announced the allocation for 600 dilapidated schools in the two states during his three-day working visit to Sarawak last week. (more…)
The announcement by Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin recently that the schools’ based assessment (SBA) system is under review, is of little surprise.
Whatever reasons the government may give, the fact that there was no proper planning, consultation or thought before its implementation, can’t be hidden.
Introduced in 2011 in primary and secondary schools, its purpose is to reduce the reliance on examinations and ensure students are not left behind. (more…)
The epitaph of the late boxer, Joe Louis reads “he was a credit to his race, the human race.”
Very few in Malaysia’s history, sadly, can live up to that description of the ‘Brown Bomber’ that Louis was known as.
In Malaysia, racism and narrow-mindedness are destined to not only flourish, but perpetuate, because the education system is focused on segregation and discrimination, not on nurturing good human values and humanity. (more…)
Should Malaysians be proud that only 37 per cent of teachers trained to teach English in the country have a high level of proficiency on par with their counterparts in the United Kingdom?
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin seems to be elated by this level of competency among English-language teachers in the country.
One wonders what the proficiency level of the remaining 63 per cent of English-language teachers is.
On Feb 8, Muhyiddin was reported to have said in Johor that English language experts from the University of Cambridge had praised the level of teaching and learning of English in Malaysian schools. (more…)
The Najib administration could be on the verge of another flip-flop, this time reviewing the universally unpopular school-based assessment system (SBA).
Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (pic) said the decision was due to negative feedback from teachers.
“The SBA will be re-looked again as the ministry wants to implement the programme efficiently to improve the education system,” he said. (more…)
The Education Ministry has no plans to replace the school based assessment (SBA) system with the matriculation system in secondary schools, according to Education deputy minister Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching.
She said a number of issues had to be considered before the matriculation system could be implemented.
“We do not have any plans but as an educator, I am optimistic about seeing some progress although we have to weigh the factors prior to any development. (more…)
A group of teachers will continue to mount a protest over the failure of the Pentaksiran Berasaskan Sekolah (student evaluation based on school work or PBS) on Feb 22, despite Second Education Minister Idris Jusoh last Friday urging further discussions for improvements to the system.
Already, Form Three students this year are already faced with the prospect of not having their Forms One and Two assessment results being considered as part of their final grades, as the government may revert to the examination-based system, similar to the Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR), despite it having been abolished last year. (more…)
A teachers’ pressure group is going ahead with its protest at the Education Ministry against the new student-based assessment system (SBA) and has rejected calls for it to halt the plan and return to the dialogue table.
Suara Guru Masyarakat Malaysia or Teacher-Community Voices Malaysia (SGMM) spokesperson Mohd Nor Izzat Mohd Johari said the group was adamant about calling for an end to the three-year-old system before it was used on Form Three students this year.
This is because Form Three students have to sit the crucial Penilaian Menengah Rendah exams at year-end. (more…)
Cecilia Jeyanthi Victor
Much has been said about rising racial polarisation and weakening of interfaith relations in the country. But it is more pertinent to pinpoint the cause of these problems so that remedial measures can be taken.
Certain quarters have blamed the education system for these woes.
Parents Action Group for Education (PAGE) chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said national schools had become breeding grounds of racial polarisation and that the education system was the root cause of the problems plaguing the country now. (more…)
Teachers are upset over glitches in the school-based assessment system, including difficulties uploading data online.
A teachers’ pressure group is planning to hold a protest at the Education Ministry at the end of this month to demand that Putrajaya end its ambitious three-year-old pupil assessment programme.
The protest, a rarity for the profession, reflects growing discontent among teachers with Putrajaya’s implementation of the school-based assessment (SBA) system, said a spokesman from Suara Guru-Masyarakat Malaysia (SGMM). (more…)
While most street protests over the years have been initiated by the opposition, the New Year rally in Dataran Merdeka against price hikes can be described as a resurrection of the “spirit of ’74”, when the student movement became a national force to be reckoned with, say activists.
Veteran activist Hishammuddin Rais (pic), who was present during the legendary student rallies of 1974, said that tomorrow night’s gathering could be just as significant, going by the response from the public especially student groups.
At the same time, another activist, who has been involved in promoting this year’s rally, said it marked the start of students becoming drivers instead of merely passengers in political campaigns. (more…)
Although the finalised Malaysia Education Blueprint has just been released recently, some of the programmes as deliberated in the blueprint have been kick-started seeing that 2013 is supposed to be the inception year of the 12-year transformation plan.
Among these initiatives are expanding accessibility to pre-school education, LINUS testing for literacy and numeracy skills and the roll-out of 1Bestari.net for integrating ICT into day-to-day teaching. With such massive undertakings underway, resistance is expected and one of them I would like to talk about is the rejection of the school-based assessment system (PBS) by the National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP), basically the union for teachers in Malaysia. (more…)
There was an interesting article by Wan Saiful Wan Jan that was published by The Star (10 December 2013) titled “Poor and Ignorant”.
Most low-income parents do not know about the Malaysian Education Blueprint, and they think teachers know best.
This is not surprising given the fact, as stated by the writer, that the attendance for the public consultation on the blueprint comprised only a very narrow section of society who are teachers and PIBG (parent-teacher) representatives. (more…)
More than 50 years ago, Malaya achieved independence through cooperation among the various races.
Native Malays formed the biggest ethnic group. Besides other indigenous groups, the Chinese and Indians were the second and third largest racial group at that time.
Given the highly complex and diverse racial mix, with each group speaking mainly their own respective mother tongues and without a common language, our leaders at that time must have, after careful and cautious considerations, prudently decided that it is best to accommodate language demands of the larger racial groups. (more…)
As 2013 draws to a close, Malaysia has seen its fair share of events with people who either inspire or bring despair to the country. It has been a year where some feel a sense of entitlement, that it is their way or the highway, that they have to make a name for themselves no matter what and where the little people’s hopes have risen and have also been shattered. Yet, there are the few who do good work quietly to help their fellow man, to make Malaysia a better place. Over the next few days, The Malaysian Insider will feature some of them – Malaysia’s Inspiring People 2013 – the ordinary heroes who never cease to amaze us with their perseverance, diligence, empathy and vision for a happier nation. (more…)
A group of pupils with their teacher at one of Malaysia’s many vernacular schools.
Our students are now four years behind Singapore in Mathematics.
Two years behind Vietnam in Science and 4.5 years behind Shanghai in reading skills. We are still ahead of Indonesia, but since we are sending our best and brightest to Indonesia for a degree, it is just a matter of time before they overtake us in global rankings.
Given time, and if things remain unchanged, I wouldn’t be surprised if they source out Malaysians as maids and workers for their industries. (more…)
MOHD FARHAN DARWIS
As 2013 draws to a close, Malaysia has seen its fair share of events with people who either inspire or bring despair to the country. It has been a year where some feel a sense of entitlement, that it is their way or the highway, that they have to make a name for themselves no matter what and where the little people’s hopes have risen and have also been shattered. Yet, there are the few who do good work quietly to help their fellow man, to make Malaysia a better place. Over the next few days, The Malaysian Insider will feature some of them – Malaysia’s Inspiring People 2013 – the ordinary heroes who never cease to amaze us with their perseverance, diligence, empathy and vision for a happier nation.
Sick and tired of an education system that teaches kids to compete instead of cooperate, and to be number one instead of helping the weak, Anas Alam Faizli began a movement which helps poor students all over Malaysia to excel in their studies. (more…)
The National Education Blueprint’s goal that all schools in the country meet the basic infrastructure requirements including access to clean treated water, at least 12 hours of electricity a day, along with sufficient toilets, classrooms, tables and chairs for the student and teacher population by 2015 starting with Sabah and Sarawak seems to be a pipe dream.
Already at the end of 2013, it doesn’t help that the education minister admitted earlier this year that rural schools in Sabah and Sarawak lagged behind in facilities and needed massive support to catch up with urban schools. (more…)
Of late, the Sarawak state education system has been under constant fire with issues ranging from lack of basic facilities, insufficient teachers due to high rate of transfers, accessibility, and connectivity.
In terms of social and economic implications, the state’s inadequate education system has become a major concern especially when education authorities have gone on record acknowledging that dilapidated schools in rural Sarawak are very common.
Now to add to rural school woes is that only two rural schools in Sarawak have been categorised as excellent while 110 are average and 12 have been categorised as below average. (more…)