SPOTLIGHT: ‘It should be only for the weak pupils’

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Schoolteachers who conduct tuition classes outside the classroom must not show more favour towards pupils who attend their tuition classes as compared with those who don’t.

Ling Siew Jen, a mother of a Year Six pupil, said she knew of some teachers who neglected classroom lessons and instead asked pupils to attend their tuition classes.

“This is unfair. Teachers should be doing a good job in the classroom and only hold tuition classes for pupils who are truly weak in the subject. Some teachers even penalise pupils who choose not to attend their tuition classes.”

National Union of the Teaching Profession president Hashim Adnan said schoolteachers were free to offer tuition outside school hours as long as it did not affect their primary teaching duties.

“Their priority is still to the school. But if it does not jeopardise their teaching in the classroom, then I do not see why they should not offer extra tutoring as well.”

He said at the same time, parents should not encourage teachers to hold extra classes for their children.

“It’s a question of supply-and-demand. If fewer parents resort to sending their children for tuition, then teachers would have no reason to become tutors.”

He said parents should also take time off to guide their children in studies, especially in the early years of schooling.

“The present education system is such that it gives every child an opportunity to learn, but not all children will learn at the same rate.”

Read more: SPOTLIGHT: ‘It should be only for the weak pupils’ – General – New Straits Times

Extra classes burdening and unnecessary?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

By Rozanna Latiff 0 comments

More parents are sending their children, aged between 7 and 10, for private tuition. They cite competitive school environment, crowded classrooms and changing standards of language as reasons. But there are also perceptions that extra tuition places unnecessary stress on the child, writes Rozanna Latiff

TuitionIt seems to be the norm these days for children to have tuition classes to help them cope with schoolwork.

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SHARON Lieu, a 36-year-old mother of three, sends her eldest daughter, aged 8, for Mathematics and English tuition twice a week.

Even though Lieu does not believe that primary school children should be attending tuition classes, her daughter’s struggle to catch up with her classmates had forced the matter.

“In school, her class is so big that the teachers don’t have time to help the few who cannot follow the lessons.

“Some have even told the students, ‘Ask your tuition teacher’ when the child says they can’t understand.”

Lieu said she had little time to teach her daughter on her own as she was often busy with work and taking care of her younger children.

“I wish that I did not have to send her for tuition, but it is the only way she will be able to keep up.

“I think many parents feel the same way, especially as schools have become more competitive.”

School authorities and parent groups generally agree that sending children under 10 years old for private tuition was unnecessary.

Some, such as the National Collaborative Parent-Teacher Associations of Malaysia president Associate Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Ali Hasan, believe that sending pupils for tuition too early could even be detrimental to their social development.

“Children should be allowed time to play and learn at their own pace.

“Putting too much pressure on them to succeed academically at an early age means that there will be less time for them to learn to socialise or communicate effectively with others.

“Stress can also affect them emotionally.”

Ali said the most important part of early education was learning the basic skills of reading, writing and counting, which weaker students can master under the education ministry’s learning and numeracy (Linus) remedial programme.

He said tuition should be a measure of last resort when the student is truly struggling with schoolwork.

“It is crucial that they learn to read and count by Year Three.

“But apart from that, parents should just let children be children.”

Nevertheless, the Education Ministry believes that there is little to stop parents from sending their children to tuition outside school hours.

“Ultimately, it is the parents choice.

“I’m not saying it is healthy, but parents just want the best for their children.

“If they believe tuition is the way to go, then there is nothing to stop them,” deputy education minister Dr Puad Zarkashi said.

Puad, however, remained sceptical on whether private tuition centres offered the best education for children.

“The best kind of tuition allows the child to study one-on-one with the teacher.

“But most centres usually have several students to one teacher. Some centres even crowd up to 40 students in one class. So, I don’t believe they make much of a difference.”

Read more: Extra classes burdening and unnecessary? – Top News – New Straits Times

The case for three languages

Tuesday February 28, 2012

IT’S common knowledge that our students’ mastery of Bahasa Malaysia (BM), English and their mother tongue leaves much to be desired. And worse, most students today are monolingual; and they are not necessarily proficient, competent and confident even in the one language.

For our nation to truly advance and progress into a future world of high technology that is without borders, I would think we Malaysians, more so the younger generation, should definitely be totally proficient in BM, our national language.

We should also be more than confident in understanding and using the English language as it is a global language. And, for ethnic and cultural preservation, we should achieve a reasonable command of our mother tongue, too.

Our school system must enable the learning and the mastery of BM, English and students’ mother tongues. Given the constraints of school hours and the readiness of our normal mental faculty for language learning, schools should provide the learning facilities accordingly.

This, I believe, is one area the high-level education revamp committee should look into.

The vernacular Chinese and Tamil schools are doing a fine job teaching the respective mother tongues. It is time that these schools take the teaching of BM to a new, and higher, level. They should use the same syllabus as that of the national schools (sekolah kebangsaan).

The present practice of following a simpler and easier BM syllabus, leading to simpler and easier BM papers in UPSR, is not effective and no longer acceptable.

Most students from vernacular schools, including those who have scored A and B grades in UPSR BM papers, find learning BM a very formidable task when they enter national secondary school.

On the other hand, national schools should certainly upgrade the availability and facilities in their premises for the teaching of pupils’ mother tongues, more commonly known as the pupils’ own language.

There is a real need and urgency in this matter as it affects the confidence of non-Malay parents who to enrol their children in national schools and have high hope that they can also learn Chinese/Tamil and other mother tongues there.

The Education Ministry’s MBMMBI (Upholding BM, Strengthening English) initiative, properly carried out in primary schools, should put the pupils in good stead in their learning of the English language.

To further strengthen English, especially at the secondary level, it is imperative that the education revamp committee reviews, reassesses and proposes to bring PPSMI (Teaching of Science and Mathematics in English) back to secondary schools.

Our secondary students should be studying all other subjects in BM. PPSMI and MBMMBI concurrently run will ensure that our secondary students are on par in knowledge and mastery of English with their counterparts all over the world.

Learning of mother tongues in secondary school can be optional. This is not to neglect their importance but rather to take cognizance of the capacity and capability of most students in learning three languages at the same time.

We can all learn many languages at our own leisure. But, school learning is different; it entails examinations.

If we envision future generations of Malaysians to be totally competent and proficient in BM, confident in English and also know their mother tongue, then our education system must provide, train and equip them accordingly.

A competent understanding and usage of BM helps us to foster national unity. Mastery of English helps us to think globally and set us on a level playing field with the rest of the world. Knowledge of our mother tongue complements our linguistic prowess.

Our education system must reflect, facilitate and enable our students to achieve these.



Doing more to attract Science students

Sunday February 26, 2012

WHY ARE students shying away from Science and Mathematics? The decline in interest among students for Science and Mathematics in schools has drawn quite a bit of attention lately.

It was reported that there was a 37% drop in students taking up Science and Mathematics and a 29% decline for pure science subjects.

The Education Ministry is carrying out a study on the issue and hopes to come up with some solutions by early next year. In fact, a similar study was carried out in the 1990s by Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). It may be worthwhile to revisit some of the findings and recommendations to see what have changed or not changed since then.

The reasons why students are shying away from Science and Mathematics can be attributed to factors internal to the school system as well as to external societal factors.

The obvious internal factors would be the lack of competent teachers, lack of adequate school facilities and lack of quality teaching-learning materials.

The switch in the medium of instruction for Science and Mathematics from Bahasa Malaysia (BM) to English and then back to BM did not help in terms of getting competent teachers and also teaching and learning materials for these two subjects especially in rural schools.

The shortage of qualified and trained Science teachers can be a vicious cycle caused by shortage of students opting for the Science stream in schools.

To attract talented young people to be trained as science and mathematics teachers, the Malaysian government has offered overseas scholarships in recent years. As for teaching and learning materials, it is essential that there are adequate and good quality materials for teachers and students in both BM and English especially during this transition period. On-line materials from the Internet would help to remedy the shortage of printed materials but most of the references are in English which is to the disadvantage to those who are not well-versed in this language.

Moreover, many still have no access to the Internet either because of affordability and/or poor connectivity.

The USM study also reported that while some of the urban schools did not have enough facilities to accommodate all the students who were interested in opting for the science stream, at the same time the enrolment of Science students in a number of rural schools was under capacity. It is hoped that this kind of imbalance between demand and supply has been remedied over the years.

External factors are related to further educational opportunities available to the science students after they have completed their high school and subsequent job prospects after their tertiary education.

Many of the private higher education institutions only offer non-science options which are also less costly.

Competition for admission to the traditional professional programmes such as Medicine, Engineering , and even Information Techonology are stiff. For the Science students who cannot gain admission to these prestigious and expensive courses, they most likely will end up as Science teachers.

However many young people do not like to become teachers nowadays, given the low prestige associated with the teaching profession in this country.

It is also a common practice that technical people have less promotion opportunity to managerial positions when compared to non-technical people because they tend to lack in the soft skills such as inter-personal and communication skills.

It is time to do away with early specialisation into Science and Arts stream in the school system so that every student can get a broad-based education thus making them more versatile and flexible in the labour market. It is also time to incorporate creativity and entrepreneurship in the education system so that young graduates are not totally dependent on the job-market but can be self-employed or create job opportunities for others.

Much needs to be done not only to produce more Science graduates but also to develop all-rounded, ethical citizens who can transform Malaysia into a more humane, equal, and just society.

DR. MOLLY LEE Former Programme Specialist in Higher Education in UNESCO

Asians ace at school

Sunday February 26, 2012

An Australian report finds that schoolchildren in the West are lagging three years behind those in many Asian nations.

WESTERN schoolchildren are up to three years behind those in some of China’s major cities like Shanghai and success in Asian education is not just the product of pushy “tiger” parents, an Australian report released Friday said.

The study by independent think-tank The Grattan Institute said East Asia was the centre of high performance in schools with four of the world’s top systems in the region – Hong Kong, South Korea, Shanghai and Singapore.

“In Shanghai, the average 15-year-old Mathematics student is performing at a level that is two to three years above his or her counterpart in Australia, the USA and Europe,” Grattan’s school education programme director Ben Jensen said.

“That has profound consequences. As economic power is shifting from West to East, high performance in education is too.”

Students in South Korea were a year ahead of those in the United States (US) and European Union in reading and seven months ahead of Australian pupils, said the report, using data from the OECD’s (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa)

The Pisa, pioneered by the Paris-based OECD has become a standard tool for benchmarking international standards in education.

The study said that while many OECD countries had substantially increased funding for schools in recent years, this had often produced disappointing results and success was not always the result of spending more money.

Australian schools have enjoyed a large increase in expenditure in recent years, yet student performance has fallen while South Korea, which spends less per student than the OECD average, had shot up, it said.

“Nor is success culturally determined, a product of Confucianism, rote learning or ‘tiger mothers’,” the report said, the latter a reference to ethnic-Chinese parents who push hard for their children to succeed.

It said Hong Kong and Singapore had made major improvements in reading literacy in the past decade, while the test by which the students were ranked was not conducive to rote learning as it required problem solving.

The report said the best systems focused on a relentless, practical focus on learning and teacher education, mentoring and professional development, rather than greater spending.

The four systems were also unafraid to make difficult trade-offs to achieve their goals, with Shanghai, for example, raising class sizes to up to 40 pupils but giving teachers more time to plan classes and for their own research. —AFP

Preschool fun and play

Sunday February 26, 2012


Early childhood education has been taken to a different level as the focus is on increasing playtime while incorporating learning skills.

PRESCHOOL teacher Coral Ng had her hands full with a group of four-year-olds crowding her at the tabletop as she poured the flour into the cookie mixture.

“Teacher, teacher, I want to help!” the excited preschoolers in their pristine aprons cried out. Later, the children had a field day rolling the dough into little balls and watching the cookies being baked in the oven.

In the classroom next door, the three-year-old group were seen drawing the shape of the “S” in the air while singing along to a phonic song.

All smiles: Preschoolers at the UCSI Child Development Centre grinning from ear to ear after the end of their lessons.

UCSI Child Development Centre English teacher Denise Cockerill said children of that age usually have a concentration span of around four to five minutes.

“Children will remember the letter sounds better when they sing as they get distracted very easily. Besides, their confidence will be built when they are able to coordinate their movement with the songs,” said Cockerill.

Teaching writing was not given much emphasis in her classes since she said that children as young as two or three may lack the eye-hand coordination and muscle development to attempt writing.

Having taught in Britain previously, Cockerill said the approaches used in teaching young children there are slightly different with more focus being given to play time.

“I try to find a balance with my pupils now because Malaysian parents expect a more scheduled, academic environment in preschools even though the concept of incorporating more play time for children is slowly catching up here,” said Cockerill.

Playing is not all just recreational for children. Flinders University senior lecturer and early childhood education programme coordinator Dr Susan Krieg said children are largely doing literacy work when they play.

“Try to catch a glimpse of the children when they are playing — do you see that they are actually playing out a story?” asked Dr Krieg when delivering her speech titled Early Childhood Educators’ Journey of Professional Development: The Experience of Developed Countries at the National Children’s Conference held recently.

“When children play, they are trying to make a sense of the world around them. So why are we stopping them from playing?” added Dr Krieg who is currently based in South Australia.

She shared that parents from Down Under are not that much different from parents in Malaysia who want to see their children master reading and writing earlier and earlier.

Let’s get moving: There’s no better way to engage children than to play the music and get them to sing along.

According to her, a step in the right direction is to correct that notion for parents and early childhood educators and to relearn what they know about literacy.

“Language is a symbol system while literacy is reading, writing and everything else in between,” said Dr Krieg.

Taking the scenario of children engaging in a pretend play as an example, she said that play creates a purpose for communicating using symbols such as language and gestures.

“When children are playing, they are using more sophisticated language in trying to make sense with each other. It is different once the adults step in because they will start to put words in the children’s mouth,” said Dr Krieg.

She emphasised that this is where the importance of play comes in since children are using language to make meaning when playing.

Hence, she said it is crucial for early childhood educators to demonstrate the benefits of playing to parents.

“Talk to parents, show it to them that children are learning when playing so that they would not pressure early childhood educators on why they are wasting time letting children play,” said Dr Krieg.

Playing in preschool

As a matter of fact, there is a growing body of research indicating the benefits of play in early childhood education.

A 2007 joint study conducted by British Columbia University, Canada and Rutgers University, New Jersey, United States, showed that preschoolers who were taught for two years using a play-based programme scored better on self-regulation, cognitive flexibility and working memory compared to those who did not.

“Although play is often thought of as frivolous, it may be essential,” said the authors of the study.

In another study done at the lab of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, it was found that too much of direct, teacher-initiated learning comes at a cost — children are less likely to perform potentially irrelevant actions but also less likely to discover novel information.

The National Preschool Curriculum too advocates allowing children to play in the classroom as it states that playing contributes to the cognitive and motor development in children.

Dr Russon says detachment from nature leads to nature deficit disorder.

HELP University Education Department head Dr Frances Lee said passive copying tasks and monthly tests have no place in an inquisitive and play-centred preschool classroom.

In her keynote address titled Indications on the Importance of Early Childhood Education at the National Children’s Conference, Dr Lee called attention to the importance of giving play time to children.

However, she noted that certain practices such as teachers giving children play dough to model shapes do not constitute constructive learning activities.

“Play activities need to be integrated into the learning experience of the children.

“Besides, teachers should be with the children when they are playing and the less teacher talk used, the better,” said Dr Lee.

Reflecting on the situation in Malaysia, Dr Lee remarked that the provision of reading and writing skills early still remains the top priority for most parents when it comes to choosing a preschool.

“Preschool operators are likely to face financial difficulties if the children do not pick up reading and writing early because parents will remove them from the centres,” said Dr Lee.

Finding a balance

Early childhood education practitioner Penny Ang agreed that some parents may subscribe to a more traditional approach towards educating young children.

Speaking during the panel discussion at the National Children’s Conference, Ang said it was always a struggle to find the balance between teacher-centred and child-centred learning.

“There are parents who believe that rote learning is the fastest and most effective way for children to acquire knowledge,” said Ang. She did not dismiss that rote learning still had its place in the classroom as it was effective in teaching children about the days of the week and when it involved instructions that had to be repeated periodically.

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach because the children have very diverse learning styles. Early childhood educators need to be reconceptualise the goal of education and reflect on the kind of choices they make in the classroom,” said Ang.

Before planning the lessons, Ang advised early childhood educators to ask these questions — what do they want the children to learn and how do they want the children to learn.

Ang stresses that children need to be given the opportunity to play, explore and reflect.

Leaning on Piaget’s theory of knowledge construction, Ang said the early childhood educators’ role is not just to fill in the knowledge gap but to help children to uncover the knowledge.

“Children need to be given the opportunity to play, explore and reflect. It is then that the ‘meaning-making’ process will take place,” said Ang.

Sharing her experiences in her lessons, Ang said she used to read Aesop’s fable The Crow and the Picher to one of her classes.

A couple of months later, the opportunity came up for her to use the story to teach liquid volume when the children were doing worksheets on this topic.

“I was quite taken aback when a few children could not use the concept in the story to answer the questions. It did not seem to register with them,” said AngKnowing that the concept was not fully understood, the persistent teacher brought in two water vessels of the same size to class the next day, filled them to the same level, marked the levels with indicators before putting some marbles in one of the vessels.

“It took some time for some children to grasp the concept but they certainly had fun in the experiments to measure water. It is interesting how educators can play a part to stretch the children’s imagination and get them to construct the knowledge themselves,” said Ang.

“Most importantly, the children are contributing to ideas and they are involved in the decision-making process in order to come up with the conclusion,” she added.

Back to nature

Once upon a time, children used to walk home from school and indulged in games at the field after school hours each day.

Encumbered by the modern city lifestyle, most children these days are more likely to stay indoors tapping their fingers on the latest technology gadgets.

University of South Australia School of Education senior lecturer Dr Sharon Russo said detachment from the environment has caused the children to suffer from nature deficit disorder.

She opined that this will pose a challenge to teachers as children who are disconnected from the nature will have a diminished use of their senses and they are also more prone to having attention disorders.

“In nature, children find freedom and a sense of privacy,” said Dr Russo while presenting on her topic Early Childhood Education Sustainability — An Australian Experience at the National Children’s Conference.

“When the children get in touch with the environment and go on field trips to parks and the museums, they learn about socially responsible actions besides values such as fairness and respect for each other. Aren’t these important to the children’s development as well?” she asked. She said it is not uncommon for preschools in Australia to have vegetable patches as gardening stimulates the senses of the children by bringing them closer to nature.

“Besides, the children take great pride when the vegetables they have grown are served during lunch and snack times. This is also a good way to inculcate healthy eating habits in children,” added Dr Russo.

Meanwhile, other practices carried out in Australian preschools include making toys from recycled materials, teachers dressed up in old clothes and bringing old toys to preschools.

“Children are interested to listen to stories from their teachers on how the way things were when they were children. The teachers also showed the children their old toys and told them about the nostalgia attached to them,” said Dr Russo.

She shared that there was an unanimous ‘no’ when the children were asked whether the old toys should be thrown away as they

are brought up to understand that old items can be reused again and it is all right to play with old toys.” Teaching children about sustainable living is always close to Dr Russo’s heart. “What is the point of bringing up children in an environment that is going to be unsustainable in the future?”

Need to be proactive

Monday February 27, 2012

BEFORE the unnecessary hype about the book “Where Did I Come From?”, another five-day-old baby boy was abandoned at the doorstep of a house in Terengganu by an elderly woman on Feb 25. While the baby is in good hands now, the controversial book has since been banned.

The dumping and killing of babies have somehow escalated recently.

When this happens, the easiest thing to do is to blame society being too liberal or too many entertainment outlets causing moral decay.

Even the annual Valentine’s Day couldn’t escape the blame.

How often we take parents to task when children are not brought up properly to resist unhealthy temptations?

The dumping and killing of innocent babies is just the tip of the iceberg.

Did anybody bother to check how many abortions are carried out everyday in our society just to get rid of unwanted pregnancies?

It is not surprising that there may also be innocent babies being killed but had gone undetected.

Human sexual behaviour has not changed that drastically. Our youngsters are as passionate and hot-blooded as our ancestors.

Even in the old days, there were babies conceived out of wedlock but then there might not have been so many abandoned as what is being reported nowadays.

Many unwanted babies could be adopted quite easily without much hassle and unnecessary publicity a few decades ago. We need to be more pragmatic and wise in bringing up our children especially in this digital age.

Parents cannot export their entire responsibilities to nannies, foreign maids and nurseries. They need to take more responsibility in bringing up and nurturing their children properly especially during the formative years.

Many parents who expect teachers to correct their school-going children with behavioural problems have themselves to blame. Overlooked children can be extremely rebellious.

Our society has to grow and learn to adapt to this technological evolution.

By banning “Where Did I Come From?” we are just assuming that our children would not be exposed to reading materials deemed to be unhealthy. Are we too naïve?

Even an eight-year-old knows how to access Kamasutra or even more titillating websites.

We need to be proactive instead of just depending on external sources to provide us with suitable reading materials for educating our children. Why are we not capable of producing our own version of “Where Did I Come From?” that could comply with our values and culture?

Aren’t we not hypocrites who only know how to criticise and reject?



Pelajar lebih yakin bertutur dengan bantuan tenaga dari AS

Isnin , 27 Februari 2012

Oleh Mohd Feroz Abu Bakar

PENGALAMAN beberapa sekolah di Terengganu yang berpeluang mengikuti program English Teaching Assistant (ETA) tahun lalu menunjukkan kehadiran mereka memberi perkembangan positif kepada pelajar.

Exco Pelajaran, Pengajian Tinggi, Sains, Teknologi dan Sumber Manusia Terengganu, Ahmad Razif Abd Rahman, berkata penempatan ETA di 14 sekolah menengah seluruh negeri itu menjadikan pelajar lebih yakin untuk bertutur dalam bahasa Inggeris.

Katanya, kehadiran penutur asli yang tidak boleh berbahasa Melayu mengakibatkan pelajar tidak mempunyai pilihan dan terpaksa berbual dalam bahasa Inggeris dengan ETA di sekolah masing-masing.

Beliau berkata, suasana itu penting kepada pelajar di Terengganu kerana mereka tidak mempunyai persekitaran yang memerlukan mereka bertutur dalam bahasa Inggeris berikutan semua rakan berbahasa Melayu.

“Pengalaman saya sendiri ketika mengiringi lawatan Duta Besar Amerika Syarikat ke Malaysia, Paul W Jones ke Sekolah Menengah Agama Khairiah di Kuala Terengganu menunjukkan pelajar yakin untuk berbual dengan duta.

“Meningkatkan keyakinan pelajar adalah satu satu pencapaian penting bagi program ETA di sini,” katanya.

Sementara itu, Pengetua Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Kompleks Gong Badak, Kuala Terengganu, Abdullah Mamat, berkata ETA bukan mengambil tugas guru Bahasa Inggeris (BI), tetapi membantu proses pengajaran dan pembelajaran sedia ada.
Katanya, berdasarkan pengalaman beliau ketika di SMK Belara, Kuala Terengganu, ETA ditugaskan membantu kegiatan kokurikulum dan juga berinteraksi dengan penghuni asrama.

“Saya menempatkan ETA di asrama dan dia berbual dengan pelajar terutama ketika waktu permainan pada sebelah petang.

“ETA tidak mengganggu pengajaran guru BI kerana mereka tidak ditempatkan di dalam kelas tetapi membantu guru BI menyediakan bahan pengajaran yang sesuai,” katanya.

Guru perlu kreatif, inovatif

27 Februari 2012, Isnin


Oleh Ali Mahmood


Jailani Ludin (kiri) melihat kereta solar ciptaan pelajar SMK Seri Tualang selepas merasmikan Majlis Pelancaran Produk dan Program Sains dan Teknologi di sekolah itu di Temerloh, Pahang, baru-baru ini.


Guru sains dan matematik perlu kreatif serta menggunakan pendekatan yang menarik bagi mengatasi masalah kemerosotan minat pelajar terhadap kedua-dua mata pelajaran tersebut.

Ketua Sektor Pembangunan Akademik, Jabatan Pelajaran Negeri Pahang, Jailani Ludin berkata, kedua-dua mata pelajaran itu penting kerana ia merupakan tunjang bagi melahirkan pelajar sebagai modal insan yang kreatif dan inovatif.

Katanya, bagi mencapai status negara maju, rakyat negara ini perlu menguasai dan meneroka kemajuan sains dan teknologi.

“Ini merupakan satu cabaran buat warga pendidik, khususnya guru-guru yang mengajar mata pelajaran sains dan matematik bagi meningkatkan semula minat pelajar terhadap kedua-dua mata pelajaran tersebut.

“Guru perlu menyahut cabaran ini kerana kemajuan dan masa depan negara terletak di bahu kita bagi melahirkan pelajar yang mampu menguasai teknologi serta pakar dalam penyelidikan dan pembangunan (R&D),” kata Jailani.

Beliau yang mewakili Pengarah Pelajaran Pahang berkata demikian semasa berucap merasmikan majlis Pelancaran Produk dan Program Sains dan Teknologi di Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Seri Tualang di Temerloh, Pahang baru-baru ini.

Turut hadir Pegawai Pelajaran Daerah, Aishah Hamzah dan Pengetua SMK Seri Tualang, Hussin Hamid.

Menurut beliau, mata pelajaran sains dan matematik juga memerlukan transformasi serta penambahbaikan seiring dengan perkembangan ilmu dan teknologi supaya para pelajar tidak berasa bosan semasa mengikuti subjek tersebut.

Jailani juga menasihati para pelajar supaya menanam cita-cita untuk berjaya dalam kerjaya berasaskan teknologi serta R&D dan bukannya bekerja dalam sektor kerajaan apabila tamat pengajian daripada universiti.

“Kita perlu membuang minda untuk makan gaji dengan kerajaan semata-mata.

“Hal ini kerana jawatan dalam kerajaan adalah terhad tetapi sebaliknya dunia kerjaya hari ini lebih terbuka kepada mereka yang mampu menguasai kemajuan sains dan teknologi,” ujar Jailani.

Beliau menambah, kerjaya dalam bidang berkaitan sains, matematik dan teknologi menawarkan gaji yang lumayan dan ini yang menjadi cita-cita kerajaan untuk membolehkan rakyat meraih pendapatan tinggi.

Give clarity to disciplinary measures

Friday February 24, 2012

I BELIEVE it is fundamentally wrong to omit parents in matters of school discipline as both parties have a duty to work hand-in-hand in the interest of the children.

The argument used for parents to stay out is that they are seen as being unreasonable and overprotective. Parents have a duty to be protective of their children’s safety and wellbeing in schools.

Cases of unreasonable teachers who use excessive physical punishment are also a reality.

I would agree that the greater responsibility of enforcing school discipline lies with the school, with parents taking an active role in working with the school as well as monitoring whether school disciplinary rules are adhered to by the teachers.

Currently, parents are left in the dark as to how schools actually conduct disciplinary measures. I would suggest that schools come up with disciplinary guidelines, or if they are already in existence, to share the them with both pupils and parents at the start of the school year.

If we can practise a degree of uniformity in the education syllabus and examinations, why can’t we do the same for disciplinary guidelines?

These should, as far as possible, detail the behavioural requirements expected of the pupils, forms of disciplinary action for types of offences and avenues for complaint.

Pupils, especially those in primary schools, should be made aware of their right not to be hit, as specified by the Education Ministry (MOE) guidelines. Too often, children accept this kind of punishment in silence without the knowledge of their parents.

Parents should read and understand the expectations of schools in terms of their children’s behaviour, and to act reasonably within the guidelines.

If schools act within the guidelines, they have nothing to fear from unreasonable parents. Likewise, if schools go beyond the accepted guidelines, parents have nothing to fear in taking action as well.

Most often, the aim of punishment is to provoke a required response. When a child is hit, he or she may respond favourably in terms of performance, but it must be understood that such a response is driven primarily by shame and fear.

I have had many teachers, but the ones that I remember and responded to were the ones that took the effort to give words of encouragement. I refused to be cowed by teachers who hit out simply because I made mistakes.

A child that responds to positives rather than negatives is one who is emotionally stronger. I know which environment I would prefer my children to study in.

I have written formally to suggest the above measures to my children’s school principal. While the principal agreed with my points, no action has been taken after 11 months and the start of a new school year.

If the suggestions are without merit, I can understand.

If an agreement is reached with regard to its benefits, I am certainly disappointed why it has not been acted upon.

We need to progress beyond this endless cycle of what can or cannot be done. Enforce MOE guidelines, give some clarity to all stakeholders.


Petaling Jaya.