Enhance resource centres

Friday May 18, 2012


I REFER to “DPM: Work to improve libraries and resource centres” (The Star, May 15).

Under the ongoing education revamp exercise, “effectiveness of resources usage” is one of the nine designated areas to be reviewed and deliberated on.

Mention about resources in school, students and teachers alike will instantly quote the Pusat Sumber Sekolah or PSS (the School Resource Centre). Not that this is the only resource that a school has, but it is the one that stands out.

It was during the early 1990s that the Education Ministry instructed every school, primary as well as secondary, to set up their own PSS. In the beginning, it was merely the school library that was being upgraded.

Over the years, with advancements in multi-media resources, PSS began to acquire materials, equipment, systems as well as sophisticated digital software and hardware.

PSS also evolved from being a one-location centre to a multi-faceted facility sited in strategic locations in the school.

We have now teacher resource centres (as distinct from student resource centre), special-purpose/function rooms, computer labs, science labs and workshops; all of which are considered part of the school’s PSS.

Every year the ministry provides PSS with monetary grants based on their student population. It also supplies some designated hardware and software from time to time.

In addition, some schools on their own initiative collaborate with their parent-teacher associations to raise funds for their PSS.

The main objective and hope was that PSS would help improve teaching and learning.

The ministry, state departments and district offices organise annual PSS competitions to select the “best” PSS. A school PSS is judged for its structural set-up, usage and effectiveness, amongst other criteria.

As a result of these evaluations, we have “good” PSS and “weak” PSS.

The position of a school’s PSS depends very much on the efforts the teachers in charge put in and the emphasis the school administration places on it.

A “good” PSS is assessed to be one that is well equipped, have all the available and relevant hardware and software and is also one that is much frequented and used by students and teachers.

A “weak” PSS will be the opposite.

An interesting observation is that there has been no mention by our UPSR/PMR/SPM/STPM “scholars” that their school PSS had contributed to their “successes” in exams.

These students were quick to speak of help and support from their teachers, parents, study mates and even their tuition centres. But, they have not mentioned of any help and support from their school PSS.

This is puzzling! Surely they had spent time in their PSS.

Why then the “contributions” of PSS do not come to their mind immediately? Why do our students not feel “indebted” to their school PSS?

This begs some interesting questions for us as educationists, teachers and parents to ponder.

What nature of work do the students do in the PSS? Are they there just to do revision/ homework/exercises? Or, are they there to use up the allotted “free” period to read at leisure, and in random? Or is PSS a place for them to “socialise”?

> Do the subject curricula demand that students use the PSS to truly source for information either individually or in groups?

> Do examinations demand from students mere textbook knowledge that can easily be obtained from revision texts and exam-questions-answers books, thus rendering the PSS insignificant?

> Are the scheduled (time-tabled) periods in PSS just to satisfy a “statutory” requirement?

> Are these periods meant to help students to expand their knowledge base, leading to improved exam grades (in which case, “scholars” won’t have forgotten to mention about PSS when they express their gratitude after their exam results)?

> In designing the curriculum, has PSS been factored in as a “tool” to extract and cultivate the varied potentials of the students?

If the role of school resource centres and the effectiveness of their usage are to be enhanced, the above questions should be deliberated on comprehensively.



DPM: Work to improve libraries

Tuesday May 15, 2012


KUALA LUMPUR: The Education Ministry and the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry should work together to enhance the role of libraries and resource centres in schools, says Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, proposed that both ministries work on a joint strategy to upgrade the function and role of libraries and resource centres.

“As of today, there are a total of 12,382 libraries nationwide. Of the total, some 9,721 are resource centres in schools.

“I believe that these resource centres have great potential to improve the quality of their services,” he said after launching the National Reading Icon and 1Malaysia values campaign at the National Library yesterday.

Muhyiddin said that to be a developed society, the reading standard among the public had to be on par or better than that in developed countries.

During the event, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was named as the National Reading Icon.

On another matter, Muhyiddin hit out at the Opposition for changing their stand on the development of Putrajaya.

“In the early stages, the Opposition constantly criticised the Government for the project and accused it of being Dr Mahathir’s white elephant and a waste of public funds. They even vowed to auction off Putrajaya if they came into power.

“But now, such vows are no longer heard. All that they talk about these days is about ‘the road to Putrajaya’,” he said, adding that the Opposition had seen how the administrative centre had grown to become the nation’s pride.

25 sekolah rendah terima manfaat daripada perpustakaan bergerak

Posted on April 20, 2012, Friday

SIBU: Sebanyak 25 sekolah rendah di bahagian ini telah menerima manfaat daripada perkhidmatan perpustakaan bergerak yang dikelolakan oleh Perpustakaan Awam Majlis Perbandaran Sibu (MPS).

Kebanyakan sekolah ini terletak di kawasan yang tidak mempunyai atau jauh dari perpustakaan awam selain daripada perpustakaan sekolah yang kekurangan sumber bahan bacaan.

Perpustakaan bergerak yang mempunyai lebih kurang 1,000 naskhah buku pelbagai genre itu bergerak seawal jam 8.30 pagi dan berhenti di sekolah terpilih dua minggu sekali kecuali pada cuti sekolah dan cuti umum.

Menurut Ketua Unit Perpustakaan Awam MPS Habsah Johor, perkhidmatan tersebut diwujudkan bagi menanam sikap suka membaca di kalangan orang ramai terutama murid-murid sekolah.

Sejak diwujudkan pada 1995, perkhidmatan ini telah mendapat sambutan menggalakkan daripada pihak sekolah.

“Perkhidmatan pinjaman buku kami beri secara percuma kepada murid Tahun 4,5 dan 6 dan guru-guru tetapi sekiranya sekolah tertentu kekurangan murid, murid Tahun 1 hingga 3 boleh turut serta,” ujar Habsah.

Habsah berkata, sekolah yang mendapat perkhidmatan perpustakaan bergerak perlu memenuhi kriteria tertentu sebelum pihaknya membekalkan perkhidmatan tersebut.

Antara kriteria-kriterianya adalah lokasi sekolah, mempunyai ruang luas bagi membolehkan perpustakaan bergerak diletakkan dan kawasan yang selamat.

“Sekolah yang berminat untuk mendapatkan perkhidmatan perpustakaan bergerak boleh memohon dengan menulis surat kepada Kementerian Kerajaan Tempatan dan Kemajuan Masyarakat,” katanya.

Selain daripada memberi perkhidmatan di sekolah-sekolah, perpustakaan bergerak ini juga melakukan aktiviti lain seperti pameran dalam program-program tertentu sekiranya ada permintaan.

“Pihak kami mengalu-alukan dan sedia membekalkan perkhidmatan ini kepada mana-mana sekolah mahupun organisasi yang berminat,” kata Habsah.

Habsah menambah, pihaknya telah memohon perpustakaan bergerak baharu untuk menggantikan yang lama bagi memberi perkhidmatan yang lebih baik dan selesa kepada penggunanya.

Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2012/04/20/25-sekolah-rendah-terima-manfaat-daripada-perpustakaan-bergerak/#ixzz1sXmwJXgI

Local publishers must submit five books to National Library

Wednesday December 7, 2011


KUALA LUMPUR: Beginning next year, local publishers must submit at least five of their books to the National Library, said Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

He said many publishers failed to deposit their newly-published books causing problems for the National Library when it came to keeping records.

“We will take stern action against those who do not comply with the ruling as stated under the Deposit of Library Material Act 1986. Those found guilty will face various levels of fines but we do not want this to happen,” he told a press conference after launching The Star‘s coffee table bookHotshots, yesterday.

He also noted that the Government had allocated RM2mil next year as an incentive to produce more local writers under the writer’s welfare scheme.


“The value sale of books generated in 2008 was RM1.6bil, RM2.1bil in 2009 while RM1.9bil was recorded last year,” he added.

Dr Rais said that the number of local writers in the country had reached 5,150 last year with about 208,755 books published.

“According to a research done by the National Library, a Malaysian only reads an average of four to five books per year. We hope more people will pick up the habit of reading, not just materials online but also from our local talents,” he said.

Inculcating the reading habit at school

Sunday October 16, 2011



Students are introduced to newspapers as a rich source of information through The Star’s NiE programme.

AS a primary school pupil, How Siew Fen used to read The Star at her school library, as her family did not subscribe to it at home.

Coming from a predominantly Chinese-speaking family and having studied for six years in a Chinese vernacular school, reading the newspaper regularly proved to be a distinctive advantage for this friendly 15-year-old. Her love for the English language has prompted her to encourage her classmates in SMJK Chi Wen in Bahau, Negri Sembilan to learn the language as well.

Siew Fen recently received recognition for her efforts as she was chosen by her English teacher to participate at the school’s newspaper-in-Education (NiE) programme using The Star newspaper.

A total of 15 students were placed in groups of three and were given the theme “54th Merdeka” to work on their respective posters. Students undertook various topics such as harmony, development, education, leaders and transport.

Work of art: Students (front row, from left) Siew Fen, Lee Yong Teck and Lim Siew Chen, proudly holding up their poster with (back row, from left) Sivakumar, principal Lee Boon Seng and Ong.

The activity, according to the school’s English panel head Sivakumar Athimulam, was to show Malaysia’s progress over the last 54 years through pictures. Armed with scissors, bottles of glue, and copies of The Star, students planned and created their respective group posters.

“The students enjoyed the lesson as it involved much creativity on their part.

“Working in a group also taught them the importance of cooperation and teamwork in order to complete the task effectively,” said Sivakumar.

“Our school has been utilising The Star’s NiE programme to achieve a high level of proficiency in English in good classes. At today’s programme, we decided to extend it to the less proficient students as well,” he added.

The school’s senior assistant (academic) Josephine Ong Kui Hua said that students who were less fluent in the English language were chosen for this session as they were not usually exposed to the language.

“The activity was a resounding success as these children have now seen a different aspect of the newspapers.

“Incorporating Visual Art, English and History would also instil in them the love for our nation,” said Ong.

Ong added that newspapers were a rich source of information, and the reading habit should be instilled in students from a young age.

“Students who have inculcated the love of reading articles found in the current affairs, sports and entertainment sections of The Star, will not only ace examinations but find that mastery of the English language has many advantages in their daily lives,” said Ong, who also teaches History for Forms Four and Five.

Education: A humbling experience abroad

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

C.Y.L., Kuala Lumpur

 Make reading an important part of life to create a thinking society.

Make reading an important part of life to create a thinking society.

I REFER to the letter “Buried in homework every day” (NST, June 22). It has long been recognised that the Malaysian education system churns out students who rote-learn and regurgitate facts.

Under the present system, those who can retain the most facts before the exam are likely to score a string of As. This should end. The question of “how” should be addressed by the think tanks and citizens alike.

I did not enjoy my school days much. All I can remember is the routine of going to school from morning till 2pm, followed by tuition classes or finishing my homework.
It was plain monotony. I was caught on the bandwagon of studying hard to achieve as many As as possible so that I could bring honour to my family and land myself the much-coveted Public Service Department scholarship.

After secondary school, I went to an overseas university, thinking that I was well-equipped by virtue of the string of As that I had achieved in Sijil Pelajaran Malay-sia and A-levels.

However, I was surprised at how little I knew, especially my fluency in the English language, which was far behind that of the locals.
It was a humbling and eye-opening experience for me. The local students had been trained to read and write extensively, and also to think critically. In contrast, Malaysian students have been taught to memorise extensively, without putting on their thinking caps.

Additionally, the Malaysian education system fails to take into account students who have no flair for studies. This group of students will be considered a “failure” or sampah masyarakat (discards) as they are not as bright as others. The fact is, their creativity in other areas has not been harnessed. The present education system mutilates them.

The education authorities should realise that each individual is unique. Not all of us will have a flair for studies. Likewise, not all successful people out there have a university degree.
Many things in life can be learned through experience or an informal education. Perhaps the Education Ministry should include more interesting subjects in our education system, such as art, music, drama, entrepreneurship and sports so that students’ lives will not revolve around studies.

Another thing we can learn from other countries is to make reading part of our lives.

Reading is perceived by Malaysians to be a chore rather than a joy. Parents should inculcate the habit of reading in children. Most importantly, reading will create a thinking society and there will be less indulgence in negative activities.

Another factor is the dearth of public libraries. In contrast, libraries are abundant in countries like Australia and Singapore.

The government’s intervention is crucial. Books can be made more available and accessible to the public by increasing the number of quality books in public libraries and prices should be reduced significantly.

The average price of a book (RM30 to RM50) is too high for the ordinary Malaysian. Each state could set up its own book club or depository, where old and new books can be collected and donated to the state library.

While a formal education is important, it need not be mono-tonous, dull and lifeless. We need a holistic and more interesting education system.

Books: A cheerful library can help

Friday, June 24, 2011

LIM BEE HOON, Batu Pahat, Johor

I REFER to the letter “Reading books crucial” (NST, June 2) from Christopher Teh Boon Sung on technology and learning. I most certainly agree with the writer.

How many adults actually read in the presence of their young ones at home nowadays?

Reading ought to be instilled from young. A child who reads widely is one who is able to respond spontaneously and can put down his or her thoughts vividly on paper, too.
It’s a pity that children these days lack oral conversation skills as they are too exam-oriented.

Public examinations are largely at fault for the poor stringing of sentences as cues are provided. The child is trained to write as expected to score in exams and loses the capacity for creativity.

Rigidity is grilled to the maximum, forcing the child to lack flexibility and versatility.
Teachers in school don’t teach pupils to read passages and search for answers; they themselves refer to the answers.

Once, a parent complained to me, as the school head, that an answer to a given multiple choice question was wrong. I highlighted it to the teacher concerned.

Imagine my shock when the teacher told me that the answer was in the workbook that she used. I told her she should have double-checked before confirming the answer. She gave me a glare. If looks could kill, that glare could have done me in.
Our pupils either have no interest in reading or they aren’t at all keen even though we, the educators, keep harping on it, day in and day out.

Recently, on a trip back from abroad, I noticed, to my surprise that the school library had been done up differently.

The teacher I had put in charge had rejuvenated the former sombre and rustic premises to a cheerful and serene one, such that the pupils were busy shuffling in and out during recess to have a glimpse of the “new” library.

To my delight, I saw pupils reading storybooks in a reading corner during breaks. Of late, I have been visiting the library frequently to catch the crowd there.

It’s amazing how a library can serve to attract children after a small transformation. Let’s hope their interest can be sustained and that the reading culture will be inculcated from now.
Read more: Books: A cheerful library can help http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/19ready/Article/#ixzz1Q9kQGWol

More trained to teach in rural areas

Friday, April 29, 2011

VARIOUS measures have been taken by the Education Ministry to address the shortage of teachers in rural areas, Dewan Negara was told yesterday.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said among the measures taken were the establishment of several teacher training institutes in Sabah and Sarawak to train teachers who would later serve in schools in rural and remote areas.

“Currently, there are eight teachers’ training institutes in Sabah and Sarawak.
“The ministry always informs the education departments of each state to give priority to the rural schools.”

He said this in reply to a question by Senator Doris Brodie, who wanted to know the measures being taken to solve the teacher shortage problem, especially in the remote areas in Sarawak.

Wee said for Sabah and Sarawak, priority would be given to locals to serve as teachers in the two states.
“The intake of teachers from both states would be conducted through walk-in interviews to encourage more locals to apply.”

To a question by Senator Datuk Maijol Mahap earlier, Wee said that various programmes had been conducted by his ministry to encourage the reading habit among students.

“Some the of the programmes that are conducted in several schools here include the Drop Everything and Read programme, and also the Nilam book project where students are encouraged to list the book titles they have read and provide short synopses of the books.”
Wee added that the ministry had also provided additional reading materials in school libraries.

Terap tabiat membaca seawal di bangku sekolah

Selasa , 26 April 2011


PESTA Buku Antarabangsa Kuala Lumpur (PBAKL) 2011 yang sedang berlangsung di Pusat Dagangan Dunia Putra (PWTC) bermula Jumaat lalu hingga 1 Mei ini wajar dimanfaatkan oleh rakyat Malaysia, khususnya yang tinggal di sekitar Lembah Klang.

Pendekatan ‘sofa putih’ yang dianjurkan oleh Institut Terjemahan Negara Malaysia (ITNM) yang mana menjemput penyair seperti Abdul Ghafar Ibrahim untuk diwawancara adalah strategi bijak bagi menarik minat pengunjung ke pesta buku berkenaan.

Ibu bapa perlu memupuk anak mereka dengan tabiat suka membaca agar dapat melahirkan generasi cemerlang pada masa akan datang. Jika sebelum ini telefon bimbit canggih atau permainan video sering menjadi peneman buat anak di rumah ketika ibu bapa sibuk bekerja, mengapa tidak kita mengubah pendekatan dengan memberikan buku yang menarik kepada mereka untuk dibaca.

Hakikatnya, sikap rakyat Malaysia yang kurang membaca amat membimbangkan. Perkara ini jelas kelihatan apabila menaiki kenderaan awam seperti komuter. Hanya segelintir penumpang yang membaca buku atau surat khabar.

Jika dihitung dalam bentuk nisbah, boleh dikatakan hanya 1:50 yang memanfaatkan tabiat membaca dan selebihnya mendengar muzik, berbual atau melelapkan mata. Seharusnya tabiat membaca ini diterapkan di bangku sekolah lagi bagi mewujudkan bangsa cinta ilmu.

Barangkali, pihak sekolah perlu mengadakan lawatan ke PBAKL kali ini bagi mendedahkan pelajar dengan pelbagai buku serta info menarik di samping menemui penulis kegemaran mereka.

Selain itu, guru boleh mengambil peluang dengan membina hubungan yang baik dengan mana-mana penulis buku agar dapat menjemput mereka ke sekolah bagi memberikan ceramah berhubung kaedah mengarang penulisan kreatif.
Hasilnya, pelajar teruja dan menanam azam untuk menjadi penulis muda. Namun, begitu, segala usaha ini tidak berjaya jika golongan muda itu sendiri tidak menunjukkan minat untuk menambahkan ilmu pengetahuan.

Puncak Perdana, Selangor

Education: Cultivate good reading habits in our young

Monday, April 18, 2011

JOSE MARIO DOLOR DE VEGA, Department of Social Science School of Humanities and Social Science, Nilai University College Nilai, Negri Sembilan

I AGREE with Prof Mashhor Mansor of Universiti Sains Malaysia that “bookshops and libraries are a reflection of learned societies. We will be left behind if we are not focused on taking the young generation to an environment of knowledge” (“Books banish darkness” — New Sunday Times, March 20).

There is no scintilla of doubt that the most appropriate place for the pursuit of higher learning is no other than a university.

A university is an intellectual community wherein the primary objective is not only to teach our young to be educated, but also to gear them to become independent and critical thinkers so that they can become responsible members of society and cosmopolitan citizens of the world.
The paramount role of the school cannot be questioned, because it is the venue where the educators and teachers mould and train our young to be the best that they can be, harnessing their fullest potentials and developing their inner character.

The educator’s role is not simply confined to reading to them stories, asking them to give a report and delivering lectures via Power Point presentations.

Part and parcel of being an effective teacher is to encourage the students to speak their minds and discuss and analyse critically among themselves a specific idea in conjunction with a particular lesson in a given session.
It goes without saying that our students can only do so if they keep abreast with the latest developments in all fields of knowledge.

Hence, besides encouraging our students to speak what’s on their minds, the teacher must also cultivate the love of reading and the passion for books. Such an intellectual culture would incontestably lead them to the joys of writing.

Let us not forget that in preparing our young to be the next leaders of the country, they must be armed and fully equipped with the three incontestable weapons: speaking boldly, reading voraciously and writing eloquently.