2012, Arkib Berita, Forum, Keibubapaan, Masalah Pelajar, Pembangunan Sekolah, Rencana, Surat

INDISCIPLINE: Be firm and consistent when disciplining a child

Monday, July 09, 2012

By Ravinder Singh, Batu Maung, Penang 0 comments

I REFER to the letter by Tony Lim, “Caning won’t work today” (NST, July 2). He said he witnessed a mother threatening her 10-year-old daughter that if she continued misbehaving, she would be caned. But when challenged by the little girl to carry out the threat, the mother meekly swallowed her words.

The mother was wrong to have threatened, or given a warning to her misbehaving daughter only to chicken out when challenged by the child.

Where is the mother’s authority? What respect can the child have for someone who makes empty threats or does not honour her words?

This is a mistake that many parents and teachers make in trying to discipline children. They threaten children with punishment that can never be carried out. The result is disrespect for the person making those empty threats, and his/her authority and discipline goes down the drain.

It is not the children of today who are different, but the adults. In the 1960s and 1970s, if a warning was given, it was carried out. So, the children dared not challenge the authority of the person. That is what made the difference.

So, please do not blame the children. The way they learn to respect authority has not changed.

The mother of the 10-year-old girl should have taken the cane to the defiant girl, asked her to put out either palm and give her a two hard whacks.

That would have brought change to the girl who would then realise she cannot bully her mother anymore. But by chickening out when challenged, the mother only let the girl rule the mother.

This child might have been spared at a much younger age and knows that her mother would not do what she threatened to do. Why was the child allowed to get away with misbehaving all these years?

In the early stages, the strategies mentioned by Lim could have worked, but again, only if strictly and consistently enforced.

There has to be firmness and consistency in whatever strategies that are applied in disciplining children from an early age. The cane (a light one) should be the last method to be used when all else fail. Without these, the desired results cannot be achieved.

We should stop blaming children for their indiscipline. The fault is ours for we have allowed them to become such through misplaced love, ignorance and inability to be firm with them.

Read more: INDISCIPLINE: Be firm and consistent when disciplining a child – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/indiscipline-be-firm-and-consistent-when-disciplining-a-child-1.104745#ixzz205P8J2zt

2012, Arkib Berita, Forum, Keibubapaan, Pembangunan Sekolah, Persatuan, Rencana, Surat

Parents have role, too

Sunday, July 08, 2012

By Chandra Devi Renganayar 0 comments

PLATFORM FOR IMPROVEMENT: What is the role of parent-teacher associations today? Do they contribute towards enhancing the quality of schools and the education of their children? Are parents even interested? Chandra Devi Renganayar finds out.

.Parent-teacher associations should worry less about raising money for activities and more about improving education for their children

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THE Education Act 1996 stipulates that one of the key objectives of a parent-teacher association (PTA) is to provide a forum and service for the welfare and development of students.

It also states the association is to act as a platform for parents and teachers to discuss issues pertaining to their children’s education.

These objectives, however, appear to have taken a back seat.

Parents sitting in PTA committees now focus on raising funds to upgrade school facilities, said Nik Elin Nik Rashid, a past committee member of several PTAs.

She said in some schools, PTAs are nothing more than “showpieces”, set up to meet the requirements of the Education Act.

“How effective a PTA is depends on the principal. If the person is accommodating and welcomes views from the parents, then the PTA will be involved in matters concerning education.

“In most cases, however, the principals and teachers don’t want to engage parents on issues related to their children’s performance as they are afraid it would interfere with their job.

“They fail to realise that by working with parents, they can better meet the needs of the students.”

C.K. Teoh, a former PTA committee member of a school in Klang said many parents shy away from speaking up for fear their children will be victimised by the teachers.

He said some teachers take advantage of a clause in the Education Act which states the PTA cannot interfere in a school’s administration.

“They prefer PTAs to play a diminutive role such as raising money for school activities. They want PTAs to focus on beautifying the school rather than equipping it with better learning materials.

“Parents are there to merely endorse what the headmaster and teachers have decided.”

Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim, vice-chairperson of a PTA in a school in Kuala Lumpur, said: “PTAs have to broaden their thinking beyond day-to-day matters of canteen, toilets and traffic. The quality of education can be improved if parents provide ideas, constructive criticism, suggestions and schools are open to positive feedback.”

Noor Azimah, who is also the chairperson for the Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (Page), said PTAs can be a key source of reference for the Education Ministry to gather feedback from parents before introducing new policies.

“Parents have high aspirations for their children and they should be given the right to be heard. Parents via the PTAs must be allowed to raise policy matters and engage with the authorities.”

Read more: Parents have role, too – General – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/nation/general/parents-have-role-too-1.104128#ixzz205OMVEqz

2012, Arkib Berita, Forum, IPT, Masalah Pelajar, Rencana, Surat

More to varsity life than mugging

Sunday July 8, 2012


I REFER to the letter 
Engineering student suffers low morale
 (StarEducate, June 17).

The writer states that “students are driven by grades and marks”. If this were true, all students would be excellent and attain top marks.

Students who want to get good grades and marks will want to spend a considerable amount of time studying, and because they have studied they will obtain good marks. This is basic logic.

But from my personal experience, I can say that there are two main reasons why Malaysian students opt to study for a degree, namely “to have an edge” and “for a passport”. In fact I was talking to a student who is due to graduate shortly and who is thinking of taking up a second degree just to have an “extra passport”.

If the official reason for getting a degree is to acquire knowledge, then how do you test a student’s knowledge if not by an exam or a test?

I don’t think any student who studies to acquire knowledge would ever question the need to pass an examination and get good grades. Good grades are the proof of your knowledge.

However, it must be specified that there are two aspects of getting good grades – the syllabus and the teacher.

Both are essential and not interchangeable for students who want a good and complete education.

Some teachers or lecturers will follow the syllabus or the book faithfully, while others will prepare their own notes and expect students to copy those notes.

But most teachers will teach the way they themselves have been taught, and if the teaching they received was unstructured, they will probably adopt a similar method with their students.

It is important, in my view, for university students to understand what the lecturer or teacher wants and to plan their studies accordingly.

Students who come from a disciplined background will have no problem with this aspect of education. This is also the reason why students who have had good grades in secondary school usually proceed with higher education.

Besides acquiring knowledge, the next most useful aspect of a university education is that students learn to live with others, to accept all views, and to discuss and solve problems in a way that is non-confrontational yet effective.

It is this social aspect of campus life that makes university education unique and worthwhile. Knowledge itself can be acquired in your own home or at the library, via books, the Internet, newspapers and all the other available sources of information which are available today.

If the writer “doesn’t know much about engineering” it is either because he is not prepared for the social aspect of university life or because the teaching is not sufficiently structured.

A student who comes from a highly controlled environment, where his every move was planned and directed by others, may have a problem in university.

On the other hand, an environment in which students do not receive enough guidance from their lecturers, and where lecturers cannot impart an objective, can be very demoralising to students.


2012, Aliran, Arkib Berita, Forum, IPT, Pembangunan Sekolah, Rencana, Subjek, Surat

History, Moral Studies vital

Sunday July 8, 2012


I REFER to the letter 
Give science students a break
 (StarEducate, July 1) and agree to a certain extent with the views expressed.

The points raised by the concerned parent on History and Moral Studies are on the minds of many students.

As science students, we tend to think that History is an irrelevant subject. But educators would argue that knowledge of our national history and the founding events of other countries is beneficial for the next generation to maintain the stability of Malaysia.

With today’s high crime rate and lack of civic consciousness, Moral Studies has become a subject more relevant than ever although many students, including me, dislike it.

It is important to instil good moral values in students, but the teaching of the subject should be updated and restructured to allow for a better delivery of the values instead of merely requiring that they be memorised.

As a science student, I agree that in order to master science and technology a full comprehension of the concepts and principles is required.

However, it is a known fact that many of us can ace most subjects in school or even in university by merely regurgitating words memorised from reference books, rather than by applying concepts, due to the way the examination questions are set.

Currently, many schools use interactive graphics to teach science subjects. But a more interactive approach, involving school trips to science centres and forest reserves, scientific competitions, visits to research institutes and university science seminars, should be adopted to ensure a better appreciation of the subject.

Perhaps the Education Ministry can help fund this interactive approach to education as most schools would probably lack the funds to organise such activities.

A similar approach can also be employed for boring subjects like History.


2012, Arkib Berita, Forum, IPT, Masalah Pelajar, Rencana, Surat

Fake degrees not just from USM

Sunday July 8, 2012


I REFER to the report 
Ex-student behind fake degrees 
(The Star, July 2) and totally disagree with Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin’s statement saying that USM is “the first university in Malaysia that has become the target of such a syndicate”.

These syndicates have been operating for some time. As a graduate from a local private university I can attest that a few students have managed to get their degrees from the university even though they are varsity dropouts.

I hope that the Ministry can have a special database where institutions of higher education can send their graduates list and employers can cross-check with it to verify the validity of degrees.

This should be applicable to foreign graduates as well.


2012, Aliran, Arkib Berita, Forum, IPT, Pembangunan Sekolah, Rencana, Sistem, Subjek, Surat

Absurd way to test morals

Sunday July 8, 2012


THE recent article by T.J. Phang, 
Give science students a break
 (StarEducate, July 1), through inquiring “How can we expect science students to concentrate fully on important subjects?” implies that moral education is of no importance to young Malaysians.

I would respectfully propose that moral values education is of paramount importance. However, the way in which moral education is presently taught, and absurdly tested, totally devalues the subject content and purpose.

Phang clearly describes a behaviourist pedagogical model of rote-learning and discrete-point testing that persists in the Malaysian moral values curriculum and from which all other subject areas have long since moved on.

Rahimah Haji Ahmad, in a 1998 article, Educational development and reformation in Malaysia: past, present and future, lucidly explains and defines values education and the benefits to society and young people.

The article substantiates the need for moral values to be embedded within a school’s curriculum, and states that “values are to be taught at all levels, to enable the students to be continuously and consistently infused with them” which will “help produce good citizens who can make decisions and are responsible members of the society, and able to cope with moral issues in the modern world” (p. 467).

It would be futile to argue that moral education should not be a fundamental tenet within the hidden and taught/learned curriculum of any learning institution.

I am a lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus and currently teaching a curriculum studies course for first year undergraduate education students.

As an assessable assignment, my students are engaged in designing a mini-curriculum within moral values education.

This work emanated from the student-generated recognition of the futility of the present curriculum. They described a system that was, as Phang also stated, time-consuming and worthless, albeit with important academic consequences.

It is difficult to understand how a system that was criticised 14 years ago by Rahimah, when stating “this may in the end be a futile exercise of reciting the values”, can persist today, even when all contemporary (and not so) empirical evidence proves that a pedagogical model of rote-learning and regurgitating of exact, word-for-word facts is outmoded and ineffectual.

Is it not time, then, to re-examine moral values education and consider, once again, the embedding of values within subjects, allowing students to construct a clear and functional understanding of values which can be “tested” through far more appropriate and valuable means?

In this way, Phang’s son can develop into a morally empathetic scientist with values that are cognisant of the subject of science and of our society.



2012, Arkib Berita, Forum, Pembangunan Sekolah, Rencana, Sistem, Subjek, Surat

Make subjects more dynamic

Sunday July 8, 2012


IN response to 
Give science students a break
 by T.J. Phang (StarEducate, July 1), as a former science student I have this to say:

The main reason subjects like History and Moral Studies are compulsory in the upper secondary school syllabus is that students get from them what education itself is supposed to achieve.

I believe that the aim of any national education system is to produce well-balanced and wholesome members of society. This means that students should not just be fed information, but encouraged to explore different areas and branches of knowledge that would help them become well-rounded individuals.

Perhaps some students (though they are in the minority) are sure their future lies in medicine or biochemistry or engineering, and don’t care for the arts and humanities. But it wouldn’t be fair to deny them a holistic education.

I understand that History, as taught in our secondary schools, is considered a boring and utterly useless subject. But can our country be proud of scientific and mathematical geniuses who don’t know what year their country gained independence, the struggles of our forefathers forMerdeka, or the significance of the Federal Constitution?

Perhaps the problem with the subject of History lies in its content, which was supposed to be revised. The method of teaching the subject renders it dull. But that doesn’t mean we should ignore its significance.

So memorising facts and reading dreary History textbooks may not make students better science professionals, but it should make them better citizens, more aware and so we hope, proud of their motherland.

The gripe about Moral Studies though, I can relate to.

How memorising a bunch of words and “vomiting” them out on paper come exam time is supposed to make us more moral and civic-concious is still beyond me.

Moral Studies is definitely a burden, not just for science students but even for those in the arts stream.

However, despite the various calls and pleas for a revision in the teaching and learning of Moral Studies and History, the Education Ministry seems unresponsive.

The sad truth about science subjects taught in secondary school though is that despite the fact that we consider these to be important and “relevant to careers in medicine and engineering”, it is a paltry amount of subject matter compared to what aspiring science students face in pre-university courses.

It seems that even these subjects need some level of revision on their subject matter.

With regards to science students switching to the seemingly less stressful arts stream, perhaps the problem is not in the number of subjects students have to cope with but with the manner in which they are being taught and the trepidation and difficulty associated with it.

I believe that when it comes to an education system befitting a well-developed nation, the country is in dire need of a complete reform of the system.