2012, Arkib Berita, Pembangunan Sekolah

STU: Incorporate varsity assessment format

Posted on July 18, 2012, Wednesday

by Peter Boon, reporters@theborneopost.com.

SIBU: Sarawak Teachers Union (STU) has suggested that the rebranding of Form Six education include incorporating the university semester format of assessment to better reflect students’ ability.

Its president, William Ghani Bina, said yesterday the format would be fairer to Form Six students as they would be assessed periodically rather than sitting for one big examination towards the end of Upper Six to decide their fate.

“Like developed countries, the focus should be on educating students and not be too examination-oriented in approach. STU is all for the rebranding of Form Six education, but we suggest that there be three examinations rather than one major examination at the end of Upper Six to examine the students to determine whether they make the grade or not.

“Perhaps, the first examination be held in Lower Six, and the second towards the middle of year in Upper Six and the final at the end of the sixth form.

“In that way, it will be fairer to students and better reflect their academic ability. Among other things, a semester style similar to that of universities would prepare students mentally for tertiary education,” Ghani told The Borneo Post.

He was asked to respond to Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s announcement on Form Six education to undergo rebranding to raise its image by being in tune with pre-university education like at the matriculation colleges and science foundation centres.

Bernama quoted Muhyiddin as saying among the measures to be taken would be to separate the Sixth Form students from normal schools and place them in special study centres.

Ghani called on the Ministry of Education (MOE) to ensure there are enough qualified teachers to teach sixth formers if they were to be separated from normal schools.

He added: “It is most important to ensure enough proper places for students to study. Equally important is to ensure there are adequate resources for them.

“This includes provision of a well-stocked library with up-to-date materials as buying books can be rather costly. It is important to give priority to make available enough budget to have a professional library.”

Meanwhile, educationalist Felician Teo strongly felt that the rebranding of Form Six education should not be just about creating a new pre-u student image but initiating more far reaching approaches such as standardising the local pre-university qualifications.

He suggested standardising the local pre-university qualifications, making the sixth-form, college matriculation and science foundation on par with each other in terms of course duration, programme content, structure as well as delivery.

“The DPM’s announcement on rebranding Form Six recently is a clear winner with students and parents alike. Over the years, our local sixth-form leading to the STPM examinations has increasingly been viewed as the last option for Form Five leavers intending for a tertiary education.

“The reasons are multitude; the most prominent being that Form Six is a much longer route as a pre-university qualification compared to matriculation or foundation studies by some six months.

“However, the rebranding should not be just about creating a new pre-u student image by offering sixth-form in separate centres based in certain schools, doing away with school uniforms and having a separate set of teachers,” Teo said.

He added it was perfectly fine to have different types of pre-u qualifications but they must all be seen to be offered at the same quality level and standard.

He noted at the end of the day, pursuing a pre-university qualification within a university campus setting would still be the preferred choice of Form Five leavers.

Apart from the better image and social perception, being on a tertiary campus offers the student a different learning and social environment, better learning resources, earlier exposure to university lecturers and ultimately, a seamless progression to university-level studies.

“Within such a setting, students will fast adapt to independent learning, higher thinking skills as well as develop a more mature outlook on life,” said Teo.

Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2012/07/18/stu-incorporate-varsity-assessment-format/#ixzz20x0RGPkO

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2012, Arkib Berita, Bahasa, Forum, Masalah Guru, Masalah Pelajar, Pembangunan Sekolah, Rencana, Sistem, Subjek, Surat

ENGLISH TEST: Put through needless stress

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

By C.S, Skudai, Johor 0 comments

RECENTLY, English language teachers, like me, at government secondary schools were instructed to sit the Cambridge Placement Test online.

We were not told the purpose of this test. It was upon us even before we could comprehend the situation.

Haphazardly done, the test only served to demotivate us.

First, the teachers were clueless as to why they were subjected to the test by the Education Ministry. Some of us are going to retire in a year or two.

What effect it would have either on us or the education system, only the powers-that-be know.

Secondly, the trauma and the inconvenience we experienced while sitting through the online test were indescribable.

We were told to sit for the exam only at school and under the supervision of the senior assistant. Fine, but our ordeal began only after that.

We tried to enter the system with the password given to us but to no avail. Undeterred, we tried and tried for a good three hours.

It was only after 2pm that some of us could get through the system and sat for the test.

Imagine the stress it caused! We were exhausted

Mind you, in between we had to rush to our classes to teach. It was extremely exhausting.

The people responsible for this mess owe us an explanation. We should not have been subjected to this sort of harassment.

Teaching is already stressful. As if that is not enough, we were saddled with mind-boggling tasks like this. Can someone in the ministry provide us a suitable explanation?

Read more: ENGLISH TEST: Put through needless stress – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/english-test-put-through-needless-stress-1.108667#ixzz20wz3i463

2012, Arkib Berita, Bahasa, Forum, Masalah Guru, Pembangunan Sekolah, Rencana, Subjek, Surat

ENGLISH TEST: Not a true measure of language proficiency

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

By Samuel Yesuiah, Seremban, Negri Sembilan 0 comments

THE online Cambridge Placement Test has come under fire from many English language teachers. The letter, “Make role models in ministry sit the test first” (NST, July 13), has proposed that excellent teachers in schools and English language education officers at district education offices, state Education Departments and the ministry sit the test first.

The test was held recently nationwide for all English language teachers and lecturers.

Many English language teachers were not happy with the manner the test was conducted. Many fear that they will be called to attend special courses if they do not do well in the tests.

Though the test was supposed to last half an hour, some ended up taking three to four hours to complete the test. Whenever there was no Internet access or connection, the test stopped automatically and resumed when access was re-established.

The test had grammar questions and a listening component where one had to use a headphone and listen to a recording and tick the correct answer.

There was also a comprehension test questions with multiple choice answers. The text was rather lengthy and answering comprehension questions by painstakingly scrolling up and down the screen searching for clues was exhaustive.

Most of the senior English educators, who were not computer savvy, had much trouble handling the mouse and the computer.

Many fear that they may be penalised wrongfully based on the results of the online test despite the assurance given by Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong (“English test not meant to belittle them” — NST, July 6).

Many teachers feel that they may be victimised by the results of the test which did not measure their true proficiency level.

Read more: ENGLISH TEST: Not a true measure of language proficiency – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/english-test-not-a-true-measure-of-language-proficiency-1.108669#ixzz20wy9YzR2

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

SCIENCE EDUCATION: Revise science and tech syllabi

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

By Kauselya Muniandy, Ipoh, Perak 0 comments

I REFER to the report “ASM wants improvements in teaching of science” (NST, July 11).

The teaching of Science and Mathematics in primary schools lacks sufficient input and the syllabus needs to be revised.

Topics on agriculture and environmental issues are not given preference in our primary and secondary schools.

As an agriculture-based country, we should develop an interest in agriculture among youngsters from school days.

This is to ensure future talents for innovations in the agricultural sector so that development in the sector grows apace.

As a postgraduate student in environmental technology management, I can see that we lack environment-related professionals.

According to ASM president Tan Sri Dr Ahmad Tajuddin Ali, we also lack skilled human capital in agriculture and the environmental field. This shortage is because of a lack of interest among youngsters.

Critical thinking and current issues are two main aspects in learning science.

The science and technology subject syllabi should be revised more frequently to keep up with the latest findings and developments. More critical thinking approaches should be used during laboratory lessons.

Read more: SCIENCE EDUCATION: Revise science and tech syllabi – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/science-education-revise-science-and-tech-syllabi-1.109210#ixzz20wxJHero

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

SCIENCE EDUCATION: Not too late to spark interest

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

By Liong Kam Chong, Seremban, Negri Sembilan 0 comments

THE Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) has urged the government to improve drastically the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (“ASM wants improvements in teaching of science”– NST, July 11).

Academy president Tan Sri Dr Ahmad Tajuddin Ali lamented the shortage of scientific talents in the country and while emphasising that the talent issue must be resolved urgently, said: “The education and culture-building dimension will also have to be addressed if the country is to enjoy a more sustained growth in innovation”.

In the column “A particular discovery” (NST, July 12), the columnist related a recent discovery in nuclear research and gave a precise and concise explanation of some modern physics concepts necessary to understand the discovery.

His call to Malaysians to “bring science into the national conversation”, “let’s create a buzz” and “let’s use its discovery to spark interest in science”, is timely.

However, our local “scientific” community does not seem excited. Our schools are not talking about it. And, we have yet to hear from our universities.

Months earlier, the Education Ministry had announced that it would study the reasons for the declining interest in Science and find ways to reverse it (“Move to boost students’ interest in Science” — NST, Feb 3).

Shouldn’t we be concerned? These observations seem to point to the fact that our students are not showing sufficient interest in Science and science-related courses, Our community, as a whole, is also oblivious and indifferent to the latest discoveries in science.

This is no way for us to meet the sixth challenge of Vision 2020: to establish a scientific and progressive society, a society that is innovative and forward-looking, one that is not only a consumer of technology but also a contributor to the scientific and technological civilisation of the future.

Allow me to share my thoughts on what we must do, especially at the school level.

FIRST, there is a need to change our mindset that “science is difficult”. In a world of science and technology, knowing the basics helps us to live a better and fuller life. We should start having the view that, “Now everybody can do Science!”

Mental preparedness and belief form the necessary first step to embracing science.

If Arts stream students can go on to successfully acquire professional qualifications in Arts subjects, I am confident that these same students have the intelligence and academic prowess to handle Science subjects in Form Four and Form Five.

SECOND, consider doing away with the Science-Arts streaming after Form Three. Students need to gain a better and deeper understanding of the different subjects before they make the decision to specialise.

In addition, it is highly necessary for Arts streamers to learn much more Science than they do at present.

All students in Form Four should enter a General stream, where a broader Science syllabus is taught compared with the current Science taught to Arts stream students.

At the same time, the Science syllabus for the General stream should not include the preparatory topics for higher learning found in the present Pure Science syllabus. This way, everyone learns enough Science and there is still sufficient time for other subjects.

THIRD, we need to once again accord greater importance to effective Science teaching-learning methods that incorporate experiments, activities and field trips into lessons.

In their eagerness to complete the syllabus, many teachers tend to “lecture” in every lesson. They even provide answers or results for experiments that students are supposed to do on their own, citing time constraints.

If all students are to learn more Science, it is the duty of teachers to make the subject more interesting and challenging.

Easy methods that emphasise mainly on scoring in examinations must be “used” with much caution, lest they make students robotic in their learning.

Students who are “fully guided” in learning science will not be innovative, creative or inventive. They must be taught, coached and trained to think, operate and work as a scientist, a researcher even. Besides gaining knowledge, they must also learn to acquire the appropriate scientific skills.

Learning science should be a holistic and exciting experience.

FOURTH, lest I be accused of raising yet again an issue “already settled”, I am adamant that Science and Mathematics should be taught in English, at least from Form One onwards.

This is a realistic approach, taking cognisance of the strong sentiment on the ground and the unfortunate political expediency that makes it difficult to “enforce” the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English in primary schools.

Moreover, since the ongoing policy of Upholding Bahasa Malaysia and Strengthening English (MBMMBI) is expected to bear fruit, can we then be optimistic that English proficiency will increase by the time students reach Form One, thus making them ready for Science and Mathematics in English?

With the basics firmly grasped after six years of primary English lessons, learning Science and Mathematics in English in secondary school should be manageable.

Students, therefore, will be able to access the whole world of English, Science and Mathematics.

FINALLY, as for the columnist’s closing questions: “Who am I?” and “Why am I?”, for this, I will have to search my inner spiritual being.

The answers are not likely to be found among the fermions and bosons!

Read more: SCIENCE EDUCATION: Not too late to spark interest – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/science-education-not-too-late-to-spark-interest-1.109214#ixzz20wwhN2FF

2012, Arkib Berita, Forum, Masalah Pelajar, Pembangunan Sekolah, Program, Subjek

EDUCATION: Frequent reshuffles affect them

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

By C.P., Subang Jaya, Selangor 0 comments

THE Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah exam is due in mid-September and parents can see the stress and tension the Year 6 pupils are undergoing. But the headmistress of a Subang Jaya school seems unaware of this.

When school reopened this year, the pupils were reshuffled based on last year’s third-term exam results. They were again reshuffled after this year’s first-term exam. The school intends to reshuffle two more times, after the Percubaan 1 UPSR this month and again after Percubaan II UPSR next month.

I do not see any logic in this. It will cause further stress to the pupils and affect their studies. They will have to readjust themselves to a different class, new time table, different teachers and different classmates each time.

How are the pupils going to excel when they are exposed to so much stress? After the recent reshuffle, many pupils were badly affected emotionally, especially those “demoted” to the C and D classes. Many are reluctant to go to school and cry.

Read more: EDUCATION: Frequent reshuffles affect them – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/education-frequent-reshuffles-affect-them-1.109202#ixzz20wsDBSc8

2012, Arkib Berita, Forum, ICT/Teknologi, Masalah Pelajar, Pembangunan Sekolah, Rencana, Surat

More indepth study is needed

Wednesday July 18, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/7/18/focus/11681685&sec=focus

I FEEL it is not a good idea to allow students to bring handphones, tablets, laptops and similar electronic gadgets to school from next year.

As a former student, a soon-to-be teacher and a concerned citizen, this feels like the Government is legalising what the students have been doing illegally all this while.

Let’s look at a normal classroom today, where we have about 35 to 40 students per class. If each student were to bring a gadget to the classroom, then, how is the teacher going to conduct the class?

Is there really a need for laptops and tablets in the class when we are still conventional in our education system, depending entirely on textbooks and revision books?

What happens to computer rooms and the large amount of money used to buy computers? Will they be white elephants in the computer rooms then?

This will also cause discipline problems in school. For one, students will be busy texting and going online when there is assembly, or when classes are going on.

If the gadget is taken away, they will argue that it is legal for them to bring them to school and therefore use it.

Besides, there will be more problems with students busy taking pictures and uploading every single thing on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, which will, in the long run, be a problem for the students and the schools.

Not every student can own gadgets like iPads and tablets. Those who can’t will be left out and some may resort to stealing.

There are many other problems and issues to be considered before students can bring such gadgets to school.

As for schools, there are many other things that need more attention, compared to allowing students to bring gadgets to school.

K LATHA BK

Serdang, Selangor