Posted on July 18, 2012, Wednesday
by Peter Boon, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.