2012, Arkib Berita, Kesedaran Alam Sekitar, Pembangunan Sekolah, Program

Five schools chosen for environment programme in Baram

Posted on September 22, 2012, Saturday
by WB Ongie, reporters@theborneopost.com.

GREEN FINGERS: Sagan plants a tree during the event. NREB deputy controller (environmental quality) Jiram Sidu is at third left.
MARUDI: Five schools under the Baram parliamentary constituency have been selected for the Natural Resources and Environment Board’s (NREB’s) Rakan Alam Sekitar programme.
The schools are SMK Marudi, SMK Telang Usan, SK Long Bedian, SK Long Teran Kanan and SK Lio Mato.
Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan thanked NREB for allocating RM30,000 for the programme, which seeks to raise awareness on the environment in schools and villages.
“With the population growing, there are also many more environment problems occurring that have affected the environment.
“These problems have become very serious and have affected global problems and this issue was discussed at the Rio de Janeiro summit in 1992 including pollution,” he said when launching the Rakan Alam Sekitar programme here recently.
Sagan called on community leaders, headmen and Village Security and Development Committee (JKKK) members to work together with the government to preserve the environment.
“Don’t throw rubbish indiscriminately including in rivers and other places,” he added.

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Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2012/09/22/five-schools-chosen-for-environment-programme-in-baram/#ixzz27MceGfHC

2012, Arkib Berita, Keselamatan Pelajar/Kesihatan, Masalah Pelajar

Form 1 student walloped by seven seniors

Posted on September 22, 2012, Saturday

HURTING BIG TIME: Mohd Nazrin pointing to his eye which is believed to have been punched by the bullies.
MIRI: A Form One student claimed he was kicked, slapped and hit with a chair by seven Form Two students in a classroom during recess on Thursday after the victim had accidently thrown an areca nut at one of his attackers a day earlier.
The victim, Mohd Nazrin Hussin, 13, said well before the blows rained down on him, someone had thrown the nut from the ground floor of their school at Jalan Dato Abang Indeh and it hit him (Mohd Nazrin). He was, at that time, standing at the corridor on the first floor.
“I picked up the nut and threw it back, but, unfortunately, it hit a Form Two student,” related Mohd Nazrin to The Borneo Post on Thursday evening outside a police station here. He was brought there by his parents Hussin Yusoff, 51, and mother Sarimah Peni, 43, to lodge a report of the alleged assault.
Mohd Nazrin said the Form Two apparently got mad and immediately challenged him to a fight.
However, when he refused to take up the challenge and walked away, the fuming senior student rounded up six Form Two students and confronted him during recess the following day.
“It was about 3.30pm then and I was in my classroom doing my English homework.
“Before I knew what hit, they repeatedly slapped, kicked and even smashed my back with a chair,” said Nazrin.
His parents were later alerted of the incident by the principal who has suspended the seven students for five days.
“We are not satisfied with how the principal settled the matter. He even asked us not to lodge a police report,” claimed Sarimah.

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Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2012/09/22/form-1-student-walloped-by-seven-seniors/#ixzz27Mc94cAV

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

TEACHERS: Focus should be on this core group

Email Print 23 September 2012 | last updated at 10:39PM

By Marisa Demori, Kuala Lumpur | letters@nstp.com.my 0 comments

I REFER to the letter “Bring focus of schools back to students” by Concerned of Putrajaya (New Sunday Times, Sept 2).
I am afraid I can’t agree with the proposition. Nothing in reality suggests that we should pay more attention to the students. On the contrary, all the facts clearly indicate that the centre of attention in the education system must be the teacher and not the student.
The market clearly indicates that student-centred education has caused a major upheaval in the education system by increasing choices at the expense of cost and quality. This is not a profitable state of affair, financially or educationally.
For one, schools are initiated by teachers. Without teachers, there would be no schools. If a school is a place to learn, then learning can also take place anywhere, for example, at home, in the library, at the workplace and even during holidays.
And the person imparting the teaching can be anyone, be they the parents, relatives, friends, colleagues or employers. However, none of these people are teachers who are qualified to teach in a school.
A teacher is a person who has studied in a school, has passed the necessary tests to confirm his or her knowledge and has received valid qualifications in the form of a certificate, diploma or a degree. Furthermore, a teacher has some years of teaching experience and references to prove it.
On top of that, a teacher’s standing as a professional is recognised by the government. Thus, it makes sense that the education system should revolve around the teachers as they are the most important component in the system.
While teachers have a clear function to perform in the general scheme of things, it is much more difficult to prove the role and function of the parent-teacher associations.
I think PTAs are more of a curse than a benefit. Indeed, PTAs are responsible for most of the problems in schools.
PTAs are made up of parents and teachers who feel elevated by the role they have in their monthly meetings but are generally incapable of doing much good for the school or students.
Back to our teachers. The fact is, holding a PhD in economics, medical science or philosophy does not make one a teacher, but the interest in teaching does.
Teaching and teachers are not the same. Everyone can teach but not everyone can be a teacher.
The fascination with the teaching profession is probably because few people are as loved by their charges as teachers are. After all, being loved is the ultimate goal of every human being.
The writer said he was sending his daughter to an international school, which was “vastly different” from a national school.
Being “vastly different” from a national school does not mean “better than” a national school, does it?

Read more: TEACHERS: Focus should be on this core group – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/teachers-focus-should-be-on-this-core-group-1.147124#ixzz27MaNciAk

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

Parents need to educate kids on sex

Sunday September 23, 2012

THE report “Frank and factual approach” in StarEducate (Sept 9) was an informative piece and deserves to be taken seriously by all parents and teachers.

Teaching children the facts on sex and sexual development needs to be done with care, sensitivity and in a holistic manner.

Coping with changes in sexual development is an issue every child must face, and the challenge is even more critical for children during their formative years. Educators and parents must therefore regard sexuality as part of human drives and needs that must be correctly channelled.

The necessity for giving correct information about sexual development and sexuality to children is of great importance. Children nowadays are exposed to knowledge about sex through the mass media, Internet, books, movies, their peers and relationships.

And if they are being misled and not taught to differentiate between what is appropriate and what is not, they are most likely going to end up exhibiting inappropriate behaviour or falling victims to evil and unscrupulous adults.

Parents can and must play an important role in imparting knowledge of sex to their young ones. Children must be taught to know that they could be used as objects by some adults to gratify their deviant sexual needs.

One very critical area is the need to inform the kids as to what constitutes “appropriate and inappropriate touching” and parents need to emphasise this aspect to their young sons and daughters.

A child needs to be constantly reminded about who, how, when and where he or she is touched. It could be when a child is visiting a doctor or in a classroom.

Gone are the days when we reminded our children to be wary of strangers, these days we have to remind them to look out for neighbours, friends and even relatives.

After all, it has been proven that many cases of sexual abuse involving children are committed by people who are known to the victim, some of whom are “trusted” family members.

I think that parents must open up and be willing to talk and communicate with their children on all matters relating to sex, physical and mental abuse.

Today, sex education is indeed important and practical as we cannot expect teenagers to follow rules blindly without knowing why they should follow them. It is important to explain to our youngsters the need to abstain from sex especially unprotected sex until after marriage.

Children must be taught responsible sexual behaviour from the time they are ready for such instruction. It is also vital to teach them safety and preventive measures so that they will know how to handle situations should they be sexually assaulted or abused.

The many rape cases involving young girls and abandoned babies are worrying and we all can play a role by reducing and even preventing these tragedies.

A sound sexual education will save the child untold stress from guilt, fear, remorse, pain and retribution in the future.

Children are our greatest hope and they must be treated with respect and dignity.


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

No taboo in talking about ‘it’

Sunday September 23, 2012

AS a Children’s Court advisor, I found your recent article on sex education to be informative.

Sex education is likely to help young people act and behave responsibly.

With the many cases of teens and young women dumping their infants as a result of unwanted pregnancies, and the high rate of abortions and sexually-transmitted diseases, it is about time that sex education is taught in schools.

I think schoolchildren should be given a holistic view of sex, sexuality and reproductive health. What are we waiting for?

Evidence shows that sex education programmes have a positive effect on teens as they take on a more “guarded and safer” approach when it comes to their choice of sexual partners.

Such knowledge also enables them to make informed decisions when they become young adults later in preventing unintended pregnancies, baby dumping and getting sexually-transmitted infections and diseases.

Many parents dread speaking to their children on sex as they are embarrassed and have no idea as to how to approach the topic. However, it must be done with an openness and in an easy-going manner to put their children at ease.

As long as sex education is presented in a wholesome manner, with its biological and moral aspects intact, there is less danger of children becoming prey to irresponsible adults or sexual perverts.

The time has come for us to teach even preschoolers to make sure that they are aware of the “right” and “wrong” touch and other inappropriate gestures.

Changing social conditions, rapid urbanisation, an early start to puberty and delays in marriage, and the gradual decline of extended families have all contributed to changes in relationships and sexual behaviour among young people.

As parents and adults, we have to teach and guide children on all issues pertaining to sex and sexuality.


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

Voicing concerns and seeking answers

Sunday September 23, 2012


The proponents of English attended the two-hour forum in full force to air their views, voice their concerns and put forth even some sensitive questions to the speakers.

They brought up the need to revert to the system of teaching Science and Maths in English. Questions were also forwarded on initiating English-medium schools which they likened to other vernacular schools in the country.

Questioned on why learning English was regarded by some quarters as challenging and threatening the status and position of Bahasa Malaysia, and the retraining of teachers, many of whom were indifferent and unenthusiastic, were among the topics brought up.

The panelists comprising Malaysian Employers Federation excutive director Shamsudin Bardan, British Council English Language Services Director Sam Ayton, Albukhary International University deputy vice-chancellor Prof Emeritus Dr Omar Farouk Sheikh Ahmad and Talentcorp Corporatin Bhd CEO Johan Merican Mahmood handled the questions with ease and confidence while moderator former deputy director-general of education Datuk Noor Rezan Bapoo Hashim facilitated the enlightening discussion offering her own take on some of the issues put forward.

Below are some of the questions raised by participants and feedback from the panelists.

Why is the Govern-ment’s mind so closed when it comes to English-medium schools? Is it not just another vernacular school? — Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim, chairman of the Parent Action Group for Education.

I have trained foreign students and have seen them progress from having zero English knowledge to having a very good command of English.

What do we have to do to change the attitude of Malaysians? It is the Colonial hangover. There is a perception that if you speak in English, there is something wrong with you. We must change the attitude … why do we have to be so against English? — Chew Seng Choon, freelance English instructor and trainer.

How do you retrain teachers? There are teachers whose voices and style of teaching can be boring.

They don’t motivate and often kill a student’s enthusiasm and love for the subject. — Rita Tan Siew Lee, retired teacher.

There are 11 official languages in my country, South Africa, yet the language of business and communication is English. We must look at English as a subject, it can complement and need not replace one’s mother tongue. It should be looked purely from a non-political stand. — Debbie Pozzobon, vice-president, Leadership Development, Leaderonomics.

How much money is being spent to train unemployed graduates so that they are confident and competent in their respective skills and in the English language, to rectify the current situation? What can be done to stop the brain drain? — Mark Suresh, entrepreneur from Johor.

Why are grad-uates not gi-ven enough opportunities to use English knowledge and communicate effectively? — Geoff Andrew, Managing Director of Speak4Success Sdn Bhd.

As a former English language teacher, there is a stigma that just because I teach English, I am no longer a Malay, Malaysian or Muslim. That stigma has to go. For Malaysians in Malaysia, our children need to understand and learn English … if you put them in Japan or Russia, they have to adapt and learn the language there too.

Why can’t we look at the language (English) for its functionality without associating it with race and religion?

Attitudes must change. It must start at home. The mindset of parents must change and need to be retuned. Teachers too need to look at it positively otherwise they will be tainted by political factors and differences.

I remember when I went to an English-medium school, I was never conscious of colour. We ate and played together … that possibly happened because we were in an English-medium school. When I was teaching, I always stressed on the need to have a broad perspective. If you have a broad perspective of things, you can look at things in a much better way. But if you have a tunnel vision of things …

Language training is not about the teacher … the students actually have to engage in the learning process. A child has to learn by doing. When a child engages, learning becomes more effective. There must be that engagement between teachers and students too.

We can have the best policies in the world but it needs to be executed and implemented … how well it seeps down to the ground is just as important. — Datuk Noor Rezan Bapoo Hashim

The forum is an excellent platform to highlight the need for young people to know and be proficient in English as it does provide greater opportunities.

English proficiency is certainly a key enabler to high-income jobs and better economic opportunities. As for the brain drain issue, it is nothing unique to Malaysia alone as it happens in other countries too. The cost to train unemployed graduates is about RM50mil a year but it needs to be done … civil society must play its part. — Johan Merican Mahmood

One way is to not so much focus on the teachers’ voice but to let the students use their voice — there is a need to increase student engagement. — Sam Ayton

Employers want employees with good communicative skills in English.

Potential candidates may not even be employed as they do not have the necessary English proficiency. There are training programmes to help unemployed graduates get skills and most of them have managed to find jobs in government-linked-companies after training.

The majority of employers are not keen to use the 1% HRDF (Human Resource Development Fund) levy to train employees in English.

Some employers feel that if their employees are trained in English, they would become more marketable and may look for greener pastures.

But the more enlightened employers will use the 1% HRDF levy to train their staff in English.

However as a rule, most employers do not believe that any type of English language training is necessary. — Shamsudin Bardan

Related Story:
English — the way to go!

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

Adding value to learning ascent

Sunday September 23, 2012


The fast-track plan for high achievers is a good initiative but in doing so, the specific needs of ‘gifted’ children should also be given equal attention.

FOR THE past year, I have lobbied for educational acceleration, for gifted children, on behalf of and with, the National Association for Gifted Children, Malaysia (NAGCM).

Most recently, I spoke up for educational acceleration in a speech at the National Education Dialogue at Shah Alam, Selangor. I seemed to have “struck a chord”, because my short speech attracted rousing applause.

I was pleasantly surprised to find so many people in the audience, supportive of such a gifted education initiative.

Now, I learn that the government is going to implement an acceleration programme aimed at “high achievers”. This will involve one year of acceleration at the beginning of primary school and another year, in secondary school.

This will mean that “high achieving” school leavers might be just 16 years old, having had up to two years of acceleration.

Yet, I must note an assumption that has been made. I understand that the initiative is aimed at the top 15% of students who are described as “high achievers”.

The material I have read suggests that this will address the needs of gifted children.

However, what has not been understood, is that gifted children are NOT necessarily high achievers. They are, quite often, in fact, underachievers.

A gifted child may be extraordinarily intelligent — but very ordinary in school performance, or, indeed, below average in school performance, if their needs are not being met.


A gifted child, who underachieves, may be doing so out of sheer boredom. An education that does not meet their intellectual needs, will tend to “switch them off”. Such a child will be overlooked by any system that deliberately selects the top 15% of “high achievers”.

What is needed, therefore, is a system that tests all children for evidence of giftedness, or at least, all children that a teacher, or parent, brings to the attention of the educational system, as a potentially gifted child. Once identified, such children could be offered suitable acceleration.

There is another potential pitfall with the proposed system of acceleration: two years of acceleration may be enough for the moderately gifted, or thereabouts (with IQs of 130 or more), but it may not be enough for the more gifted students of significantly greater intellectual endowment.

This scheme, therefore, is a step forward, but may not be enough of a step for a small subset of gifted children.

For them, the possibility of much greater acceleration, may prove necessary. The numbers of children who might need such intervention will always be small, but they should not be ignored.

For this group, the most appropriate response, would be an individual one: a response that matches their exact needs, with an exact intervention.

For some, this would mean a few, or even many years of acceleration, across the board — just how many depends on the profundity of their gifts.

For others, it might not mean acceleration in all subjects at all, but just in one or two subjects. Each case needs to be addressed individually.

Saving money

Acceleration is an educational intervention with one unexpected merit: it could save money. If 15% of children were in the acceleration programme, it would shorten their basic education by two years, from eleven years to just nine. This would mean a reduction in the need for educational resources and teachers of 2.73% across the whole education system.

What this means is that by helping “high achievers” in this way — and hopefully the gifted too — educational resources can be liberated for use on other students.

Thus, educational acceleration is good for everyone in the education system, since it saves money for other students to benefit from.

Some may wonder why the gifted should be placed in an acceleration programme. “Why not stay “top of the class” in one’s own age range?” They think.

What such naysayers do not understand is that the gifts of gifted children need to be nourished, and stimulated, by an appropriately challenging environment.

If they are not, such children “switch off”, underachieve and lose all interest in school.

A child who could have grown into an adult of great contribution to society, becomes instead a dropout, or worse. Let us save our gifted children, from wasting their lives and welcome this acceleration initiative, as the first step towards ensuring that Malaysia’s gifted children get the chance to become the best they can be — for their sakes and ours.

Irishman Valentine Cawley, 44, is a psychology researcher focusing on giftedness. He is also chairman of the Research Committee of the National Association for Gifted Children, Malaysia (NAGCM). He is a graduate in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom and has had a lifelong interest in giftedness. He is an author, actor, magazine founder and editor, physicist, teacher and performance artist. He keeps a blog on giftedness at

For the gifted

The Australian International School Malaysia (AISM) in partnership with the National Association for Gifted Children Malaysia (NAGCM), will be organising a Gifted Education Conference from 9am to 5pm on Nov 10 at AISM.

The conference will provide parents and educators with resources, tools and opportunities to support gifted children through talks and hands-on workshop sessions showcasing international and local gifted education specialists.

For more information, contact
events@aism.edu.my or call the school’s Marketing Department at 03-8943 0622.