EDUCATION: Single session still the best way

19 October 2012, Friday

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I REFER to “One-session school system within 5 to 10 years” (NST, Oct 10).
Parents are elated that the last 15 per cent of schools that still remain double sessions will be made single session by 2022.
We were disheartened when the 10th Malaysia Plan did not provide for a single school to be built.
It is ironic that in Chapter 6: Ministry Transformation of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 (MEB), the ministry claims double-session schools are comparable to single-session schools, particularly in terms of student outcomes, co-curricular activities, infrastructure, discipline and overcrowding.
It implies there is no benefit to turn double-session schools into single-session ones.
We welcome single-session schools, nonetheless.
While the MEB suggests enforcing student enrolment limits and expanding the number of classrooms as an immediate solution, the priority should be to build more schools. At present, for every seven primary schools, there are only three secondary schools to accommodate the student elevation.
With single-session schools, the deputy prime minister cum education minister suggested that school hours could be extended and more time spent on English, Mathematics and Science.
The MEB goes on to say in Chapter 5: Teachers and School Leaders that under the sub-topic of quality of teaching, “50 per cent of the lessons were observed to be delivered unsatisfactorily”.
In addition, the ministry’s Education Management Information System database indicates that teachers only spend between 2.4 and 2.9 hours a day, on average, teaching in the classroom.
The focus should instead be on achieving 100 per cent lesson delivery during class time.
Once this is done, a complete revamp of the timetable would be in order.
Adjustments could be made by extending the period length and aligning subjects to the time of day with strict adherence of time for assembly, sports in the morning, more emphasis on music, art and other languages, with the more practical subjects in the afternoon such as science laboratory work and living skills.
The introduction of teaching assistants will be timely.
Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim, chairman, Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur

Read more: EDUCATION: Single session still the best way – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/education-single-session-still-the-best-way-1.158963#ixzz2A0VZbyMO

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