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

International exposure good for principals

09 November 2012 | last updated at 11:55PM

  By Datuk Dr Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid  | iabaiw@yahoo.com 0 comments

SOCIAL CHANGE: School heads will benefit from exchanging ideas with counterparts from overseas


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IN the 1990s the National Institute of Educational Management and Leadership-Institute Aminuddin Baki (IAB) conducted exciting exchange programmes with Australian school principals.

Since then, selected school principals from Malaysia continue to have opportunities for various types of foreign study visit experiences. In 1996, IAB organised the eighth conference of the prestigious Commonwealth Council of Educational Administration and Management (CCEAM). Datuk Seri Najib Razak, then education minister, was the recipient of its Distinguished Fellowship Award.

Sixteen years later I was invited to be the keynote speaker at this year’s recently concluded CCEAM Conference in Limassol, Cyprus. In almost all sectors and fields of knowledge Malaysian scholars, civil servants, business leaders, non-governmental organisation leaders were invited to present keynote addresses.

This shows that after 55 years of national development, particularly in human expertise and experiential development, Malaysians can share knowledge and lessons with other counterparts worldwide.

The story of the academic, intellectual and expertise development of individuals is inextricably linked with the development of Malaysian institutions and knowledge generation culture.

In the case of the development of the principalship stressed in Malaysian education reforms, there are many lessons to be learnt from other societies. For instance, the continuing professional development of Australian principals is worthy of study.

Australian principals are given international exposure by attending the CCEAM conference and study visits to Malta, Cyprus and Greece.

The exposure is not just about school and educational institution visits and discussions with colleagues regarding the clinical as well as meta-cognition aspects of leadership.

Among other experiences is the multicultural exposure of looking at one’s own culture from a distance as well as from other different perspectives, fostering distancing from parochialism, and curbing professional and cultural bigotry. During the training, making professional connections with colleagues from elsewhere becomes a treasured experience, which could lead to lifelong friendships.

One significant feature of the training is that it is guided by the leading professors in the field. Professor Frank Crowther accompanied the group of principals and became the “mahaguru”, guiding them as they reflected on every aspect of their group and individual growths.

Crowther is the writer of such bestsellers like Developing Teacher Leaders and From School Improvement to Sustained Capacity — The Parallel Leadership Pathway.

Every principal is guided to examine the various analyses and ideas expounded by the CCEAM keynote speakers, as well as those from other researchers and scholars. Every idea of value and of interest receives the attention of the professional knowledge and “best practices” seekers.

Professor Bill Mulford and I were in attendance to facilitate the in-depth explorations and mastery of ideas. The study abroad is exciting not just because of the travel but also becomes the intellectual and worldview turning point in the thought processes of principals.

Among the ideas explored were those from the keynote address of Professors Jacky Lumby, Bill Mulford, Herbert Altrichter and Petros Padshiardis.

The ideas include the question of whether educational leaders are complicit against the struggle for social justice; social capital bonding within schools, bridging with other schools and linking with the world outside; coping with the politicisation of education; not to allow poverty to define educational experiences, to transform and not reproduce students as clones, the global nature of indigenous knowledge; the state of the art and science of educational leadership and entrepreneurship, and search for mature knowledge and wisdom.

One important insight is that principals do not have direct impact on students’ outcomes and academic achievements, it’s the teachers who do.

However, principals do have indirect impact on all aspects of the ethos of the school, including the high expectations in instructional leadership.

One of the most important ideas explored is that the critical success factor for educational outcomes is the social development of students. The research evidence is that when students have mastery of their own socialisation processes, their social development, relationships and self-identity, academic and other educational outcomes are just in their stride.

The all important lesson is that those who are principals must also have mastery of their own social and intellectual development. If students are to have global mindsets and be ready for global citizenry, teachers and principals must themselves be prepared for the challenges.

The curriculum of teacher education and principalship training must, therefore, include opportunities for the mastery of the real world, beyond the classroom, beyond national hypes, beyond generational bandwagoning.

Writer is a deputy vice-chancellor, INTI Laureate International University

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

Tickling kids’ science interest

09 November 2012 | last updated at 11:55PM

To attract the young, science must be taught creatively

KNOWLEDGE, whether in the sciences or the arts, should not spark the synapses of our brains differently, and potentially everyone ought to be able to put their intellect around both these categories of academic disciplines. Just because the current environment in the study of the sciences does little to stimulate the minds of the nation’s young to make them want to study Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics, for instance, it is no reason to assume that these subjects are hard to grasp. Rather, there ought to be a way to make these subjects intriguing enough so that young Malaysians will pursue them as interests and thus increase the number of science stream enrolment in schools where the development of human capital begins.

The alarmingly low rate of enrolment in the sciences in schools needs to be addressed urgently. Currently, heavily skewed to the Arts, local university graduates will not be able to meet the country’s growing need for human capital to man the K-economy, which demands expertise in the different scientific disciplines. Even now, the government is pushing to transform the economy in this direction: Malaysia will by 2015 produce three global information and communications technology titans. The policies are in place, the 2013 Budget has set aside allocations to make the objective realisable and the government agencies are ready. Manning this goal, however, is of grave concern — one that has given rise to the suggestion of incentivising parents, which aims to secure their help to develop their children’s interest and capability in the sciences and thus increasing enrolment. After all, a child cannot join the science stream at the drop of a hat. They must qualify for the privilege.

That the problem is not one of inadequate higher education institutions, which would be improved by 2015 when Pagoh becomes a university town and a multi-university higher education hub, is what is shifting the focus elsewhere and parents are an obvious target. Parents though cannot do this without help. Science centres in every major city would be ideal as a place to trigger a child’s initial curiosity, but they must be designed accordingly. Malaysia needs its own Smithsonian Institute, a Natural History Museum, a Museum of Mankind and much more that will contribute towards the development of scientific interest among the young. Science holiday camps revolving around the specific intention of making science, mathematics and technology accessible and seemingly simple is another avenue. Children can be identified by teachers to participate. The fact is science subjects are not difficult, rather it is currently being taught without much imagination.

Read more: Tickling kids’ science interest – Editorial – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/editorial/tickling-kids-science-interest-1.168824?cache=03%2F7.218061#ixzz2BgpJHR7S

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

SCIENCE: Adopt a practical syllabus

09 November 2012 | last updated at 11:35PM

By Liong Kam Chong, Seremban, Negri Sembilan | letters@nstp.com.my 0 comments

I REFER to “Incentives to study science” (NST, Nov 7). Only 20 per cent of Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) candidates this year are from the science stream, well below the national target of 60 per cent.

Alarmed at the lack of interest in science among students, the Education Ministry is proposing monetary incentives in terms of tax breaks for parents whose children opt for this stream. Offering of scholarships and textbook assistance to encourage more students to enrol in the stream is also being planned.

The 60:40 science: arts policy was first introduced in 1967 by the Higher Education Planning Committee in order to meet projected demand for science graduates. The policy has since been restated and re-emphasised multiple times: in the 1999 National Education Policy, the 2000 National Science and Technology Policy II, and the 2001 Education Development Plan.

Over the years, the extent to which 60:40 targets have been reached has varied. Science stream enrolment reached a high of 37 per cent in 1998 before dropping to a low of less than 20 per cent as is reported now. Notably, through it all, it was never anywhere near 60 per cent at all. One reason given for the drop was the perceived difficulty of science subjects.

Interestingly, the Malaysia Education Blueprint (MEB) 2013-2025 preliminary report gives a new, different perspective to the 60:40 science: arts policy.

The MEB states that in recognition of the growing economic importance of vocational education, the ministry will adjust its 60:40 policy to encourage greater enrolment in the vocational pathway.

The new target is for 60 per cent of upper secondary enrolment in the regular academic pathway (either arts or science) with the balance 40 per cent in the vocational pathway. The 60:40 ratio will also be applied to the academic pathway. That is, 60 per cent of students in the academic pathway should be focused on science (equivalent to 36 per cent of total upper secondary enrolment) and 40 per cent on arts (equivalent to 24 per cent of total upper secondary enrolment).

In essence, we are looking at 36:24:40 in science: arts: vocational. This is a little puzzling. Are we now to envisage that out of 100 students completing SPM, 36 are to be from the science, 24 arts and 40 vocational, thus giving a “premium” to vocational education?

Whither our 60:40 science: arts policy? Are we progressing or are we regressing?

Taking into consideration the urgent need to produce more science-based graduates, the value and versatility of vocational education, the waning interest for science among our students and the hitherto seemingly unattainable 60:40 target, perhaps it is appropriate to do a little thinking out of the box.

FIRST, the present practice of streaming academic students after Form 3 into science and arts needs reassessing. At this early stage, students should be exposed to a more general and broader curriculum rather than a tight, compartmentalised and narrow one.

Streaming them academically into science and arts should be done only in Form 6/Matriculation/Foundation classes.

So, what science studies then for the Form 4 and 5 students? We should begin to consider having one common Science syllabus for all students in the academic, vocational as well as technical streams.

We must also take cognisance that our present arts stream students are not learning enough science; they definitely need to know more science, given the fast expanding knowledge in this field.

I am proposing that all students in Form 4 and 5, irrespective of whether they are in the academic, vocational or technical stream, pursue a common science syllabus that is broader and more practical than the present arts stream science subjects.

At the same time, this “new” science syllabus is to be spared of the “higher-learning preparatory materials” found in the present pure science subjects.

This way, everybody gets to learn sufficient science and there is still enough teaching-learning time left for other subjects.

Lest we fear that our Form 4 and 5 students may lose their edge in the pure sciences, we may know that much of the “higher-learning preparatory materials” now being taught to Form 4 and 5 pure science students can be carried forward to Form 6/Matriculation/Foundation science courses.

Moreover, the introduction phase of these courses always repeats or revises materials currently taught to the Form 4 and Form 5 pure sciences students (I can attest to this as I had taught Form 4, 5 and 6 Physics and Mathematics).

With the impending abolition of the Penilaian Menengah Rendah examination, it is an opportune time for the curriculum people in the ministry to begin designing the curriculum and syllabus for the new common Science subject.

SECOND, we need to discard our mindset and perception that “Science is difficult”, purportedly a main causal factor in declining science interest. We live in a world of science and technology. Knowing basic science and technology helps us to live a better and fuller life.

And, we should begin to think: “Now everybody can do Science!” (AirAsia chief Tan Sri Tony Fernandes who sits in the MEB panel will like this). Our mental preparedness and belief is a necessary first step to our successful science learning.

I always believe that if the present Arts stream students can proceed to acquire degrees in the Arts subjects of their choice and, for some, going on to attain highly esteemed professional qualifications, a master’s and even a PhD in their choice of Arts specialisation, then these same students are certainly endowed with sufficient intelligence and academic prowess to handle the substance of Form 4/5 Science subjects.

Proposing that streaming and, therefore, the 60:40 policy be done after Form 5 is not to postpone a hard decision; it is actually giving students a firmer foundation on Science/Arts subjects before they decide.

In addition, learning to like and not to fear Science will certainly help place one confidently in the forefront of valuable, applicable and useful knowledge. Our nation will progress well if our students have this mindset; believe in it and execute it. The 60:40 policy will then have a higher chance of success.

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

Concern over number of teachers seeking transfers

09 November 2012 | last updated at 01:00AM

KOTA BARU: The Education Ministry has received nearly 20,000 applications nationwide from teachers for transfers and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said this trend was worrying.

.Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin painting on a batik cloth at an exhibition at the 1Malaysia Young Teachers gathering at SMK Padang Enggang in Kota Baru yesterday. Pic by Syamsi Suhaimi

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Muhyiddin, who is also education minister, said the figure was rising every year.

He said it included 2,898 teachers who wanted to return to Kelantan, while only 130 teachers had applied to leave the state.

“This is among the biggest problems faced by the ministry. The number of applications received is between 10,000 and 20,000 per year. I was told that the opposition has jumped on the issue, saying that the minister had ignored the welfare of the teachers.”

Speaking at a 1Malaysia Young Teachers gathering at SMK Padang Enggang, here yesterday, which was attended by 10,000 young teachers from the east coast, Muhyiddin said the cabinet had also discussed the problem.

“I was informed that only between three and four per cent of the applications were approved. We welcome anybody who has an idea to help us solve the problem.

“For the ministry, it is not easy to allow all the transfers as it will have an impact on the education system as the teachers are trained in different fields.

“Even if we allow mutual transfers between teachers, as suggested by some parties, it will take five to 20 years for the problem to be resolved.”

Muhyiddin said teaching was not just a job but a profession and the government wanted the best teachers for the country to achieve its targets.

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

System takes too much time, energy

Friday November 9, 2012


WHILE waiting for my assessment page (SPPBS) to save the data, I write about my disappointment and frustration.

I woke up at four this morning in order to log in to the SPPBS webpage. I tried many times and managed to save only the co-curricular information of a student and that took more than 20 minutes.

After that, I had to wait and restart the webpage. Now, it’s 5am, and I managed to key in and save the information of only one student.

Just imagine, I had to key in 120 times, so how long should I take?

For co-curricular activities, Form One teachers are asked to key in the society or club, uniformed society, sports and extra-curricular activities. My class has 30 students and it will take me many days to key in the information.

Not to forget, before this I also keyed in SEGAK (the assessment for physical activities) which included the weight, height and physical achievements for each student.

On top of that, I had to key in the bands for the subject I’m teaching.

All the information requires lots of energy, endless effort, time and patience.

Tomorrow, I have to invigilate the SPM examination.

Fortunately, I have rejected the marking of SPM papers.

I’m exhausted just after five years of teaching. I wonder what is happening to my colleagues, those who have been teaching for more than 25 years.

I really look up to them if they still have the passion for the profession.

As an ordinary teacher, I have no choice. I have to adhere to all the deadlines (before Nov 20 ) given by the Education Ministry so that I’m considered to have abided by the government policy.

I would like to appeal to the relevant authority to look into this policy. It sounds good on paper but the implementation should be done wisely and systematically.

Otherwise, the new policy will be futile and end up like the PPSMI (Teaching of Science and Maths in English).

The teaching profession is no longer enjoyable. Many senior teachers have told me this and many have opted for early retirement.

As for me, a junior teacher, I have more than 25 years to go in this profession.

Gurun, Kedah

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

Teachers face anxiety as online submissions deadline nears

Friday November 9, 2012

I REFER to “Nightmare for teachers doing online assessments” (The Star, Nov 7).

The writer has very accurately described the frustration experienced by her mother and many other teachers throughout the country in trying to key in the online reports for the School Based Assessment (SPPBS).

Countless valuable man hours have been lost in this seemingly impossible task.

My wife, a teacher in a secondary school, has been trying to submit her reports for over two weeks.

She has doggedly attempted to log in at various times in the daytime and even at the ungodly hours of the night and the wee hours of the morning. Yet, she has very little to show for all her efforts.

Finally, yesterday, after two hours of persistent work at the computer, she managed to submit the report for only ONE student but subsequently could not navigate the system for any of the others.

I write on seeing her frustration this morning after over two hours at the computer and not one report submitted.

She managed to go as far as to key in a student’s assessment details numerous times only to have the system hang on every attempt to submit the report.

My wife’s colleagues have also faced the same frustrating experience of the system hanging multiple times and being unable to navigate within the system.

The system keeps logging out and requiring the teachers to sign in all over again.

It is very unfair to require teachers to carry out a task with a system that is unable to support the demands on the server.

Adding to the problem is the anxiety faced by the teachers that they will not make the Nov 20 deadline for online submissions.

The unfair demands on the personal time and well-being of the teachers involved go beyond what is expected in any reasonable workplace and need to be addressed urgently.


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

No X’mas holidays for Christians

Friday November 9, 2012


I’M writing to express my disappointment over the various meeting dates scheduled for the 2013 school session which have been set by some of the schools, particularly in Johor.

On Dec 24, Christmas Eve, teachers must attend the first meeting and from Dec 26 (a day after Christmas) until Jan 1 there are various meetings to be held.

So, Christians living in states far from their respective schools have no way of celebrating Christmas as they have to leave their homes on Dec 23 in order to attend meetings on Dec 24.

When long and special holidays are accorded generously for other religious festivals, why is it different when it comes to Christmas celebrations, which is also a major festival here.

Maybe the Education Ministry has an answer.

The scheduled meeting dates are rather redundant and unnecessary.

For instance, on Dec 26 there is a staff meeting and I wonder what they will talk for eight hours since on Dec 27 there will be a meeting on curriculum and student affairs.

On Dec 28, there will be another whole day of meetings on co-curricular activites, Form Six classes and registration of Form One students. Dec 29 is for the registration of all other classes from Form Two till Form Six.

On Dec 31, there will be panel meetings and on Jan 1, there will be in-house training on the School Based Assessment system.

Anyone will tell you that we don’t need to stretch the meetings, which is a mere, waste of time.

The irony is that there will be more meetings related to the same matters when the school

session starts, making the earlier meetings redundant.

If these many days of meetings must go on, I suggest that all Christian teachers and staff as well as those with Christian spouses and relatives be exempted from meetings at least until Dec 27.

I also hope Christian teachers and staff will not be put in such a difficult situation in the future because this happens every year.

Johor Baru