2012, Arkib Berita, Pembangunan Sekolah, Peperiksaan

Big jump from 1,835 to 2,010 in straight-A scorers in Sarawak

Posted on November 20, 2012, Tuesday

WELL DONE: Students of SK St Patrick Semadang, Jalan Puncak Borneo showing their UPSR results yesterday.

KUCHING: The state’s straight-A scorers in the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) increased to 2,010 from 1,835 last year.

Of that figure, 1,430 are from public schools (sekolah kebangsaan) compared to 1,319 last year, while 580 from Chinese schools (SJKC) compared to 516 last year.

“An analysis showed that the state has pretty much the same result in all subjects except Bahasa Melayu (Pemahaman) and English compared to 2011.

“There was a significant increase (66.96 to 70.26 per cent) in English passes for minimum mastery of ‘C’ while Bahasa Melayu (Pemahaman) dropped from 91.89 to 88.05 per cent,” said State Education director Abdillah Adam when announcing the UPSR results at SK Agama Datuk Haji Abdul Kadir Hassan yesterday.

For Chinese medium schools, all subjects improved from last year. For minimum ‘C’ grade, Bahasa Melayu (Penulisan) increased 4.15 percent (66.03 to 70.18 percent) and Bahasa Cina (Penulisan) up 2.44 percent (72.18 to 74.62 per cent).

For ‘A’ grade, subjects with excellent results were Mathematics (SJKC) 53.66 percent, Bahasa Melayu (Penulisan) (SK) 35.47 percent, Bahasa Melayu (Penulisan) (SJKC) 30.33 percent, Science (SJKC) 29.88 percent, Bahasa Cina (Pemahaman) (SJKC) 26.91 percent and Bahasa Cina (Penulisan) (SJKC) 24.02 percent.

On the national front, Sarawak has a similar trend for each subject results. Minimum ‘C’ for SKs for Bahasa Melayu (Pemahaman) at the national level dropped significantly by 2.7 per cent (94.2 to 91.50 percent) while in Sarawak it dropped 3.84 per cent (91.89 to 88 percent).

For English subject in SKs, the increase was 2.4 percent at national level (74.9 to 77.26 percent) while in Sarawak it increased 3.3 per cent (66.96 to 70.26 percent).

A similar trend was recorded for Bahasa Melayu (Penulisan) in SJKCs which increased 2.7 percent at national level and 4.15 percent in Sarawak.

Ten schools with the highest number of straight As students were SK St Anne Sarikei – 54, SK (A) Datuk Abdul Kadir Hassan Kuching – 44, SK St Teresa Kuching (M) – 41, SJK Chung Hua Krokop Miri – 39, SK Matang Jaya Padawan – 38, SK St Joseph (M) Kuching – 35, SJK CHung Sing Sibu – 35, SJK Tung Hua Sibu – 34, SJK Chung Hua No.3 Kuching – 31 and SK Green Road Kuching – 30.

Ten top schools with over 50 candidates based on school grade point average are SK Agama (MIS) Bintulu (1.38), SK St Teresa (M) Kuching (1.54), SK (A) Datuk Haji Abdul Kadir Hassan Kuching (1.63), SK Agama Sibu (1.68), SK (A) Ibnu Khaldun Samarahan (1.69), Sk Jalan Ong Tiang Swee Kuching (1.70), SK Agama Miri (1.71), SK St Anne Sarikei (1.74), SK Limbang (1.74) and SK Agama Sri Aman (1.85).

A total of 45,946 pupils sat for the examinations in the state. Of this figure, 33,195 are from SKs and 12,517 from SJKCs.

It was held nationwide from Sept 11 to 13.

Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2012/11/20/big-jump-from-1835-to-2010-in-straight-a-scorers-in-sarawak/#ixzz2Cjnn8znF

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

TEACHERS: Train and post them to their home states

20 November 2012 | last updated at 11:52PM

THE education minister said 20,000 teachers nationwide had applied for transfers and of these, 2,898 requested a return to Kelantan (“Concern over number of teachers seeking transfers” — NST, Nov 9). This is indeed worrying.

The policy of sending teachers out of their state after training to ensure that every state has the right number of qualified teachers has been around for too long.

The ministry needs to scrutinise the policy. It has brought anger, frustration and misery to thousands of teachers and their families, not to mention the headache it is giving the ministry, heads of schools, the education department and even ministers.

It is sad to note that there are thousands of unhappy single and married teachers working in places far away from their loved ones just to cater to the ministry’s concept of the ideal teacher population.

I know of a teacher with two children from Kelantan who was posted to Sabah for five years. Her husband teaches in Kelantan.

Numerous attempts for a transfer back failed. After living in misery for a few years and suffering breakdowns, the lonely mother decided to take one of her children to Sabah while her husband took care of the other child in Kelantan. They suffered for five years, meeting only during the long holidays.

What is the quality of teaching expected under such circumstances?

And what about the thousands of others scattered throughout the country, suffering in silence, attempting again and again to get a transfer back home?

In the long run, every state, including Sabah and Sarawak, should have, and would be better off, with their own trained teachers.

In most cases, many state education departments are formulating statistics on teacher needs according to the head count and not subject need per se.

In primary schools in Kelantan, for instance, there are many teachers teaching English in the non-examination classes without any relevant qualification. This could be tolerated in the case of those fluent in English but sadly, many of these teachers cannot even hold a decent conversation in English, let alone teach the subject.

Coming back to statistics, based on headcount, it would seem that Kelantan has enough teachers for English and other subjects.

The teacher population in Kelantan is almost saturated. It is, in fact, an irony to have trained English teachers from Kelantan teaching in Johor, Sarawak, Sabah and elsewhere when they are needed in their own state.

To alleviate this perennial problem, perhaps the ministry should start a policy of posting a large percentage of the newly trained teachers to their home states unless they request otherwise.

Desperate and deserving teachers in other states, too, should be allowed to return home in stages. There should be more mobility. This might be seen as a simplistic solution to the problem but it should resolve many difficulties faced by teachers.

The change in policy might bring about a sudden oversized teacher population in some states but in the long run, it should stabilise with the proper reallocation of teachers. It would definitely lessen teachers’ workload, perhaps even lower the present student-teacher ratio. Clearly, the issue against such a policy has always been one of quality.

The big question is: can we get enough quality candidates for all the subjects from each state?

The long-held assumption that selecting and training excellent students and transferring them out of their state would result in better quality teaching needs reexamination. The idea that only teachers with excellent academic and co-curricular achievements can offer primary or secondary students quality teaching is built on a false premise.

A candidate with excellent results in Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia or with a good degree does not necessarily make a good teacher. The criteria should be whether they have good language and communication skills, the right personality, aptitude, attitude and a genuine love for the calling — plus, where possible, good academic grades.

My years of teaching in schools and at a teacher training college have taught me that an excellent qualification at entry point does not necessarily equal excellent teaching. Right now, there are many would-be teachers with excellent results, with no interest in teaching, undergoing training in the various Institut Pendidikan Guru, the universities and other private institutions. Pressure from parents and the prospects of a secure future have brought them –unwillingly — into the teaching profession.

The authorities could instead have selected many genuinely interested candidates with the right attitude from Sabah, Sarawak or other interior areas, who would be happy to serve their own state.

 

In the teacher selection process, aptitude and attitude are the most difficult qualities to assess.

The aptitude and attitude test through the present Insak (Inventori Sahsiah Keguruan) programme is, in reality, a speed- and thinking-skill test. Because of time constraints, the interviews, which include individual and group sessions, are more for the calculation of the candidates’ worth through points awarded based on their subject grades, leadership in co-curriculum activities, talking ability and their outward personality.

If we have the right instruments to measure and assess these qualities, instead of just looking at academic and other paper qualifications, we might be able to select the right candidates from each state.

In this respect, if the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 (Shift 4) is to enforce the stand that only the top 30 per cent of graduates will be recruited for teaching, then it would be difficult to select candidates from some of the states as they would be eliminated right from the start.

In fact, it is ridiculous to assume that a would-be teacher, with the minimum SPM/STPM qualification or a degree but with good language skills and grades in their subjects of choice, would not be able to provide quality teaching upon several years of training.

The key to the selection process also lies in the collection, compilation and processing of accurate and reliable statistics on the teacher population and subject needs of each state.

It should not be based on headcount. At times, insufficient attention is given to the measures needed for a more reliable and improved quality of educational statistics at state level. The statistics should be an intelligent and accurate forecast of the needs of the states for a few years.

Based on the requirement, enough candidates should be selected from each state, trained and sent back to their own states.

In the present system of training, with the exception of teacher training institutes, public universities and, more recently, private higher learning institutions are sticking to their own quota and do not seem to take into account the exact need for teachers. Over the years, this mismatch between supply and demand has led to an excess of teachers.

M. Alkut, Kota Baru, Kelantan

Read more: TEACHERS: Train and post them to their home states – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/teachers-train-and-post-them-to-their-home-states-1.173694#ixzz2CjlsNlIz

2012, Arkib Berita, Forum, Keselamatan Pelajar/Kesihatan, Masalah Pelajar, Pembangunan Sekolah, Pendidikan Khas, Rencana, Surat

Special needs,equal rights

20 November 2012 | last updated at 11:19PM

CHILDREN can grow up to be anything. Some will grow up to be what the general world considers to be “successful” people, while the majority will lead more modest lives — successfully holding down jobs, maintaining a budget, being independent, and contributing to society. Regardless of what their destination ends up being, what any child would hope for is a fair opportunity to make what they will and can of their lives. And for the most part, this requires a fair access to education up to the highest possible level; with limitations being set only by the child, and not the system.

That the initial draft of the Malaysia Education Blueprint had special needs education as only a sub-section of Chapter 4, instead of a chapter in its own right, is an oversight that should not have happened; but it is good to know that the matter will be rectified in the final draft. An estimate two years ago had the number of special needs children in the country at 540,000 — more than five per cent of our child population. But of this number, only 43,142 were in schools that catered to children with special needs. The rest were speculated to have not yet had their disabilities identified, or were kept from school because of shame, poverty or lack of opportunities.

That nearly half a million children may not be in school, or may not be getting the help they truly need to learn, because of their difference in ability, is shameful, and must be rectified not only on paper, but down on the ground. As a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Malaysia has committed itself to habilitate persons with disabilities (PWD) to achieve a “full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with persons without disabilities”. Towards this end, preschool education will be made available for PWD children through the 2013 Budget. Indeed, early intervention programmes are crucial for equipping PWDs with socio-emotional skills that they will need to keep on learning to survive in the world.

In addition, efforts must be made to ensure that schools and public infrastructure are disabled-friendly, and policies for enrolling special needs children must change. For, although the Education Ministry provides education for special needs children up to secondary level, only those who are able to manage themselves without aid are taken in. This sidelines those who are less able even further by denying them the opportunity to improve themselves and gain vital living skills. Special needs people should be integrated into society, not set apart.

Read more: Special needs,equal rights – Editorial – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/editorial/special-needs-equal-rights-1.173672#ixzz2CjlQ4LW8

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

TEACHERS: Improve their working conditions

20 November 2012 | last updated at 11:53PM

TEACHERS are the unsung heroes who stand in front of the classroom and teach, educate, convey, extend and develop knowledge among students.

.Teachers are the unsung heroes who stand in front of the classroom and teach, educate, convey, extend and develop knowledge among pupils.

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Teachers do this service as a vocation selflessly though beset by personal and professional problems.

They carry on relentlessly in their endeavour to disseminate knowledge to their charges.

There are many teachers who have sick children or spouses, or may themselves be grappling with some diseases. Others may be facing marital breakdowns.

There are some teachers who may have professional problems, such as being unfairly bypassed for promotion or working problems with their principals and colleagues.

Students, sometimes, do not make the life of teachers any easier.

Therefore, the report “Honour our teachers” (NST, Oct 23) is a reminder of the contributions and sacrifices of teachers to society.

Raja Muda of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah at the launch of the first National Convention of Education Management said the strength of teachers was in their character and attitude, and not their academic qualification or seniority.

Truthfully and rightfully, it is their character and attitude that have made them soldier on despite shortcomings and problems at home and in school.

Raja Nazrin said to create competitive teachers in schools, the issue of promotions and pay rise should be looked into.

Apart from that, their working environment and needs should be looked into seriously.

Clerical staff should be appointed in schools to do the paperwork and keying in students’ marks online.

Teaching hours should be reduced. Classes should be reduced to 20 students and staffrooms should be expanded and be made more comfortable.

Teachers with personal and professional problems should be referred to counsellors and advisers so that they can focus more in classrooms. Improving the standards and working conditions of teachers will spur them to raise their productivity.

Samuel Yesuiah, Seremban, Negri Sembilan

Read more: TEACHERS: Improve their working conditions – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/teachers-improve-their-working-conditions-1.173700#ixzz2CjlBYZk4

2012, Arkib Berita, Forum, Inovasi, Kesedaran Alam Sekitar, Pembangunan Sekolah, Program, Rencana, Surat

Thinking out of the box

Sunday November 18, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2012/11/18/education/12314707&sec=education

 

<b>Doll house</b>: Nur Natasya Amera’s ingenious effort won first prize in the junior category.Doll house: Nur Natasya Amera’s ingenious effort won first prize in the junior category.

THE recent “Out of the Carton: Eco Design Competition 2012” saw many creative entries from both primary and tertiary level students.

Launched in June this year, the competition challenged participants to think differently and conceptualise recycling design ideas fashioned primarily out of used beverage cartons.

The designs had to conform to the themes of “My Favourite Toy” and “Protect What’s Good” for the Junior and Senior categories respectively.

“The company’s environmental sustainability efforts to reduce beverage carton disposal to landfills includes the promotion of extending the life cycle of a beverage carton beyond its primary use.

“The competition is one of our many initiatives to engage the younger generation and raise awareness about environmental sustainability,” said Tetra Pak (Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines) Sdn Bhd managing director Gaine Clarke.

Adding that they were astounded by the creativity displayed in the entries, Clarke also thanked the Malaysia Design Council for their support as the competition’s curriculum partner.

Pleased with the company’s efforts, the council’s senior general manager Futom Shikh Jaafar said the council is always on the lookout to support programmes and initiatives that will nurture the growth of the local talent pool.

<b>Robo-Pak:</b> Made from recycled Tetra Pak beverage cartons, the “Robot Tank” by SJK (C) Yuk Chai pupils Wong Chi Lik and Eng Chern Qi was chosen People’s Choice Award winner in the junior category.Robo-Pak: Made from recycled Tetra Pak beverage cartons, the “Robot Tank” by SJK (C) Yuk Chai pupils Wong Chi Lik and Eng Chern Qi was chosen People’s Choice Award winner in the junior category.

First prize in the junior category went to Nur Natasya Amera Azman’s “Doll House”.

The house was a beautiful piece of work crafted from different sizes of used beverage cartons.

Meanwhile, the senior category saw Malaysian Institute of Art student Lee Jie Teng coming out tops with his “Folding Night Lamp” that was inspired by a Chinese folding fan.

Top awards for both the junior and senior categories include cash prizes totalling RM8,000, as well as a local educational trip and a paid trip to Singapore respectively.

Additionally, the council also awarded a RM5,000 cash prize under a special category called “Best Potential Design”.

There were also People’s Choice Award winners for both categories, based on Facebook public votes and on-site votes during the Finalists Exhibition at Publika, Kuala Lumpur.

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

Learners need input and interaction

Sunday November 18, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2012/11/18/education/12259219&sec=education

By ASSOC PROF DR TAN KOK ENG

 

<b>Active participation:</b> Teachers should point out errors and give corrective feedback in a sensitive manner so that the learner achieves the target language. — File photoActive participation: Teachers should point out errors and give corrective feedback in a sensitive manner so that the learner achieves the target language. — File photo

To raise the levels of English proficiency amongst students, there is a need for teachers who can create a language learning environment that is supportive of a student’s needs.

HAVING said goodbye to her mother, a little girl was walking into her kindergarten when she was stopped in her track by these words, “Hey girl, you never say me good morning.”

The utterance, intended to be a greeting of sorts, came from a smiling young worker and fell within my earshot.

My first reaction was to take my daughter out of the kindergarten and go somewhere where proper English was used.

After some consideration, I decided to let her remain. My daughter has since grown up and is attending college today.

However, these words have never stopped ringing in my ears. Every now and then, I am reminded of the input that our young learners receive in formal schooling.

As many will agree, the episode I have related is not an isolated case.

We laughingly call it Malaysian English or Manglish, but it is no laughing matter from the education standpoint.

Some linguists would rise to the defence of Manglish by pointing out that Manglish is not grammatically wrong all the time but only peculiar to Malaysians.

In fact, there are journals such as World Englishes that are devoted to researching varieties of English and stimulating the debate on the myth of “proper English.”

Varieties are not limited to geographical locations but cut across electronic space, media and popular culture (especially for young people).

So, before I get misunderstood for being too stuffy, judgemental and prescriptive, allow me to say that my dream is one where we can all use the local variety to connect with our countrymen but yet be aware of grammatically sound English.

I am reminded of an article that I read many years ago, entitled “Singlish, cannot meh?”

Yes, to draw a parallel, “Manglish, cannot ah?”

My answer is “Why not Singlish, Manglish and the lot?” if we can use grammatical English at will, to our advantage, and when the occasion calls for its use. It is about appropriacy.

To reach this level of English proficiency, the question is what can be done and at which stage of formal learning?

Starting ‘em young

Let us begin with primary education.

In the area of English education, what needs to be transformed in primary schooling in our country?

As a nation that is eager to improve its education system, this question is constantly asked.

<b>Vital factors:</b> Children must be exposed to good models of spoken English and be given the opportunity to practise, be it in the classroom or the playground. — File photoVital factors: Children must be exposed to good models of spoken English and be given the opportunity to practise, be it in the classroom or the playground. — File photo

I would like to share the following thoughts that are related to classroom instruction and the school environment.

Let me bring you to a school in Melbourne where my two children spent three years of their primary education.

Somehow, I always learn precious lessons from watching my children grow up.

Located near the University of Melbourne, this small public primary school (with a student enrolment of around 300) was the place of learning for the children of a few foreign academics who were either working or studying at the university.

Other than this handful of foreign children, the rest were local children, some of whom were aborigines or children of immigrants from countries like Vietnam and China.

It was more multicultural than our Malaysian schools. The number of children per class was kept to below 25.

All school staff were native speakers of English (NS) while the student population had a number of non native speakers (NNS).

I was particularly struck by the ease in which English was used in the school.

A timid boy from China who could not speak (or understand) a word of English on day one could interact in English, in just a few weeks, with an accent to boot.

I observed the NS teacher talking to him. She slowed down her speech and articulated her words clearly.

She might simplify her words but the structure and grammar of the English Language were not compromised.

She also gently offered corrective feedback.

In all instances, there was no recourse to Mandarin as it did not exist in the teacher’s linguistic repertoire.

At the playground, the bombardment of English words from other children continued.

Thus, it was in such an environment that the little boy took his baby steps to try out his second language.

So I became convinced that input and interaction are crucial for a young learner in the language learning process.

The frequency and quality of comprehensible input combined with the opportunity for the learner to produce output in interaction seem to work favourably for the learner.

There should be sufficient second language (L2) input for learners to form and test out new forms of language.

If they are not exposed to good models of spoken English, their errors are expected to persist.

Furthermore, the errors committed should receive corrective feedback from the teacher at suitable moments.

How then can we apply this to the Malaysian classroom?

Supply knowledge

First, we need to provide a lot of good language input for our children, even if it is confined to the few English periods a week.

English teachers constitute our children’s major source of good input in formal learning.

This means that teacher education programmes in the country have to produce this critical number of English teachers who are near native-like models of English.

It will not be sufficient to send out a few proficient trainers to tell other teachers what to do.

We need English teachers to model the language for the children and interact with them in the language.

Furthermore, as the authority in deciding what is grammatically acceptable, they should consciously provide corrective feedback in a sensitive manner.

Linguists will tell us that if learners’ errors are not pointed out and corrected, they can become fossilised.

That is to say, the learner never achieves the target language but only reaches a level or version which is basically a deviant form of the target language.

This form unfortunately becomes permanent.

Harnessing the Internet

Next, to supplement the teacher’s role as input provider, online resources can be used.

We need to recognise that our English teachers are NNS and they are still learning the language.

During the times when they feel they are limited as a source of language input, they should turn to the Internet which is a source of authentic language, both written and spoken.

There are many websites that model good English.

You may ask, “Why not use interesting reading materials?”

Many will attest to the fact that their excellent command of English actually came from reading novels and storybooks.

It is undeniable that good reading materials remain a rich source of language input.

However, in the contemporary Internet culture, our children take to the Internet more readily than they do to the traditional textbook or printed materials.

Therefore, English teachers should connect the classroom to the Internet and let the online environment motivate the children to use English.

Speak the language

Third, classroom discourse should predominantly be in English.

It is best to keep the use of the students’ mother tongue to a minimal level.

Unlike the case of the school in Melbourne where a NS teacher is surrounded by both NS and NNS students, the normal practice in Malaysia is a NNS teacher teaching NNS students.

Most of the time, the NNS teacher has a good knowledge of, or even share, the students’ mother tongue.

There is a tendency for the teacher to resort to the students’ mother tongue to support teaching and learning.

From a sociocultural perspective, the local NNS teacher has an advantage over the NS teacher in that she/he has firsthand experience of learning a L2, may know or share the students’ mother tongue, and can better anticipate learner difficulties.

However, if the NNS teacher’s attention is not drawn towards such privileged linguistic knowledge for L2 teaching, classroom instruction might be dominated by translations.

Therefore, teacher preparation should not only aim at improving the proficiency level of NNS trainee teachers but also raise awareness of their linguistic knowledge to inform practice.

To sum up, it is my belief that learning a L2 for young learners (perhaps below Year Four) should be done as naturally as possible, and should ideally take place where good input is abundant.

When the learners are old enough to process linguistic forms, direct grammar instruction can be used to help build proficiency on their foundation.

The challenge is for Teaching of English as a Second Language or TESL education programmes to produce NNS teachers of English who can model the language and create a supportive language learning environment for our primary school children.

The writer is the programme chairperson of Bachelor of Education — Teaching English To Speakers Of Other Languages (TESOL) in the School of Educational Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia.

2012, Arkib Berita, Forum, IPT, Rencana

Excellent accomplishment

Sunday November 18, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2012/11/18/education/12319316&sec=education

By KAREN CHAPMAN
educate@thestar.com.my

 

<b>High five:</b> Sunway University culinary students and chef lecturers baked a cake to celebrate the institution’s Tier Five status under Setara 2011.High five: Sunway University culinary students and chef lecturers baked a cake to celebrate the institution’s Tier Five status under Setara 2011.

The Rating System for Malaysian Higher Education and Malaysian Research Assessment Instrument measure how well higher education institutions are doing in the country.

GOOD news was in store with the recent release of the Rating System for Malaysian Higher Education Institutions 2011 (Setara).

A total of 35 higher education institutions obtained Tier Five or excellent status.

This is almost double the number of institutions in the last rating exercise where 18 higher education institutions achieved the Tier Five status under Setara 2009.

Started in 2007, Setara assesses the teaching and learning aspects of participating institutions as it is the most common denominator for all higher education institutions.

It consists of six tiers, ranging from Tier Six (outstanding), Tier Five (excellent), Tier Four (very good), Tier Three (good), Tier Two (satisfactory) amd Tier One (weak).

A total of 54 universities and university colleges participated in the exercise but two institutions were excluded as there was insufficient data for them to be rated.

The final results show that out of the 52 universities and university colleges rated, 35 institutions achieved a Tier Five category representing approximately 67% of the total population of universities and university colleges rated; 16 institutions in Tier Four, approximately 31%, and the remaining one, in Tier Three, that is, about 2%.

No universities and university colleges obtained Tiers One, Two or Six status.

The 35 which obtained Tier Five status comprise 13 public universities while the rest are private universities and university colleges.

These include the five research universities – Universiti Malaya (UM), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia while private institutions included Nilai University and Sunway University. (see table on next page)

The rating exercise was carried out between March 2011 and July 2012 with data from 2011.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin who announced the results, said he was happy to note the improvements and achievements of all institutions that took part in Setara 2011.

“This is the third time Setara has been implemented and the progress and improvements can be seen in all higher education institutions, particularly in the teaching and learning aspects,” he said in an interview.

UM deputy vice-chancellor (Academic & International) Prof Dr Mohd Hamdi Abd Shukor said its Tier Five status was an indicator of the quality of teaching and learning for undergraduate study at the university.

“In line with the university’s rapid transformation process, UM has placed emphasis on increasing the quality of its teaching staff and students as one of the key areas to be enhanced as it continues its progress towards becoming one of the top 100 universities by 2015,” he said.

Prof Mohd Hamdi said the university’s next challenge was to raise the bar higher by becoming the first public university to obtain Tier Six status.

UKM vice-chancellor Prof Tan Sri Dr Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin congratulated staff for working hard to maintain its Tier Five status.

“However, there is room for improvement and we must resolve to work harder to achieve the goals of the institution as well as the greater goals of the nation,” she said.

<b>Go for ratings:</b> Mohamed Khaled says rating is more useful for quality enhancement because its purpose is to maintain quality assurance rather than as a competition between the institutions.Go for ratings: Mohamed Khaled says rating is more useful for quality enhancement because its purpose is to maintain quality assurance rather than as a competition between the institutions.

Rated not ranked

Setara is a ratings exercise which assesses how each institution has achieved its benchmark of indicators.

Similar to the instrument used during the previous rating exercise in 2009, Mohamed Khaled said Setara 2011 was divided into three main domains namely input (20%), process (40%), and output (40%) which involves 26 criteria and 62 indicators such as the ratio of academic staff to students, percentage of PhD qualified academic staff, employment rate and graduate satisfaction.

“It does not give a ranking or position on how an institution is compared to another,” he said.

Asked whether the ministry will consider carrying out a rankings exercise such as those by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings or the QS World University Rankings, he said rating was more useful for quality enhancement because its purpose was to maintain quality assurance rather than as a competition between the institutions.

In addition, Setara would continue to be a rating system for teaching and learning, and to encourage internal adjustments and improvements by institutions.

UPM vice-chancellor Datuk Dr Radin Umar Radin Sohadi said the Setara and the Malaysia Research Assessment Instrument (MyRA) measure the fundamentals in higher education where data is both verified and audited.

“Hence it is more robust and reliable than rankings. Setara measures graduate attributes, graduate employability, employer satisfaction and student satisfaction in the learning environment while MyRA looks at various factors including impact factors, citations, intellectual properties and impact to humankind,” he said.

Participation in Setara remains voluntary, added Mohamed Khaled.

On whether the ministry would look into compelling all higher education institutions to take part in Setara in the future, he said it could become mandatory.

Most of the higher education institutions would advertise their respective Setara ratings in various forms such as during the ministry’s annual national higher education carnival and other promotional platforms.

“This in itself will encourage higher education institutions to participate in Setara as in future, the odd ones out will be those which cannot quote or advertise their rating,” he said.

The ministry, he added, would also recommend Tier Five Setara-rated institutions to the Public Service Department so that its sponsored students could be sent there.

Mohamed Khaled said that the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) carried out the Setara exercise.

The MQA, he added, was also working on a Discipline-Based Rating System (D-Setara) which would be based on four disciplines for all higher education institutions. More information on D-Setara would be revealed next January, he said.

Open and distance-learning institutions were separately assessed using an instrument that was adapted from the Setara 2011 instrument to capture the peculiarities of the open and distance learning mode.

Open University Malaysia president Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Anuwar Ali said he was pleased that the indicators for measurement have been improved from the previous rating exercise to take into account open and distance learning institutions.

“The indicators now take into account our blended approach as we are not like normal universities,” he said.

Research fundamentals

Mohamed Khaled also announced the results of MyRA where universities are given “star ratings” for their research, deve­­lopment and commercialisation efforts.

He said UM, UKM, UPM and USM received the top rating of six stars under MyRA.

Similar to Setara, he said MyRA which was conducted by the ministry’s Higher Education Department, was not compulsory but all higher education institutions are encouraged to take part.

“It is good if all public universities could participate and assess their strengths and weaknesses, and potential in terms of research and development. This is important as many of the public universities, excluding research universities, have the potential to develop their research capacity.

“We’re not going to force Setara or MyRA on any university, but there will be policy implications from the results,” he added.

Incentives for more research funding is based on the MyRA 2011 assessment.

Two non-research universities which were rated five stars under MyRA, namely Universiti Teknologi Petronas and Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia, will receive a total of RM10mil in research grants to enhance their research and development activities in 2013.

Prof Mohd Hamdi said the six star rating under MyRA was a testament of all the hard work by UM’s management, staff and fellow researchers.

“UM has always prided itself on the quality of its researchers and we are in the midst of increasing the number of research activities and commercialisation through the formation of a UM Centre of Innovation and Commercialisation, UM High Impact Research and eight research clusters,” he said.

 

What other higher education institutions’ heads say:

Universiti Islam Antara-bangsa Malaysia (UIAM) obtained Tier Five under Setara and five stars under MyRA.

Most of UIAM’s academic staff are classified as principal investigators with sufficient research grants to conduct research.

The university implemented the Strategic Plan 2007 — 2015 which emphasised on quality learning and teaching as well as achieving research university status. –UIAM rector Prof Datuk Seri Dr Zaleha Kamarudin

 

Maintaining the culture of excellence and continuing the high quality performance at Taylor’s University is our priority.

We took the Setara and MyRA exercises very seriously in order to remain in the top tiers, alongside universities which were established long before us.

We set up the Quality Advancement Department from 2010 to ensure that our teaching and learning standards always exceed the national requirements, and to obtain Tier Five under Setara gives us confidence in our quality assurance mechanism.

It was a sweet achievement for us to score two stars under MyRA. We are glad to be listed together with several senior public and private universities.

To be in the top 10 percent of the private university and university colleges in the country is really an encouraging achievement for us. –Taylor’s University vice-chancellor and president Prof Datuk Dr Hassan Said

 

We are gratified to be certified and recognised as a Tier Five institution under Setara 2011.

This is the second time we have scored an excellent status (the first time was in Setara 2009) and this endorses our ability to maintain high standards in the delivery of our programmes.

We are further endorsed by our partners Lancaster University and Le Cordon Bleu, which underscores our aspiration to be world class.

Being owned and governed by the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation, we have the obligation to safeguard the aims of the foundation to “providing and sustaining quality education for present and future generations of students.” –Sunway Education Group senior executive director Elizabeth Lee

Nilai University’s principal focus is on teaching and learning.

We determined the attributes our students need to have on graduation and design our curricula and delivery accordingly.

We maintain strategic alliances with professional bodies to ensure that our programmes are not just academically sound but are well received by professional bodies.

This is the second time we are taking part in Setara. Nilai obtained Tier Four under Setara 2009 but we have been upgraded to Tier Five for Setara 2011.

When we were upgraded to university college status in 2007, we phased out our foreign programmes because we were confident that our home grown programmes would be equal to any on offer here or abroad.

The upgrade to full university status in August this year and obtaining Tier Five status is testimony of the quality of our programmes and their delivery. –Nilai University president Prof Emeritus Tengku Datuk Shamsul Bahrin