2012, Arkib Berita, Forum, Pembangunan Sekolah, Rencana, Sistem, Surat

EDUCATION: Set high standards for schools

18 December 2012 | last updated at 11:06PM


By Rueben Dudley, Petaling Jaya, Selangor | letters@nstp.com.my 

I REFER to the letter “A US education opens many minds” (NST, Dec 4). We need to recognise that the purpose of education is the preservation and enhancement of knowledge, the development of character and the cultivation of human potential which will best prepare the individual for the evolving cultural, social, economic and political conditions both at present and, more importantly, in the future.

Secondly, we need to empower “players” within the education system (policy-makers, administrators, teachers, students and community representatives) to pursue achieving excellence and to ensure that everyone who passes through the system has access to all that’s needed — without compromise, impediment or discrimination — to pursue that goal.

The American education system aims to establish and achieve the highest standards through a variety of measures. These include:

Textbooks that will emphasise student understanding;

Student assessments that will test whether students understand and can use at high levels the knowledge and skills in the specific content area;

Instructional programmes and methods that will emphasise not only the basics but also reasoning and problem solving;

Teacher education and professional development that will prepare educators to teach to challenging levels; and

New technologies that will increase learning to meet standards geared to internationally competitive levels of performance.

Achieving high academic standards requires an education system that is rigorous, dynamic and intellectually arousing in content and methodology, has adequate and quality resource support and is regularly monitored and evaluated for corrections and upgrading.

Also, students should be facilitated to be an active part of a system that systematically applies higher order thinking skills combined with creative assignments and projects, and continuous objective assessments based on a broad range of criteria.

In any area of human endeavour, we know the great value of holding those concerned to the highest standards and unless we expect and demand those standards, it will not bring out the best in anyone, or in any enterprise or system.

That’s true for the education system as well. When we do not hold all concerned to the highest academic standards that are in the context of the needs of the times, the result can be low, distorted achievements and the tragedy of students emerging, at various levels from such a system without ever having been challenged to fulfill their potential.

Establishing high standards lets everyone in the education system know what to aim for. They allow every student, parent and teacher to share in common expectations of what students should know and be able to accomplish.

Students will learn more when more is expected of them, in school and at home. And, systematically and progressively maintaining high standards will help create coherence and complementarities in educational practices by aligning teacher education, instructional materials and methods and assessment practices.

High education standards achievement doesn’t occur by pitching it at a high level and expecting every student and teacher to cope with attaining expected goals. Rather, it starts from preschool years to make certain that all children will start first year at school ready to learn.

Through the school system, every child must be supported and provided all opportunities to graduate, having completed secondary school.

All students should be facilitated to complete their schooling having demonstrated competency over challenging subjects including the national language, English, mathematics, science, pupil’s own and foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography,

The nation’s teaching complement must have access to programmes for the continued improvement of their professional skills and the opportunity to acquire the knowledge needed to instruct and prepare our students for the 21st century.

Every school should promote partnerships that will increase parental and community involvement in promoting the social, emotional and academic growth of children.

It is, therefore, essential that for the education system to be one of, if not the best, we need to make sure that our children always get the most out of it at different levels, from preschool to primary, secondary and through colleges, universities and trade and technical schools.

Simply put, every school must be geared towards ensuring that all students learn to use their minds well, so they are prepared for further learning as they proceed to tertiary levels, to expand their knowledge and later specialise in selected fields; exercising their rights, duties and obligations as responsible citizens; and, using their knowledge and skills to fulfill productive employment needs in the nation’s modernising economy.

Read more: EDUCATION: Set high standards for schools – Letters to the Editor – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/education-set-high-standards-for-schools-1.187655#ixzz2FZMVyENF

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

Helping gifted children

Sunday December 16, 2012




Skinner during an informal discussion with participants. She spoke of the iPad, as an educational enrichment tool for the gifted as it offers a rich learning experience.Skinner during an informal discussion with participants. She spoke of the iPad, as an educational enrichment tool for the gifted as it offers a rich learning experience.

The recent Gifted Education Conference 2012 brought together experts, parents and interested parties to share views on how best to approach the subject of ‘giftedness’.

THERE are many kinds of minorities with special educational needs. There are the autistic children, who comprise almost 1% of Malaysian children; those with developmental abnormalities, such as Down Syndrome; and those whose IQs are too low to function adequately in mainstream schools. There are also children who are blind or deaf.

Most societies understand the necessity of addressing their needs, and do so. Yet, there is one minority that is often forgotten, amongst all the others clamouring for attention: the gifted. In most countries, the fact that the gifted have special needs goes unrecognised, and too little is done to give these children the opportunity to reach for their best, for the benefit of us all.

The first step to addressing a special need, is first to recognise it and understand it. This depends upon raising awareness of the particular needs of the gifted.

To do so, the National Associa-tion for Gifted Children, Malaysia (NACGM) and the Australian International School Malaysia (AISM) have formed an alliance to support the gifted children of Malaysia and to educate the public about what they can do to help gifted children. This collaboration resulted in the Gifted Education Conference 2012, held last month at the school, subtitled: “Building connections, enabling giftedness.”

At the conference, the invited speakers sought to educate the attendees about how to best approach the matter of giftedness and help their children grow to their fullest.

The main panel discussion for the day was entitled: “Should the gifted receive special educational provisions?”

Sitting on the panel were Zuhairah Ali, president of the NAGCM; Kylie Booker, head of the Middle School at AISM, Florence Wong, mother of six-year-old art prodigy, Reese Matthew Kam; and myself, Valentine Cawley, father of 12-year-old scientific child prodigy, Ainan Celeste Cawley.

I opened the panel discussion with an argument that special education for the gifted should be a basic right — just as special education is for disabled children, since both have special needs, which must be met if the child is to achieve its best.

No one on the panel disagreed with me – and the audience gave the speech a rousing applause, so it looked like my idea was widely supported by those interested in the gifted. The panel then went on to discuss the various ways these special needs could be met.

The debate was lively, since the experiences of each panel member were often different and so too, were their views.


Florence Wong argued that home-schooling gave her the freedom to teach her artistically-inclined son, Reese, in a way that was best suited to him. She revealed that he would spend hours drawing each day. She noted that, if he had been in an ordinary school, he would not have had the time to develop his talent to the same degree.

Kylie Booker countered this. She observed that while home-schooling was working for Reese, she had personally met many home-schoolers who seemed to have been poorly educated.

It was clear to her that many parents were not ready to take on educating a child. Kylie argued that most children would be better off in a formal school setting, unless their parents were particularly well prepared to take on their education properly.

Educational acceleration was mooted as another means of meeting the special needs of gifted children. Both Kylie and I agreed that whether it was appropriate would depend on the individual situation and maturity of each child, though Kylie seemed to be more inclined to deploy differentiated curriculum approaches, in a same age setting, as a primary measure.

I pointed out that my son, Ainan, was much happier at Taylor’s Univ-ersity, than he had ever been at primary school.

It seems strange to say it, but our 12-year-old is much happier being educated with older people, than he ever was with his own age group. What had been lacking was mental stimulation – but acceleration has made up for that.

The audience had before them three options to help educate their gifted children: acceleration, homeschooling, and formal schooling from a school that supports gifted education like AISM. At this point, I proposed the ideal solution: acceleration without acceleration.

By this I meant that there should be a special school, in which gifted children could study an appropriately high level of material – including tertiary level – whilst being surrounded by children of their own age. There is such a school called the Davidson Academy, in Reno, Nevada, for profoundly gifted children.

I closed my discussion by expressing the hope that Malaysia too would have such a school one day, where the nation’s brightest children could study at a stimulating level, whilst enjoying all the social advantages of being with other young children. Were Malay-sia to establish one, it would be at the leading edge of gifted education provision in the region.

The rest of the conference consisted of workshops.

Kylie’s presentation, “The right book for the right child at the right time”, addressed the question of how to nurture the interests of gifted readers (and readers in general).

Kylie drew an important distinction, however, between “gifted reader” and gifted child.

In her view, only about 70% of gifted readers were actually gifted. She highlighted the problem of gifted readers losing interest in school, because they were not being given access to appropriate reading materials.

On the other hand, she also raised the issue of young readers who simply read TOO much – and had to be stopped from doing so, to encourage them to develop social and physical skills too.

Identifying talent

Jane Kilpatrick’s talk, “Identifying gifted and talented children”, introduced the three primary ways that gifted children may be identified: standardised intelligence testing, teacher nomination, and parental nomination.

The latter two had drawbacks in that not all teachers were aware of what to look for, in gifted children – and not all parents are objective about their children’s abilities. Yet, a combination of these measures would have the best chance of spotting a gifted child.

Lalitha Nair’s talk, “Facilitating teaching and learning for the gifted: a pragmatic local approach”, introduced ways that parents could meet the needs of gifted children in their home or other local environments. She also offered the Future Problem Solving Programme, as a way to stimulate gifted young minds.

Susie Skinner’s presentation, “Enhancing learning through the use of mobile devices”, outlined the use of the iPad as an educational enrichment tool for the gifted. She surveyed the wide range of educational apps available for the iPad, which offer a rich learning experience to any child.

The powerpoints for all the talks are available for download on the Gifted Education Conference 2012 Facebook page set up by AISM.

There were also booths on behalf of organisations with a gifted orientation, including MENSA and the NAGCM among others.

The conference clearly addressed a national need, that is deeply felt by some, since attendees came from as far as Penang and Kuching. The collaboration between the NAGCM and AISM is intended to be a long-term one, and there shall be many more conferences, in years to come, to educate the public on how to raise gifted children to be their best.

The writer 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 keeps a blog on giftedness at 

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

Let’s walk the talk for special kids

Sunday December 16, 2012



The authorities should be serious if they want to move towards advocating inclusive education especially for children with learning disabilities.

MANY children with special learning needs require speech and language therapy from an early age. They generally receive this service from speech-language pathologists, either in hospitals or in private practices.

Although the provision of speech-language services in schools is common in most developed countries, this service, unfortunately, has yet to be made available in Malaysian schools.

Therefore, this area of remediation, though crucial, remains inaccessible to many children in need of it.

Developmental and learning disabilities in children are common. Evidence from worldwide reports show that about 16% to 33% of children have at least one form of special learning needs.

McLeod and McKinnon from Charles Sturt University in Australia compared the prevalence of communication disorders with other learning needs in 14,500 primary and secondary school students.

They found that the majority of students with special learning needs are struggling in the area of speech, language and communication.

Their statistics show that 19% of the students have dyslexia, 12% have communication impairment and 6% have difficulties learning English or other languages as their second language.

Altogether, these figures yield an alarming 37% of students with speech, language and communication difficulties.

This figure is compelling, as compared to the other forms of special learning requirements: behavioural/emotional difficulty (6%), early achiever/advanced achiever (6%), physical/medical disability (1%), intellectual disability (1%), hearing impairment (1%) and visual impairment (0.5%).

Besides that, the prevalence of developmental and learning disabilities has been reported as “increasing” over the years. According to an American national report released in a prominent scientific journal,Pediatrics (2011), the prevalence of development disabilities has increased from 12.84% to 15.04% over the past 12 years.

In the past 10 years, Malaysia has also experienced a notable shift in the prevalence for students with special educational needs.

The Special Education Department in the Education Ministry reported that in 1999, there were 6,433 students who received special education services in primary schools and 2,627 students in secondary schools.

In 2009, the number had increased six-fold to 21,775 special education students in primary schools and 13,864 students in secondary schools.

Given this alarming shift, there is an urgent need to critically assess the current special education situation in Malaysia especially its capabilities and potential to serve the increasing population of students with special needs.

This is particularly for those who struggle to use speech, language and communication on a daily basis.

Speech and language therapy

Studies have shown that children with learning difficulties could benefit substantially from early identification and remediation of their learning difficulties.

One aspect of remediation that is essentially required by them is speech and language therapy.

Others include occupational therapy, behavioural intervention and medical treatment according to individual needs.

Speech and language therapy is crucial as many children with learning difficulties experience delay in speech and language development.

Some of them, such as those with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) also experience atypical use of gestural communication, lack of eye contact and turn-taking skills, echolalia (repetition of words without accessing to the meanings), hyperlexic (intense fascination with letters and numbers) and use of idiosyncratic language (unusual word choices or sentence structures).

Furthermore, many children remain mute or non-verbal, and they need to be trained to use alternative methods to communicate, such as pictures, symbols or gestures.

Speech and language therapy is therefore important to help these children to acquire language and communication skills in the presence of the individual learning challenges that they have.

In Malaysia and many other countries, speech and language therapy is provided by clinically trained professionals, known as speech-language pathologists or speech-language therapists.

This group of professionals is trained at either the undergraduate or postgraduate level to diagnose speech and language delay or disorders and to provide remedial services to those with such difficulties.

Universiti Sains Malaysia and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia are the two universities in Malaysia that have produced graduates in this area.

These graduates work predominantly in general hospitals, private medical centres, early intervention centres or in their own private practices.

So far, very few graduates have worked in schools or with the Education Ministry.

One primary reason is that previously there were no permanent positions available for this profession in schools or in the ministry.

Furthermore, the biggest setback is a special requirement set by the ministry, where the graduates are required to obtain a one-year diploma course in teaching in order to qualify as speech-language pathologists in schools.

This requirement is almost similar to requesting an electrical engineer who applies to this position in a hospital to do a one-year medical diploma.

This working package obviously becomes less attractive to graduates who had just completed an intensive four-year coursework and clinical undergraduate programme in university and who are eager to start serving the community.

The question raised here is whether there could have been other strategies to make speech-language therapy services more accessible to students in schools?

First, it is important to recognise that speech-language pathologists play specialised roles in schools and they are not there to replace the teachers. Speech-language pathologists are needed in schools to assist students with difficulties in speech, language and communication to deal with their deficit areas so that they have better school learning experiences.

Their responsibilities will be to identify the students’ issues in these areas, help teachers to develop a mode for the students to communicate in the classes, provide periodical assessment to monitor the students’ progresses and provide direct speech and language remediation as a way to work on their deficit areas.

Speech language therapy services in schools function to address the students’ special needs, which teachers would not be able to specifically focus on due to their whole-class teaching responsibilities.

Thus, speech-language therapy services need to be made available in schools to students with special needs to fill up their learning gaps.

Second, it is equally important to understand that speech-language pathologists would not be able to replace any regular teacher or to take over their roles, and vice versa.

This is in line with point one that speech-language pathologists are trained with highly fine-grained skills which they are qualified with, and the services provided by them are specific for the prevention, diagnosis, remediation and consultation of speech, language and communication difficulties.

Similarly, speech-language pathologists should not be called to perform the duty of teachers, just like office administrators in schools would not be allowed to teach in classes.

Course on teaching

These two points challenge the criterion of having speech-language pathologists to take a one-year course in teaching prior to job entry.

Nevertheless, it is also important to maintain the idea that speech-language pathologists who wish to work in schools should have sound knowledge of the education principles in Malaysia.

Such knowledge would help them to adapt to the school systems and to deliver effective speech therapy services in school environments.

A clear understanding of their roles in schools would also help them to establish positive working relationships with the teachers, headmasters, and parents.

This healthy relationship potentially leads to productive collaborations that would benefit all involved, particularly the special-need students.

Therefore, instead of an additional teaching diploma, it is suggested speech-language pathologists have to attend an orientation course of a shorter duration conducted by the relevant experts in education.

Such orientation courses should be opened to all graduates in the area of speech-language pathology regardless of their future career directions. The graduates can choose to participate in this course voluntarily.

Perhaps sponsorships could be offered to graduates with good grades as a way to encourage them to consider the option of working in school settings.

Completion of this orientation course provides a ticket for them to apply for the relevant posts in schools or at the ministry. Alternatively, this course can also be introduced as part of speech-therapy training at the university level.

The knowledge learnt could then be reinforced via a supervision and mentoring system established by the ministry in schools, with relevant continual professional development programmes. This practice is common in Australia.

As a whole, there is a call for more efforts from the ministry and all personnel involved in providing high-quality educational care to the students with special needs in Malaysia, in order to improve their learning environment and experiences.

Perhaps one way to start with is to make certain professional services, such as speech and language therapy available and accessible to the students in schools.

In line with the concept of Education For All, our country should move towards advocating inclusive education for all students, including those with special needs.

The idea is that all students, regardless of their conditions, should be given equal learning opportunities, and should not be isolated from the mainstream education system.

Along with this line, support services, such as speech and language therapy are crucial to help students with special needs to adapt to and to cope with regular classroom teaching and learning, and at the same time, to address their specific needs.

Such a system has been long established in many developed countries for at least half a decade. It is therefore time for us to move forward.

>The writer is an expert on Special Education from the School of Educational Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang.

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

Aiding kids with special needs

Sunday December 16, 2012




Work and play: A child responds favourably during an interactive session with trainers.Work and play: A child responds favourably during an interactive session with trainers.

The majority of children with learning disabilities will be able to make progress if they are given more support in mainstream schools.

THERE are many children who are born with some form of learning disability but not all of them need to be sent to special education schools.

Datuk Dr Amar Singh, president of the National Early Childhood Intervention Council is of the view that children have varying degrees of disability, however, that doesn’t mean that they all have to be placed in “special’ schools as many of them can cope quite well in regular or mainstream schools, if extra support is provided for them.

He added that there are three groups of children who enter the Malaysian school system. The first group that makes up more than 70% of the school-going population does not have any barriers to learning, while the second group which constitutes only a small percentage has severe learning disabilities. Children from this group need to be sent to special schools.

The third group makes up about 20% of school-going children. They usually have mild learning disabilities but are often enrolled in special schools.

“These children (with mild learning disabilities) are high-functioning enough to be placed in regular or mainstream schools, but because they can’t fit into the normal education system, they are placed in such (special education) schools,” added Dr Amar Singh.

“Being placed in such schools only frustrates them for they are obviously much ahead in all areas compared to their more challenged peers,” he shared.

On the other hand, there are children with learning disabilities who have not been diagnosed and they end up in the bottom or end classes at mainstream schools and are labelled as “stupid”, when in actual fact, they may have high IQs.

“I met a dyslexic boy recently who was unable to read or write, but I was able to converse with him on a range of topics,” said Dr Amar Singh. He added that support had to be provided for these students within mainstream education.

He said that of the autistic students that he worked with, 40% were able to attend mainstream schools with added support from teachers, school heads and other students.

Social skills: The centre helps children to have better social understanding to get by in life, says IssacsSocial skills: The centre helps children to have better social understanding to get by in life, says Issacs

He agreed that early diagnosis and intervention was important for these students and that parents had to “come on board” as well.

Dr Amar Singh said that there were three major groups of people with learning disabilities — physical, sensory and mental. Even within each of these categories are individuals with varying levels of learning difficulties due to conditions such as spinal bifida or physical disabilities due to accidents.

Others may have sensory disabilities like hearing or visual impairments. Yet, there are others who may have autism or other brain-related disabilities such as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and dyslexia.

“There are so many children and sub-categories of learning disabilities, that they are not diagnosed properly,” he said.

He added that healthcare professionals needed more training at an undergraduate level to accustom themselves in handling people with such disabilities. He said that besides prescribing the standard procedures such as physiotherapy or speech therapy, those in healthcare also had to act as “point people”.

“Parents need someone who can help them find resources,” he said.

ADHD expert Ben Glenn from the United States, agreed that there were students with learning disabilities who were able to function in mainstream school systems.

He explained that the main difference between a student with ADHD and an average student, was the way they processed information and behaved in the classroom setting.

“Students with ADHD struggle with impulse control, lack of focus, forgetfulness and hyperactivity. Students with ADHD often have other learning disabilities like dyslexia or dysgraphia alongside their ADHD that makes it even harder to learn at the pace of an unaffected student,” he said.

Glenn, who was diagnosed with a myriad of learning disabilities including dyslexia as a child, said that students with ADHD would be able to attend a mainstream school.

“Students with ADHD are able to attend and even be quite successful within a mainstream school system, if the school administrators and teachers understand what ADHD is and are willing and able to accommodate the students that have it.

“Provision of individualised programmes as well as sympathetic administrators and teachers, have allowed many ADHD students to thrive in mainstream classes,” he said.

National Early Childhood Intervention Council vice-president Khor Ai-Na said that children with mild disabilities were actually able to function within the mainstream education system.

“If given support, they will be able to manage their schoolwork and be more independent,” she said, adding that the reason for them to be seen as “non-performing” was because of the Malaysian mindset and the emphasis on achieving distinctions.

“We need to explore different ways to teach. These children are able to handle the same subjects but may process the information differently,” she said.

She added that one teacher may not be enough to handle a classroom of children with learning disabilities. Her suggestion was to have smaller classrooms as well as provide assistants for the teacher.

“The other alternative is to allow personal assistants hired by parents into the classroom so that they can assist the students,” she said.

Khor is also the honorary secretary of the Bold Association for Children with Special Needs, which provides early intervention for any child who presents delays in development.

However, they are unable to provide for school students because they lack the resources to run a school.

According to Autism Malaysia director Jochebed Isaacs, the largest part of its operating cost goes towards staff salaries.

The Autism Malaysia centre uses the Applied Behavioural Analysis Programme, which was designed by researchers involved in the Wisconsin Early Autism Project in the United States.

“In this programme, the children are given personal attention … on a one-to one basis during the time they are at the centre,’’ said Isaacs.

She said 10 staff members were needed to take charge of seven children, adding that those who enrolled their children at the centre paid a hefty monthly sum of RM2,000 or more.

“There are also clinicians to supervise the individualised programmes,” she said. At the centre, different methods are used on different children to cater to the wide spectrum of behavioural traits.

Issacs agreed with the other experts, saying that children with autism should be able to go to school.

“What we do at the centre is to help the children develop the social understanding needed to get by in life.

“Much of the behaviour exhibited by children with autism is actually their way of trying to communicate,” she said.

Taylor’s College associate director Frank Meagher said that every student had the right to have a proper education that met their needs.

Prior to coming to Malaysia, he served for many years as superintendent of special services in Toronto, Canada where he was responsible for ensuring that programmes and services for special education were provided to all in the area.

He was also in charge of preparing the budget for the Canadian Education Ministry.

He admitted that the educational model was “not without challenge” as about 85% of the students who received special education support were placed in regular classrooms for more than half of the school day.

“This underscores the general philosophy of inclusion which calls for students with special needs to be placed in their community school, and as much as possible, in a regular class with their age-appropriate peers and be provided with the necessary academic support for success.

“It also means that regular classroom teachers require a high level of training and support to provide for the individual needs of these students within their classroom.

“In addition to specialised training, there is also the need for special education teachers and support staff assigned to each school, to augment and support the regular classroom teachers’ efforts.

“Class size is a critical factor in this educational model. In order for teachers to provide the individual coaching required by these students, numbers in each class must be reasonable. The average class size in both the elementary and secondary schools is 22,” explained Meagher.

He said that parent involvement was also necessary within this model.

“Another critical component of the model is the partnership with parents who know the strengths of their respective children. Each student who requires a special education programme has an Individual Education Plan (IEP) which is reviewed annually.”

Parents, he said, were required to participate in the development and revision of the plan and have a direct voice in its implementation.

Such plans had a legal component and schools were required to implement the IEP, he added.

“Each school is required to have a School Council, and representation on that council for special needs students is a requirement,” he said.

He admitted that a significant budget was required to ensure success of such an education model as not only academic teaching and support staff were required.

Psychometricians, psychologists, educational assistants, child and youth workers, social work staff, speech and language consultants were among the staff needed in ensuring the smooth running of the model.

“Public education in Canada provides such support and it is fully supported by the nation’s tax payers. Students with special needs in Malaysia deserve no less,” he said.

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

Help for teachers with ‘mental’ woes

Sunday December 16, 2012



THE Education Ministry has been providing social support services through counsellors to help teachers facing serious emotional or mental “disturbances”.

The counselling was also for those dealing with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) issues.

Deputy Education Minister Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi said the services were made available from 2007, at all state education departments and district education offices to facilitate cases involving mentally disturbed teachers.

“These teachers are placed in a ‘pool’. So far there are 235 teachers in the pool and they constitute 0.05% of the total teaching workforce,” he said when answering a question at the Dewan Negara.

He also said that the ministry monitored teachers who had to deal with the LGBT issue or who suffered from mental problems.

Dr Mohd Puad said the ministry also proposed that teachers could obtain treatment from psychiatrists by enlisting the help of the ministry’s counsellors or through the Health Ministry.

“Surveillance by the school administration and periodic reports to the district education office, state education department and the ministry’s counselling and psychology division, is also carried out to monitor the progress of the teachers,” he added.

Meanwhile, Dr Mohd Puad said there were now 530 teachers who had mental problems compared to 774 people in 2009 and 747 in 2010.

He said that 23.5% of teachers faced mental problems due to work stress, as compared to 76.4% caused by hereditary factors and 52.9% through personality “disturbances”.

The ministry had set up a special committee that will look into reducing the workload of teachers, Dr Mohd Puad added. – Bernama

2012, Arkib Berita, Forum, Keselamatan Pelajar/Kesihatan, Masalah Pelajar, Pembangunan Sekolah, Program, Rencana

Awareness programme to help students eat healthy

Thursday December 20, 2012



For a better lifestyle: Dr Wee signing a plaque after launching the ‘Cara Hidup Sihat’ programme. Looking on are Vogt and Universiti Putra Malaysia department of nutrition & dietetics senior lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Norhaizan Mohd Esa.For a better lifestyle: Dr Wee signing a plaque after launching the ‘Cara Hidup Sihat’ programme. Looking on are Vogt and Universiti Putra Malaysia department of nutrition & dietetics senior lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Norhaizan Mohd Esa.

KUALA LUMPUR: A public-private initiative to educate teenagers on healthy eating habits and encourage an active lifestyle among students to reduce obesity has kicked off.

The three-year “Cara Hidup Sihat” programme, which started last September, was carried out jointly by the Education Ministry, Nestle Malaysia Bhd and Universiti Putra Malaysia.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said it aimed to create awareness among students on how to make informed choices on their daily intake of food.

“The programme will also measure the weight and height of the students twice a year and teach them to calculate their own BMI (body mass index) as a reference to stay healthy,” he said after launching the programme here yesterday.

The ministry, he said, would monitor the programme closely to see if there was any improvement in the students’ eating habits and their body weight.

The programme involved some 5,000 lower secondary school students from 100 day boarding schools nationwide as well as their teachers, wardens and food operators.

Currently, 203 teachers and wardens have received training on modules that will be used to teach students to understand body weight, the importance of healthy eating and ways to keep active.

Another 332 food operators had been trained on how to prepare food low in salt and fat.

Dr Wee said he hoped the programme could be expanded to other boarding schools, adding that other private companies and non-governmental organisations were welcomed to take up similar projects.

The National Health Morbidity Survey 2011 had shown that one in five Malaysian teenagers was either overweight or obese.

Nestle managing director Peter R. Vogt said good food did not mean more food, adding that this was about balanced and healthy meals.

“We believe it is crucial to educate teenagers on the importance of eating the right food and living a healthy lifestyle as this would affect their growth and development as adults,” he said.

Dr Wee also said the ministry had acknowledged Malaysia’s unsatisfactory performance in two international assessments the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study and the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) in the recently launched National Education Blueprint.

“We will have to find a way on how to improve this. It is high time our students view this seriously,” he said.

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

11 resolusi bela guru

Selasa , 18 Disember 2012


KONGRES cadang tubuh bank untuk manfaat pendidik, murid

Kuala Lumpur: Kongres Kesatuan Guru-Guru Perkhidmatan Pelajaran Malaysia (KONGRES) mengemukakan resolusi 11 perkara kepada kerajaan untuk membela nasib pendidik dan pesara guru, termasuk penubuhan bank guru.Penubuhan bank yang dicadang diterajui Yayasan Guru Malaysia Berhad itu bertujuan memberi manfaat kepada 430,000 guru dan 5.5 juta murid di seluruh negara.

Tabung Kebajikan Guru Presiden, Jemale Paiman berkata, untuk manfaat pesara guru pula, pihaknya mencadangkan penubuhan organisasi mirip Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT), dikenali Lembaga Tabung Kebajikan Guru yang bertanggungjawab menjaga hal ehwal kebajikan pendidik dan keluarga mereka.

Beliau berkata, resolusi lain termasuk menyerap lebih 60,000 guru lepasan diploma, terutama berusia 50 tahun ke atas dalam skim siswazah tanpa temu duga.

Bagi tujuan itu, kerajaan disaran mewujudkan Skim Perkhidmatan Bersepadu Pelajaran Persekutuan. Skim yang dicadangkan ialah gabungan Skim Perkhidmatan Pelajaran Lepasan Diploma dan Skim Perkhidmatan Siswazah Tanpa Temu Duga pada gred DG 42.
“Kelonggaran khas menerusi skim istimewa kepada mereka berusia 50 tahun ke atas untuk diserapkan dalam skim siswazah sudah dilaksanakan Kementerian Kesihatan dan sesuai diamalkan oleh Kementerian Pelajaran pula,” katanya dalam satu kenyataan semalam.

Resolusi itu diputuskan pada mesyuarat Exco Khas KONGRES, pada Sabtu lalu dan dihantar kepada kementerian dalam tempoh terdekat untuk tindakan lanjut.

Cadangan lain ialah:

  • Menubuhkan majlis guru bertaraf profesional, berdaftar dan bertauliah untuk menjaga dan mengawal pendidik. Ia berfungsi sebagai pengawal dan mengambil tindakan tatatertib atau disiplin, denda dan menggantung atau menamatkan perkhidmatan pendidik yang berkhidmat dengan kerajaan atau swasta, institusi pengajian tinggi dan pusat tuisyen.
  • Menukar pembiayaan pendidikan Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Pendidikan Nasional (PTPTN) kepada biasiswa. Pelajar yang memperoleh Ijazah Sarjana Muda Dengan Kepujian di institusi pengajian tinggi awam (IPTA) layak untuk menerimanya.