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The Star dated 2 May 2012 – EDUCATION SETBACK

31 May 2012

The Ministry of Education (MoE) would like to response to comment by P.Gunasegaram in The Star dated 2 May 2012 – Education setback.
Issue 1: By the end of standard six, we still have whole classes unable to write their names
Answer: Efforts by the government to address issues on illiteracy has always been one of its main agenda. The Literacy and Numeracy Screening (LINUS) was introduced in 2010 for Year 1 Pupils and to date the literacy rate for these children is at 97.5% and 98.6% for numeracy. Various intervention programmes have been introduced to ensure those who have not achieved the target are not overlooked. LINUS is an on-going programme as acquisition of literacy and numeracy at the early stage of education is the pillar for lifelong learning that will have significant multiplying effects on the well-being of the nation as a whole.
Issue 2: The quality of teachers and schools has fallen steadily
Answer: It cannot be denied that the challenge faced by teachers today is to design programmes that look to the future yet remain relevant today as teachers are the crux for education. Efforts by the MoE to improve quality of teachers are on-going. Stricter selection system for teacher candidates will undoubtedly improve the quality of teachers. Trainees or pre- service teachers today are required to be active, collaborative and reflective learners; those who are able to take their students beyond text, class and school to the community, nation and the world.
Courses for in-service teachers are carried out on regular basis to ensure these teachers are up to date in terms of the techniques of teaching and learning as well as the pedagogical knowledge to improve delivery in the classrooms. The new Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Rendah (KSSR) provides the opportunity for teachers to be creative and innovative in their delivery. More recently MoE in collaboration with Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM) launched the i-Think programme to inculcate innovation and creativity in the teaching and learning in the classrooms which in the long run will enhance students’ creativity and innovative skills.
Issue 3: The quality of English has plummeted, poor English skills of even among graduates & government flip flops over English
Answer: Under the “To Uphold Bahasa Malaysia & To Strengthen English Language” (MBMMBI) policy implemented in 2011, various initiatives are taken to address the poor English language proficiency among students in Malaysia. Among the initiatives are to engage the native speakers and to recruit the retired English language teachers on a contract basis to enhance the capacity of the teachers in schools.
The government’s effort to increase teacher capacity is currently being implemented. Pre and in-service teachers are currently undergoing training to equip them with the new curriculum and its new elements.
The curriculum transformation which began in 2011 for Year One is another effort by the government to improve the teaching and learning of English. With the new curriculum, elements of grammar, phonics and language arts are given more place and importance in the teaching and learning of the English language. The curriculum transformation is a new move undertaken by the government to prepare and to accommodate our students with the future demands. Transforming the curriculum in areas such as curricula content, organization, pedagogy and classroom approaches will effectively help improve the students’ command in English. Besides, the new transformational curriculum is student- centred and calls for progression of students are based on achievement and attainment of proficiencies or standards rather than academic and cognitive accomplishments.
The issue on how to improve the standard of English Language among our pupils has always been the main agenda in our national Education system as we want our students to be adept and able to command value at the competitive global market.
Issue 4: Much easier to score A’s - Integrity of the education system / standards are set too low
Answer: The assumption that it is much easier to score A’s in the Malaysian public Exam is not justifiable. In 2011 only 0.12% scored A+ in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) from the total number of SPM candidates. This shows that our public examination is of high standard. The Examination Syndicate works in collaboration with external examination boards such as Cambridge International Examinations and Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority to ensure that our assessment system is of quality and is equal in standards internationally.
Issue 5: We don’t have a proper system of vocational and technical training
Answer: In our quest to produce highly skilled human capital, the Government believes in the need to transform the Technical Vocational Education sector by making it a mainstream option and ensuring its appeal to the pool of potential students and school leavers. This involves restructuring and transforming vocational education in the country. The Ministry is focussing on the transformation of vocational education and the need to meet the target by increasing the enrolment of technical and vocational students from the current 4% to 20% in 2015 and 40% in 2020. Under this transformation, the Government is also encouraging private sectors to set up vocational institutions, an initiative under the Economic Transformation Programme.
Issue 6: We have a racially polarised school system because of falling standards in SK
Answer: The existence of the various type of schools under the Malaysian Education system is in line with the government’s aim of providing choices to meet its multi-ethnic population needs and the provision of equal opportunities in education for all. This is to ensure that the national education system is holistic-acceptable to the people of the Federation and at the same time preserving and sustaining the growth of the language and the culture of the people in the country. At present there are 7,722 national primary schools (Sekolah Kebangsaan). From the total number, 1,294 (16.8%) are national type Chinese primary schools ( SRJKC) and 523 (6.8%) are national type Tamil primary schools (SJKT). MoE is aware that a significant number of the national primary schools mostly located in the rural and the  interior parts of Malaysia are showing a decline in standards. The School Improvement Programme (SIP) implemented in 2010 is an initiative by the government to address the falling standards of these national schools (Sekolah Kebangsaan) and to motivate these schools to perform better. This is carried out through on-going monitoring and support via a new one- stop, national-level data system known as the School Examination Analysis System. SIP has shown positive results with significant improvement in their overall performance of these schools.
Issue 7: Ministry of Higher Education
Issue 8: Ministry of Higher Education
Issue 9: Ministry of Higher Education
Issue 10: Education being politicized
Answer: Providing access, equity and quality education to children will ensure a progressive future for Malaysia. Hence, Malaysia is continually developing new initiatives to reach out to the remaining pockets where accessibility by area, ethnicity or income to education is an issue. Under the 10th Malaysian Plan, initiatives to provides  quality education to children are further enhanced through an integrated human capital and talent development framework that encompasses entire lifecycle, from early childhood education, basic education, tertiary education and all the way to their adult working lives. The National Key Result Areas (NKRA) for education under the Government Transformation Programme provide a roadmap with detailed objectives, outcomes and set of actions to address challenges in improving student outcomes and ensuring quality education is available to all. These initiatives are not political moves - they are well planned initiatives by the government to ensure Malaysian children enjoy equal quality education.


Published by Corporate Communications Unit