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Sunday September 8, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Monday September 9, 2013 MYT 12:40:49 PM
by jeannette goon, priya kulasagaran, AND kang soon chen
Special guests: Students from SMK Damansara Utama who accompanied their principal to the launch, were invited to the event.
School-goers offer their views on the education blueprint.
INTELLIGENT, multilingual and globally-minded with a sense of civic-consciousness — this is the dream student the nation wants to produce.
If the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013 - 2025 is implemented according to plan, the ultimate goal is to ensure world-class students. They will be top-notch human capital and will drive the country towards further progress.
The preliminary report of the blueprint was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in September last year.Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin launched the final version on Friday.
Aimed at producing students with attributes such as bilingual proficiency and thinking skills, the blueprint’s initiatives will be implemented in three stages from this year to 2025.
There has been much feedback from all quarters including parents, teachers, organisations and students.
Despite being the youngest of the lot, students have proven to be as opinionated as all the other stakeholders.
Seaw Yen Huai, 15, from SMK Tinggi St David, Malacca said that the “education system is a tool” and how good it was depended on who was using it.
On Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS), he said what was taught in schools now could not be entirely applied to daily life.
There were not many opportunities for students to expand their knowledge unless they do it themselves, he said, adding that exams should include problem-solving questions that were related to real life.
He also expressed concerns about whether teachers and students would be able to cope with the changes that would be implemented.
Some of the major steps announced included the increased time allocation for teaching English in schools. English would also be a must-pass subject in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) by 2016.
Tiew Ming Chun, 17, from SMK Gajah Berang, Malacca said that he agreed with the emphasis on languages, especially Bahasa Melayu and English.
“I don’t converse in English daily and having additional English lessons would mean that I can speak more English in school,” he said.
He added that it was necessary for exam questions that required critical thinking to be included in the syllabus. “We don’t have to memorise everything without understanding,” he said.
See Jing Ming, 15, from SMK King George V, Negri Sembilan said that it was a good idea to focus on languages. “I’ve always had difficulties learning BM, so I agree that there should be more lessons,” he said.
He said that one of the subjects in which critical thinking skills should be included in was History.
“History exam questions should not be straight-forward questions. I would rather answer questions that required thinking because I dislike memorising stuff,” he said.
Hasnain Tahir, 15, from SMK Abdul Rahman Taub, Pahang agreed that being multilingual was important.
“For students who are studying in Malaysia, they would need to know BM and for those who intend to go overseas, English is equally important,” he said.
Muhyiddin, who is the Education Minister, said that the ministry would not forbid students from learning their mother tongue and would even create opportunites for students to learn extra languages such as Arab or Kadazandusun.
“Besides Bahasa Melayu and English, we want our students to be multilingual. If the student already knows Mandarin or Tamil, that is a bonus. Students are also encouraged to pick up Arabic. Why would there be any roadblock in the learning of Mandarin and Tamil since the two languages are part of our cultural identity,” he told a press conference after the launch of the blueprint.
However, not all students agreed that increasing contact hours for English was the only way to help students improve proficiency in the language.
While Chuah Chee Seong, 15, from SMK Tinggi St David, agreed that language skills were important, he said such skills could also be picked up if the language was the medium used in other subjects.
“Language skills can also be included in other subjects such as Science and Maths,” he said.
Risantini Murugan, 15, from SMK King George V, echoed the sentiment. Now in Form Three and currently studying Science and Maths in English, she says that she is unsure whether she will be allowed to continue in English next year.
“If I have to do it in BM next year, it will be really difficult and I might lose interest in all the Science subjects,” she said.
Some students believed that changes to the system would bring about more benefits. Fatin Afiqah Nizam, 16, from SMK Damansara Utama, Selangor, said based on Muhyiddin’s speech, the changes would help them have more semangat (enthusiasm) to study.
Her classmates Ain Zulakha Zainudin and Siti Ain Nawwarah Sheikh Mohd said that having good teachers would make it easier for the students to learn.
Muhyiddin said that the ministry would present an annual report on the progress of the blueprint’s implementation.
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Education, Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025
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