The Education Ministry is implementing a new curriculum in secondary schools and revising the current one in primary schools.
THE Education Ministry awaits 2017 with much anticipation as it is the year that sees the implementation of the new Standard Curriculum for Secondary Schools (KSSM) for Form One students and a revised Primary School Standard Curriculum (KSSR) for Year One pupils.
The first cohort of KSSR began in 2011 starting with Year One.
In an interview outlining several changes made in reviewing the KSSR, the Education Ministry’s head for the policy and research sector, Naza Idris Saadon, said: “The first cycle of the KSSR which was implemented in 2011 has ended and we will now do a review of it in 2017, concurrent with the implementation of the KSSM.
“These changes will be done in stages and new textbooks will be provided to students.
“In line with the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025, several changes must be made to our national curriculum in order to produce students who are resilient, curious, innovative and able to communicate well.”
Naza Idris said some of the changes made in the KSSR review and simultaneously the KSSM include the content of the subjects as the ministry believes it has to be up to date with the changing times.
“We want relevant content to be taught to our students.”
He emphasised that the content taught today has to change in accordance, by including new information and content into the subject especially for those that revolve around technology.
“The structure of the subjects taught is still the same but there will be tweaks in its content.
“We are also improving the content of our syllabus in accordance with global trends and international benchmarking to ensure our curriculum is on par internationally.
“Other changes include the organisation and management of the curriculum, changes in the pedagogy aspect of teaching and learning and in the allocation of time for each subject,” he added.
Naza Idris explained that in the past, teachers were required to complete a certain amount of minutes in a week for each subject.
Now, it will be completed in minimum hours per year.
“This is where we want schools to manage the allocation of time for each subject.
“The minimum hours a subject has to be completed within a year depends on the subject itself as different subjects have different requirements. How many hours in a week the teacher uses to teach his or her students their subjects is their prerogative, but they must meet the minimum hours set for the year,” he added.
Merely focusing on the national education’s syllabus isn’t enough as the ministry and teachers must look into how to deliver and teach their students effectively, added Naza Idris.
“Teaching pedagogy is of paramount importance so that the content that has been set for the syllabus will be delivered effectively.
“We want to emphasise on the importance of taking an in-depth and contextual approach in learning as well as problem-solving and project-based approach.
“To execute this, teachers need time to plan and this is why we eliminated the requirement of completing the teaching and learning of a subject in minutes per week and substituted it with hours per year,” he said.
The ministry places significant importance on a teaching and learning pedagogy based on higher order thinking skills (HOTS).
Assessments are carried out continuously through summative and formative methods to ensure the progress and achievements of student.
Naza Idris added that teachers will assess the extent to which students are able to master learning standards with reference to the performance standards.
He said setting a fixed amount of time within a week to complete the teaching of a subject could be a hindrance to teachers when it comes to delivering their subject effectively.
“We place too much focus and emphasis on examinations.
“Students will work hard for these exams and come out with flying colours but the question is, are these straight A students of quality?” he added.
Naza Idris said what the ministry wants to see is students who are brilliant not just academically but holistically.
This means students who are well-equipped with skills such as communication, critical thinking, creativity and who, among many other qualities, are able to exhibit leadership skills.
“Emphasis should not only be placed on the academic but in every aspect. This is the ministry’s focus,” he said.
He stressed that teachers should not merely focus on teaching students the content of their subjects but also work towards inculcating good values in students.
“Teachers are aware of the new curriculum.
“We hope they will be able to conduct their lessons effectively in order to produce students who embody these holistic qualities.
“These changes in our educational system is necessary and is towards the betterment of our students and country.”