Moulding mature, critical thinkers

Zuwati: Intercultural understanding should be developed alongside a global worldview.

THE new national school curriculum module to produce students with a competitive, global mindset, has received the thumbs up from parents and educators.

Universiti Utara Malaysia School of Education senior lecturer Dr Muhammad Noor Abdul Aziz said the Global Citizenship Education (GCED) module promotes and sharpens students’ thinking skills and their socio-emotional aspects.

These elements, he asserted, are crucial because children in the 21st century are more creative and imaginative.

Commenting on the module, which has been embedded into the local school curriculum via subjects like Mathematics, Science, History and Geography, he said project-based lessons will inject fun into students’ learning, thus producing learners who are able to voice their opinions from a global perspective.“We do not want our children to be speaking in someone else’s voice. We want them to have a stand and to mature in their thinking.“It will provide a platform for them to practise their thinking skills and offer possible solutions for the problems posed.

“This implicitly teaches them to use rational thinking if they have to face similar situations in life,” he added.

Launched on the Education Ministry’s online learning platform Digital Educational Learning Initiative Malaysia (Delima) on April 5, the module which seeks to educate students on the values, attitudes and behaviours that support responsible global citizenship would be taught in all schools at the primary and secondary level next January, StarEdu reported on June 6.

The module supports target 4.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 4, Quality Education) – which is to ensure that all learners acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development.

On the Delima platform, students learn through videos, discussions and interactive activities with different themes such as climate change and gender equality.

While it is high time global education was introduced in classrooms but while we expect students to look outside, we must not compromise on national values and cultures, said Universiti Malaya academic Dr Zuwati Hasim.

The Faculty of Education department of language and literacy education senior lecturer said along with understanding global discourse and matters, intercultural understanding should be developed so that learners understand the local scenario.

“Give them examples that they can relate to so that they can use these learnings to solve issues or tasks given to them,” she said, adding that knowledge about current events in one’s own country, as well as globally, builds an appreciation for what one has.

”It should be introduced in all subjects as it teaches us to learn from others.

“This develops cognitive and socio-emotional skills in learners,” she said, adding that teachers must be more flexible, open and accepting to enable the module to be delivered well.

National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Harry Tan said while the initiative was welcomed, teaching the values and ensuring that students practise the values, are a challenge.

“As for making the students aware of happenings globally, it is good to be able to open their eyes to the world.

“However, we must fire up their interest in global events rather than push the issues down their throats.

“In this aspect, the teacher has to play a critical role in creating awareness.

“And this will augur well as the job market is now not confined to the shores of Malaysia but is open to the world,” he added.

Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) president Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said the module “ties in nicely” with current issues of menstruation checks by female teachers, and sexual and rape jokes in schools which have traumatised boys and girls alike for the last two decades or so.

“These issues have not subsided, causing undue trauma to victims and survivors. Therefore, a holistic education is all important.

“However, we need to look into the training that teachers are exposed to, to determine whether or not the knowledge that needs to be imparted is accurate, reasonably understood and achieves the intended outcome,” she said.

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