PUTRAJAYA: It was the advice from the Education Minister himself to the pupils of SK Putrajaya Presint 14(1) on the very first day of school.
“Read more books. A successful and advanced society is one that reads,” said Dr Maszlee Malik.
“Also be trustworthy people. And in whatever you do, do it wholeheartedly,” he said after visiting the school yesterday.
He also urged parents to inculcate the habit of reading in their children by asking them what they have read when they get home each day.
Oil and gas engineer Mohd Izlan Mohd Ilias’ seven-year-old daughter Nur Izzah was so excited yesterday that she woke up at 6am on her own and got herself dressed for school.
“I’m excited too because she’s my eldest, so it’s a new experience.
“She is really looking forward to starting school,” said Mohd Izlan, 36, who has three children.
Asked about the ministry’s decision to abolish exams for Years One, Two and Three from this year, Mohd Izlan said it was a good idea as it would further improve the education system.
Airport duty manager Afendy Jasmi, 39, who was more excited than his son Muhammad Dhiyaulhaq being in school, said abolishing the exams reduces the pressure of excelling among children.
“It will uncover their potential in other areas,” said Afendy, whose son is in Year Two.
Civil servant Eugene Sylvester, 40, said by doing away with exams, children would be able to enjoy their school days even more.
“That’s more important because they will be sitting for exams for the rest of their schooling years anyway,” said Eugene, whose daughter Daniella Samantha Anne started Year One yesterday.
Guided by the examples set by her two older sisters, Eugene believed his youngest daughter would do fine in school.
On another matter, the ministry said in a statement last month that it would allocate 60% of residential school placements to students from the B40 income group this year.
Dr Maszlee said this was to restore the spirit of these residential schools.
“Previously, these schools were for students who came from less privileged backgrounds and rural areas.
“However, in recent years, it has become like an elite school where students from more well off backgrounds were enrolled in it.
“So with this new policy, if we want to (boost) the economy, we must help those from the low income groups by giving them the opportunities of educating their children in good schools,” he said.
As for excellent students who failed to get into residential schools, Dr Maszlee said it did not matter which school they go to as they would not have a problem excelling.