JOHOR BARU: The government’s move to do away with streaming in schools has not gone down well with parents and teachers, who seem to prefer their schools revert to the streaming method.
Many parents have voiced their concern to Parent-Teacher Associations, asking for streaming to be reinstated and also for school-based examinations to be held for Year One to Three pupils.
Teachers are also worried about having to juggle their time and attention between slow learners and high achievers being in the same class.
The government has announced that there would be no mid-year and final-year exams for Years One, Two and Three pupils starting this year.
SMK Infant Jesus Convent PTA chairman Manjit Kaur said the school carried out non-streaming last year and the performance of students dropped.
She also said during the interview that putting good students with the weaker ones together could result in some of the high achievers getting bored in class.
“We believe that streaming should be done to help weaker students as it will allow teachers to spend more time coaching them.
“I also believe that having school-based assessments are important to ensure the students would not become lazy, thinking there is no examination,” she said.
More emphasis should be placed on core subjects such as Bahasa Melayu, Mathematics, English and Science, she said.
SK Sri Tebrau PTA chairman Ali Khan Isa said that parents had raised some concerns ever since the primary school started abolishing streaming this year.
“That is why we are having our annual general meeting (today) to get feedback from the parents,” he said.
Retired teacher Ooi Suet Wah, who taught for 35 years, said streaming was necessary as smart students would easily get bored if the lessons were too easy.
On the other hand, she said that weaker students in the same class would not be able to follow if the lessons were too difficult.
“This streaming method also allows teachers to prepare lessons according to the level of intelligence of their students,” she said.
Ooi also added that the government should not scrap examinations for Year One to Year Three to prevent the pupils from not taking learning seriously.
Ooi, who has taught in rural and urban schools including those in Kelantan, said the performance of a school would drop if there was no streaming.
National Union of Teacher Profession secretary-general Harry Tan said they supported the government’s move to democratise education in the country.
“Yes, there have been concerns raised by the teachers but we believe that holistic education is the way forward,” he said, adding classes should comprise all types of students instead of just creating “elite classes”.
Tan explained that scoring all As was not everything and school administrators needed to play a role to ensure their students performed.
However, he said if parents strongly felt about streaming, then they should attend their school’s PTA meetings and voice their concerns as based on statistics, only 10% to 15% of parents attended PTA meetings.
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