Streamless schools next year

FRANKFURT: Form Four students from next year may be able to choose and combine Arts or Science subjects as they like.

In an unprecedented move, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik is calling for the end of subject streaming after students get their Form Three Assessment (PT3) results.

“Although my officer is saying that we cannot get it done in time, I’m pushing for us to start next year so that students can choose and combine Arts and Science subjects as they like,” he said while on a working visit to Germany.

Maszlee, who was speaking during a meet-and-greet session with the Malaysian community on Monday, said the streaming system currently carried out in Form Four was ridiculous as it resulted in many students who were born to be scientists ending up in arts, and lots of students who were born to excel in the arts being forced to do science subjects.

He said the mismatch was caused by parents.

“Don’t leave it to the parents because they are the ones who sometimes end up ruining things,” he said.

“I have a friend – a Member of Parliament – who spent more than six years of his life studying medicine because his parents forced him to.

“After graduating, he didn’t do his housemanship and went on to study law instead,” he said, adding that there were many such cases where children were pressured into achieving their parents’ dreams.

Form Four students, he said, were currently streamed based on their PT3 results.

Those who do well do science and those who perform less well go into accounts. Students with poorer PT3 results do arts.

Many talents went to waste because of this, he said.

“Those who do law should have become inventors.

“And many Science students could have been linguists, Hollywood actors, accountants or good musicians, but they end up as doctors, spending most of their lives wasting time doing what they’re not really talented in,” he said.

Instead of counsellors or parents telling them what to study, the students will be guided by big data and artificial intelligence (AI) so they can decide for themselves.

Machines, he said, don’t lie.

In future, PT3, psychometric results, activities and coursework from Year One until Form Three, will be taken into account.

These will be analysed by AI that will come up with options for the students.

“(For example) option one – you take this course and these subjects, you’ll have the opportunity to go to these universities.

“And, if you go to these universities, you’ll end up with certain jobs which the machine can predict the demand for when you finally

graduate,” he said, adding that this allowed students to be well informed when choosing what subjects to take.

Next year, those who finish their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and are looking to further their studies at institutes of higher learning will be given the same type of analysis.

“So you’re not just getting an SPM slip.

“You’ll get recommendations of courses that are suitable, which university to go to, what scholarships are available and what the job market will be like when you graduate.

“I hope this can also happen next year but my officers are asking for more time,” he said, adding that such a system would prevent graduate unemployability and many of the problems we were experiencing now.

He said courses in university that did not guarantee jobs – for example, biology or chemistry – must be re-evaluated.

Conventional courses that were no longer relevant must be scrapped and replaced with future-proof courses, he said.

“Most science courses in universities require Additional Mathematics at secondary level but is it necessary across the board?

“Do we need Additional Mathematics in technical courses, for example? This is being looked at,” he said.

He added that students should be allowed to take Additional Mathematics – or parts of the subject – at the tertiary level even if they did not do it in school.

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Maszlee Malik , Arts , Science , subject streaming


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