Caring School Programme to be revived, says Dr Mah

PETALING JAYA: The Caring School Programme (Program Sekolah Penyayang) will be revived under Caring School 2.0, says Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon.

The Deputy Education Minister described the revival as "good news" for the 400 Chinese schools that used to take part in the programme, their boards of governors, parents and teachers before it was stopped in 2018.

The programme was initially aimed to assist pupils who are not academically-inclined to make their way into secondary schools in a bid to reduce the dropout rates at Chinese schools.

Dr Mah said he had met the programme committee on Jan 8 to discuss the operation model for the programme.

During the meeting, he called on schools that were interested to participate in the programme to contact the relevant state-owned Chinese schools or Chinese language inspectors as soon as possible.

"The deadline for registration is on Feb 1," he said in a statement on Friday (Jan 15).

Dr Mah also welcomed corporates and entrepreneurs to contribute to the programme.

He also said UTAR president Prof Dr Ewe Hong Tat and the principal of Xingzhi Educational Group in Nanjing, China, have been reappointed the programme’s advisors.

The programme, which was originally mooted by former deputy education minister Datuk Hon Choon Kim in 2005, also provided a space for teachers to improve themselves and broaden their knowledge.

"Since 2005, more than 400 Chinese schools have taken part in the programme. These schools have generally become more energetic, fully embodying the culture of love, and at the same time, students’ performance and conduct have made significant progress," he said.

Dr Mah said the goal of the programme changed in 2013 to promote comprehensive education among Chinese school pupils, nurturing human capital who are versatile and with good character through outreach activities in and out of the classrooms.

"In the following year, the programme included a ‘Flower Bud Education Award’ to recognise the efforts of school board members, parent-teacher association members and parents.

"In 2016, then deputy education minister Datuk Chong Sin Woon launched a revised version on the guidelines and a short introduction film for schools across the country, with the main aim to implement and enhance the programme," he said.

It has also inspired spin-off programmes including the Caring Teachers Programme and Ziarah Cakna Programme, which aimed to foster closer ties between students, teachers and parents.

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