From playing school to running them

Recognition for educators: (From right) Muhyiddin with Noorizan, Amin and Habibah. The three were given awards for their contributions to the teaching vocation. — Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: Noorizan Mohamed’s interest in teaching began in childhood when she played school with her younger siblings.

It was only natural that she chose teaching as her career.

Noorizan, 65, the recipient of the Tokoh Guru Kebangsaan 2021 award, said she used to devote her time teaching her younger siblings Mathematics and English.

“From a young age, I aspired to be a teacher even though when I was in secondary school I had second thoughts and wanted to get into the agricultural field instead. But teaching is my true calling, ” she said.

She was named Tokoh Guru Kebangsaan 2021 when Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin delivered his message in conjunction with Teachers’ Day that was aired live on the Education Ministry Facebook page, as well as RTM TV1, DidikTV KPM and other broadcast stations yesterday.

Noorizan, who hails from Kota Baru and retired as a school principal in 2014, said she was grateful for the recognition and never expected to receive the award.

She said the achievement would not have been possible without the cooperation of the State Education Department, Hulu Langat District Education Office, and teachers of the nine schools she had been attached to since 1980.

She is now an education adviser to the Sekolah Amanah (Trust School) programme in Jeli, Kelantan.

Apart from Noorizan, former Education director-general (January 2020-April 2021) Datuk Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim and former Education director-general (October 2017- December 2019) Datuk Dr Amin Senin were named recipients of the Tokoh Kepimpinan Pendidikan Kebangsaan 2021 awards.

Each of them received a prize worth RM50,000 and a certificate of appreciation.

Habibah said the Covid-19 pandemic was a challenge not only for the ministry but also for teachers and parents with kids at home.

She said that some difficult decisions had to be made to safeguard the health and safety of students, and at the same time it was also necessary to ensure that teaching and learning were not sidelined.

“Online learning is not the same as sessions in a classroom. We know students were logged in but as there was no video, we didn’t know if they were there physically.

“Of course, there are ways for teachers to use their creativity to ensure that students participate in the PdPR, to make the PdPR interesting so that students continue to be motivated to learn online, ” she said.

Habibah, who has 34 years of experience in the field of education, taught Biology in three schools for seven years before pursuing a master’s degree and later joining the ministry.

Amin touched on the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR), pointing out that the complete abolition of the examination clearly showed that the country’s education system was on the right track.

Amin, a former Mathematics teacher, said that when the UPSR was first introduced, it was good to gauge the mastery of primary school students, but in the end, the purpose of the examination was “abused” to the point of consuming the education system.

“Now we have to think of alternatives to the UPSR.

“As it has been abolished, we need an approach to obtain data that gives an overview of primary school students’ achievements.

“The pandemic is a blessing in disguise; it really helps us to backtrack our efforts to make sure that the students really learn.

“During this pandemic, people did not even talk about exams. They were more focused on how the students can continue learning.

“People no longer discuss how the students pass the exams. Even members of the public, at the very best, want no exam during this pandemic. This means people have returned to the basic principles of education, ” he said. — Bernama

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