Starting school on a fun note

PUTRAJAYA: The first week of the 2024–2025 school session, beginning March 10 for Group A states and March 11 for Group B states, will feature programmes aimed at engaging students’ interest in attending school rather than academic classes.

“This will be the second year in which we have implemented such an approach, where no teaching and learning (PdP) activities will be carried out within classrooms in the first week.

“The initial week will feature engaging activities to draw students to school and introduce them to the learning environment, to make the subsequent weeks enjoyable and compelling for attendance,” said Education director-general Azman Adnan.

This, he said, is per the Education Ministry’s circular No 5/2023, which encourages schools to hold suitable programmes or fun activities to create a supportive environment for students and teachers, helping them prepare emotionally and mentally for formal education.

“I hope all parties will be able to manage the opening of the school session smoothly,” he told reporters after the mandate ceremony in conjunction with the commencement of the 2024–2025 school session yesterday.

Azman also said school officials have clear guidelines to follow for dealing with the ongoing heatwave that coincides with the start of Ramadan and the school session next week.“There are guidelines provided to school officials to implement at the school level.

“We will make announcements from time to time, even though, in terms of clothing, we have determined two days for school uniforms, two days for sportswear, and one day for extracurricular activity attire.

“However, during the hot weather, we will give leeway (for example by allowing) T-shirts. These (allowances) have already been outlined in the circular,” he said.

He added that the ministry has set up six task forces to strengthen and enhance digital education, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), curriculum intervention, Upholding the Malay Language and Strengthening Command of English (MBMMBI) policy, and preschool education.On a separate matter, Azman said the ministry would ensure that teachers received training in every aspect to face the ever-evolving challenges of education.

He said this in response to Deputy Education Minister Wong Kah Woh’s remarks that a total of 6,394 teachers, or 1.49% of the overall workforce, were approved to go on early retirement last year, a slight increase compared to 2022, which was 5,306 or 1.23% of the total workforce.

“We focus on enhancing their readiness in socio-emotional aspects and skills relevant to technological advancements, ensuring their preparedness for the future.

“There were several factors underlined from the studies conducted, and one of the factors includes health-related problems,” Azman said.

He also said the ministry has carried out tests to assess the emotional well-being of teachers, and based on the findings, there will be an intervention process from time to time through online and face-to-face approaches.

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