Archive for category Education

Teluk Intan and all that jazz

Azly Rahman
May 30, 2014

What is promised to our youth in this by-election that is pitching the old versus the young? What do we need to see radically changed in our society? Here are my thoughts, especially today.

I am very sad today, reading about rape cases involving minors – gang-rape, to be exact, of ten, twelve, thirty young kids destroying each other! Madness. No-nonsense parenting is key here, folks.

Just when I had finished writing this first draft for this column, I read about a two year-old girl taken away from a shopping mall and later found with her head severed and her body dumped near the Klang River. Madness.

Days earlier we read about the early morning robbery of two nuns in Seremban, of which one of them died of serious head injuries. Almost daily we still read about snatch thefts resulting in the victims injured. An endless cycle of violence we are living in. Madness.

Back to what is happening to our youth. Read the rest of this entry »

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UiTM, antara tanggungjawab sosial dan kecemerlangan

Shahrulazwad Ismail
The Malay Mail Online
May 27, 2014

26 MEI — Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) sering diperdebatkan baru-baru ini semenjak pencalonan calon parti politik DAP, Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud untuk kerusi Parlimen Teluk Intan. Pada tahun lepas, Dyana yang merupakan seorang graduan Fakulti Undang-Undang UiTM telah mencadangkan agar sebuah institusi seperti UiTM dibuka kepada golongan bukan bumiputera yang berpendapatan rendah.

Sesetengah pihak menganggap Dyana mahu UiTM dimansuhkan ataupun paling tidak dibuka kepada semua kaum. Dyana turut juga membangkitkan kepincangan dalam pengambilan pelajar apabila golongan Bumiputera yang kaya diterimamasuk sebagai pelajar lantas telah mengambil hak golongan bumiputera yang miskin untuk belajar di situ.

Sekurang-kurangnya satu kesan positif yang timbul daripada isu panas ini ialah timbul kesedaran tentang peranan UiTM dikalangan rakyat walaupun diiringi dengan pelbagai kritikan, prasangka dan juga hinaan dan cacian secara terbuka di media-media. Saya yakin ramai sudah maklum serba sedikit tentang sejarah dan matlamat penubuhan institusi ini dan tidak kurang juga tentang Artikel 153 Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

Pelbagai hujahan telah ditulis oleh pelbagai pihak baik dari pihak UiTM, para graduan UiTM (selain Dyana), para majikan dan tidak kurang juga golongan awam. Eloklah kita ambil kesempatan ini untuk menilai tahap kejayaan UiTM ketika ini dan mengenalpasti halatuju selanjutnya.

[Harap maklum bahawa penulis juga merupakan graduan Fakulti Undang-Undang UiTM sejak sepuluh tahun yang lepas.] Read the rest of this entry »

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How to ensure poor get their share of scholarships

– Koon Yew Yin
The Malaysian Insider
May 11, 2014

Since my retirement, I have been concerned with how we can solve the problem of the poor through educational mobility.

This has involved putting my money where my mouth is in a programme which helps needy families send their children to university through financing their first year.

Although Forbes, the media organisation has given recognition to me in its annual selection of Asian philanthropic heroes in 2011, I am the first to realise that my efforts at providing scholarships to the needy are modest and a drop in the ocean of need.

After much reflection, I would like to provide a practical and easy solution to the problem of too many deserving poor children having to chase and compete for too few scholarships.

My solution is a two-pronged one. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysian universities not among world’s top ‘young’ institutions, global survey shows

by Elizabeth Zachariah
The Malaysian Insider
MAY 01, 2014

Malaysian public universities have once again failed to measure up to higher learning institutions around the world, this time being left out of the latest ranking of the annual Times Higher Education (THE) Top 100 Universities under 50 years old.

Four Asian universities are ranked among the top 10 of the world’s young universities, including South Korea’s Pohang University of Science and Technology which took the top spot, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (3), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (4) and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (5).

Malaysia, however, failed to get on the list for the second year running. In the first rankings list in 2012, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) was ranked 98th.

This is despite Putrajaya’s claim that Malaysia has one of the best education systems in the world – better than United States, Britain and Germany. Read the rest of this entry »

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What is ‘the best interest of everyone’ by retracting invitation to opposition lawmaker?

April 10, 2014

DAP’s Tony Pua has been ‘uninvited’ by the organisers of the Malaysia Summit Australia conference due to pressue from sponsors of the event. – The Malaysian Insider pic, April 10,2014.DAP MP Tony Pua is not speaking at the Malaysia Summit Australia (MASA) in Melbourne on April 22 because the event’s main sponsors felt that “it was not in the best interest of everyone” to have him on the panel.

Among the sponsors are Shell Malaysia, Astro, Education Malaysia Australia, Ayam Brand, Malaysian Australian Alumni Council and Kelab Umno Australia.

Obviously, it is their right to decide on the speakers line-up as they are funding the annual summit that features Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir.

This is not the first time that those who are critical of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government are barred from students events. Last week, Universiti Malaya (UM) refused to allow former Bersih co-chair Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan to speak at a law convention.

Pua, the Petaling Jaya Utara MP, also revealed that he had been barred from speaking in UM on at least three occasions. Again, that is UM’s right.

These incidents reflect the mindset of the varsities, organisers and the sponsors, who are more interested in being in the good books of the ruling government than being the catalysts for students to listen and learn from those on all sides of the political divide. Read the rest of this entry »

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Chronic rent-seeking due to corrupted NEP, says Ku Li

by Joseph Sipalan
Malay Mail Online
4 April 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 — “Haywire” implementation of the New Economic Policy (NEP) was the cause of the rampant cronyism and rent-seeking now ailing Malaysia, said veteran lawmaker Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

The former finance minister said the practice of patronage in implementing the policy had undermined the “just and noble” philosophy that underpinned the social engineering programme that was mooted in the aftermath of the May 13, 1969 racial riots.

“The entrenchment of rent-seeking and patronage system into the fabric of Malaysian life begs the question: How did this come to pass?” he said in his keynote address at the launch of the book “Rich Malaysia, Poor Malaysians” last night.

“Much as this sounds like a blame game and much as this is distasteful to swallow, the answer lies in the New Economic Policy; or rather, the NEP that had gone wrong in its implementation,” he added.

Tengku Razaleigh, or Ku Li as he is popularly known, said the country has fallen victim to the machinations of politicians habitually lining their own pockets and colluding with businessmen who were uncompetitive without preferential treatment. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia ranks 39 out of 44 countries in problem-solving test for 15-year-olds, says report

by Elizabeth Zachariah
The Malaysian Insider
April 02, 2014

Malaysia once again fared poorly in a world student performance assessment test conducted in 2012, ending up in the bottom quarter among 44 countries – a result that reinforces the concern that the country’s education system is in tatters.

Malaysia ranked 39 with a mean score of 422 in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) first assessment on creative problem-solving, while neighbouring Singapore came out tops with a mean score of 562, said the report released yesterday by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The overall mean score for all countries was 500.

Malaysia had more than half of the share of low achievers, which means the students tested lacked the skills needed in a modern workplace.

In contrast, Singapore only had 8% share of low achievers. The mean share was 21.4%.

On the other hand, Malaysia only had 0.9% share of top performers compared with Singapore’s 29.3%. Malaysia’s share was below the average percentage of 11.4%.

This showed that only one out of 10 Malaysian students, aged 15, is able to solve the most complex problems, compared with one in five in Singapore, Korea and Japan. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia must stop mediocrity rot

– Lok Wing Kong
The Malaysian Insider
March 30, 2014

Former de facto law minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said that in 30 years, Malaysia will be on a par with Singapore.

He is totally wrong in that Malaysia will never be able to catch up with Singapore. Why? It is simple. Singapore practise hyper meritocracy while Malaysia practises mediocrity.

The two countries are moving forward at different speeds. They can only be getting further apart over time.

World Bank senior economist Dr Frederico Gil Sander recently said that the low quality of Malaysia’s education was more alarming than its household debts.

The writer cannot agree with him more as the policy of mediocrity is at play. Read the rest of this entry »

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New Form 3 exam system open to bias, abuse, says education activist

by Sheridan Mahavera
The Malaysian Insider
March 20, 2014

The new exam system that will replace the PMR for Form Three students this year is open to bias and abuse, and could jeopardise the future of children from poorer families, said an education activist today.

Mohd Noor Izzat Mohd Johari said that unlike the old system, where the Form Three exam is produced and graded by an independent body outside the school, the new one, PT3 or Form Three Assessment, will be done by the teachers of each individual schools.

Since PT3 results are used by students to apply to elite schools such as residential schools and the MARA junior science colleges, richer, more well off parents could pressure teachers into giving their children better grades.

“This is the situation that we are afraid will happen. When parents come to school and ask that teachers ‘take care’ of their kids,” said Mohd Noor Izzat who teaches art at a secondary school in Pahang.

Noor Izzat said this was a big worry for teachers after the PT3 was announced yesterday by the Education Ministry as part of its improvements to the school based assessment system (PBS). Read the rest of this entry »

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Applauding Khairy’s suggestion to revise BTN

— Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud
The Malay Mail Online
March 6, 2014

MARCH 6 ― In The Malay Mail dated 5 March, Umno minister Khairy Jamaluddin has suggested a revision of the country’s National Civics Bureau (BTN) training courses, saying undergraduates should be treated like adults and not taught to be blind supporters of the government.

I, myself have never been to any of BTN courses. However, a few years back, a friend of mine who was working for a government agency and was dating a lovely Chinese lady received a directive from his superior to attend a BTN course.

Upon returning from the course held somewhere in the state of Pahang, we went for our weekly coffee session and he shared with me his experience about the course he attended. He mentioned,

“The course made me racist. I feel that the other races are not thankful enough for being in Malaysia. We should show them that we are the boss and they better respect it.”

I was shocked. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dare Muhyiddin make a Ministerial statement in Parliament next week to explain why Singapore can get two universities for four consecutive years into the THE Top 100 Universities World Reputation Rankings and THE World University Rankings for Top 400 but not a single one from Malaysia?

For many years, it is a heart-breaking event for Malaysians whenever there is a publication of world university rankings, for it is not to find out how well Malaysian universities compare with the best in the world but how badly Malaysian universities fared in international university comparisons and benchmarkings.

The release today of the 2014 Times Higher Education (THE) World Reputation Rankings for the Top 100 Universities is no different. In fact, it is worse.

For four consecutive years, Malaysia has been excluded from both the THE World Reputation Rankings and the THE World University Rankings for Top 400, with not a single Malaysian university able to make the grade in both rankings.

Singapore National University (SNU) achieved the best World Reputation Rankings in the four-year THE series, ranked No. 34 in 2011, 40 in 2012, 29 in 2013 and 21 in 2014. SNU is only behind two other Asian universities the 2014 World Reputation Rankings – University of Tokyo and Kyoto University in 11th and 19th ranking respectively.

Other Asian universities following closely behind SNU in the THE World Reputation Rankings 2014 are Seoul National University (No. 26), Tsinghua University (No. 36), Peking University (No. 41), University of Hong Kong (No. 43), Osaka University (No. 50), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), National Taiwan University and Tokyo Institute of Technology (No. 51-60), Tohoku University (No. 61-70), Chinese University of Hong Kong, Yonsei University (No.81-90) and Nanyang Technological University (No. 91-100).

What must be very mortifying to Malaysians who in the past had prided in having University of Malaya in the fifties and sixties as one of the world-ranking universities comparable in academic excellence with universities like the Universities of Hong Kong, Melbourne and Sydney now finding Malaysian universities not only trailing far behind their previous peers, including Universities of Singapore, Hong Kong, Melbourne and Sydney, but being overtaken by universities which Malaysians had never heard before. Read the rest of this entry »

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Let us pay tribute to three unsung heroes who dare to stand up for inter-religious harmony, clean elections and a better education system – Azrul Mohd Khalib, Major Zaidi Ahmad and Mohd Nor Izzah

Let us pay tribute to ordinary Malaysians who are the country’s unsung heroes who dare to stand up for a better Malaysia whether in terms of a better education system, clean elections or inter-religious harmony, for they are the salt of the earth who will ensure that Malaysia will achieve her greatness instead of becoming a failed state.

Mohd Nor Izzat Mohd Johari, the head of Suara Guru Masyarakat Malaysia (SGMM), who is facing mean, petty and punitive persecution from the “Little Napoleons” in the Education Ministry with the Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin too “busy” to intervene, is one such unsung hero in Malaysia.

What is Nor Izzat’s crime? None, instead he had rendered great national service in spearheading the protest against the woes of the badly-planned and poorly-conceived student-based assessment (SBA) system. He should be rewarded for his positive contribution in forcing the Education Ministry to suspend the SBA instead of being subject to mean and petty punitive actions.

Another unsung Malaysian hero is Royal Malaysian Air Force pilot Major Zaidi Ahmad who should be rewarded instead of being penalised for speaking up about the indelible ink fiasco in the recent 13th General Elections and is now awaiting court-martial for his great service as a patriot to the country.

Nor Izzat wants to have a better education system for our teachers and children. Major Zaidi wants the country to have a clean election system which Malaysians can stand tall in the world.

A third unsung hero Malaysians should pay tribute to is social activist Azrul Mohd Khalib who led a Malaysians for Malaysia group to spearhead a “Walk for Peace” movement among ordinary Malaysians who care about the country to push for national healing in the face of the worst racial and religious polarization in the nation’s 56-year history. Read the rest of this entry »

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As Muhyiddin seems to be clueless about education in Malaysia, is he going to resign as Education Minister?

Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said during his by-election campaign in Kajang today that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is unfit to be Selangor Mentri Besar as he seems to be “clueless” about Selangor’s water deal with Putrajaya despite being the state economic advisor.

Anwar is the best person to respond to Muhyiddin’s allegation that Anwar is “clueless” on the Selangor water issue, but the Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Education Minister raises the important question whether he himself should resign as Education Minister as it is clear that Muhyiddin is quite clueless about education in Malaysia.

That Muhyiddin is quite clueless about education issues which come under his direct Ministerial responsibility is presently in full display, when he pleaded on Monday that he knew nothing about the mean, petty and punitive transfer to a rural school of the head of Suara Guru Masyarakat Malaysia (SGMM), Mohd Nor Izzat Mohd Johari, who had spearheaded the protest against the weaknesses in the implementation of the student-based assessment (SBA) system and Muhyiddin has remained in this limbo of cluelessness for the past five days. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Muhyiddin has not countermanded the mean, petty and punitive directive to transfer Nor Izzat from Jerantut to a rural school for spearheading the protest against the SBA weaknesses

The Najib administration prides itself on its efficiency and “People First, Performance Now” slogan, but almost a week have passed and the Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has yet to countermand the mean, petty and punitive directive to transfer Mohd Nor Izzat Mohd Johari, head of Suara Guru Masyarakat Malaysia (SGMM) from Jerantut to a rural school for spearheading the protest against the weaknesses in the implementation of the student-based assessment (SBA) system.

Instead of thanking Nor Izzat for his contribution in forcing the Education Ministry to face up to the crisis faced by teachers as a result of dismally-conceived implementation of the SBA, resulting finally in the SBA system being put on hold last week, Muhyiddin is allowing the “Little Napoleons” in the Education Department a free hand to penalise Nor Izzat and other teachers for their courage and conviction in speaking up about the SBA weaknesses.

When Nor Izzat’s punitive transfer to a rural school with only 24 hours’ notice became public, Muhyiddin disclaimed responsibility, denying that he was involved in Nor Izzat’s transfer.

But what has Muhyiddin done in the past week to countermand Nor Izzat’s punitive transfer. Read the rest of this entry »

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Teacher in school assessment controversy warned, but says this is not for personal glory

by Elizabeth Zachariah
The Malaysian Insider
February 26, 2014

Teacher Mohd Nor Izzat Mohd Johari was warned that speaking up against the administration could cost him dearly.

His good friends cautioned him. So did his father, a teacher with 15 years’ experience.

“I am not doing this for personal glory,” the teacher caught in the middle of the school-based assessment (SBA) controversy, adding that he was doing this to champion the rights of his overburdened colleagues.

The 29-year-old, who heads the Suara Guru Masyarakat Malaysia (SGMM), is adamant about seeing an overhaul to SBA even if he loses his government job along the way.

“Yes, many of my teacher friends and even my father, who was a teacher, told me that action will be taken against me if I spoke up against the Education Ministry.

“And this was proven right recently,” he said, referring to the 24-hour transfer order he received three days ago.

He was transferred to a rural school some 80km away from his previous school in Jerantut, Pahang. Read the rest of this entry »

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Muhyiddin – stop bellyache, just issue a directive cancelling all punitive actions against Nor Izzat and all other teachers for criticising SBA

I advise the Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to stop belly-ache and just to issue a directive to revoke all punitive actions against Suara Guru Masyarakat Malaysia (SGMM) chief Mohd Nor Izzat Mohd Johari and all other teachers for criticising the student-based assessment (SBA) system.

What is Muhyiddin hoping to achieve by denying that he was involved in transferring Nor Izzat who had spearheaded a protest against the SBA system within 24 hours from Jerantut to a rural school in Pahang last week?

Let me tell Muhyiddin that Malaysians are not interested whether the transfer order came from the district education office or otherwise, but that as Education Minister he must take full and personal responsibility for punitive actions taken against Nor Izzat and all teachers who had criticised the SBA – and that his first duty now is to countermand all the punitive actions which had been issued not only against Nor Izzat but all other teachers who had been penalised for the courage of their convictions in speaking out against the disastrous implementation of SBA. Read the rest of this entry »

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All disciplinary action against SGMM chief Nor Izzat and all teachers who criticised SBA should be immediately withdrawn

With the suspension of the controversial School-Based Assessment (SBA), the Education Ministry should also revoke all disciplinary action against Suara Guru Masyarakat Malaysia (SGMM) chief Mohd Nor Izzat Mohd Johari and all teachers who criticised the SBA.

The heavy-handed response by the Education Ministry to penalise Nor Izzat and teachers who have come forward to criticise the SBA is totally uncalled for and unjustifiable and must be deplored as a very mean and cowardly manner to suppress legitimate criticism in the education service.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin should give his personal attention to ensure that all disciplinary actions against Nor Izzat and teachers who had criticised the SBA should be revoked immediately.

The SBA fiasco transforming teachers into data entry clerks, forcing teachers to get up at 2 or 2 am just to input the grades of students because of online network problems, should be an expensive lesson in the so-called educational transformation of the country. Read the rest of this entry »

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Putrajaya clamps down on dissent, transfers anti-assessment system teacher

by Lee Shi-Ian
The Malaysian Insider
February 22, 2014

The man behind the teacher pressure group’s planned protest today against the student-based assessment (SBA) has been given a 24-hour notice of transfer to a rural school in Pahang in what is seen as Putrajaya’s clampdown on dissent by civil servants.

Despite the sudden transfer notification, teacher Mohd Nor Izzat Mohd Johari, 29, who is the Suara Guru-Masyarakat Malaysia (SGMM) working group chief, refused to be cowed and said the protest would go ahead as planned.

The group planned to gather at the Bandar Baru Bangi mosque prior to the rally.

Nor Izzat, who has been called “Guru Setahun Jagung” (greenhorn teacher) by the ministry for being a vocal critic of the SBA, said his transfer was proof that the Education Ministry was exercising its powers over him.

He told The Malaysian Insider that his good friend and colleague, Mohd Zulkefli Seman, who teaches at the same school in Jerantut, Pahang, also received a transfer letter yesterday morning.

Nor Izzat said Zulkefli was not a SGMM member, but had accompanied him to meet with Education Minister II Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh last year. Read the rest of this entry »

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On the eve of the Teachers’ Spring?

Azly Rahman
Feb 14, 2014

“School-based assessment”, “Data-driven decision-making”, “Professional Learning Communities”, “Systems-based schooling”, “Authentic-based assessment”.

All these are nice words for Malaysian schools to have but alien to teachers driven to death by administrative work to even understand let alone enculturalise scientific thinking in teaching and learning and in managing student progress.

We have a society with scientific buzz-word and sloganism governing, but not yet a society whose members value scientific and rational thinking. That is why we have tribal practices in schools, of:

*Magic pills administered for students taking tests;

*Magic and miracle water drank to increase intelligence;

*Strange sounding pills sold to enhance brain power;

*Teachers punishing students to eat grass, asking them to go back to where they belong, and all kinds of methods used to punish children not skilled in memorising facts that will become obsolete.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Needed – Kajang Declaration on Sanity

Azly Rahman
Feb 7, 2014

Blatant racism, religious bigotry, school culture degenerating, public display of hatred, urging this or that kind of jihad at times for reasons unknown, the vigilantes taking over when law and order seem to be at a critical breaking point, mass feeding of the public with stories that hath no educational value and even devoid of moral sensitivity, frequent public protests plagued with character assassinations rather that the focusing on issues to be collectively addressed as a nation, parang-wielding robberies in broad daylight on an almost weekly basis, rising number of cases of children missing, political moves crafted and executed in desperation that weaken due process in democratic culture sorely in need of sane progression, politicians producing statements in arrogance on pressing devoid of intellectual depths, the intensification of effort by fascist groups to incite violence progressively in hope that the bloody riots of May 13, 1969 is to be re-enacted on a larger scale perhaps.

The media as a technology of consciousness shaper both at the level of Grand and Subaltern Narratives have been successful in playing the role of creator of peace and destroyer of it, as if there is no difference between good and evil in the way we use the materials to build this nation. Read the rest of this entry »

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