Archive for category Education

Congrats to Abang Johari as the new Sarawak Chief Minister and seven areas of Adenan legacy that should be upheld and fulfilled by both Sarawak state and federal governments

Firstly, let me congratulate Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg on his appointment as the new Sarawak Chief Minister.

He has a tall order to uphold and fulfill the Adenan legacy in at least seven areas viz:

1. Devolution, decentralisation and restoration of powers from Putrajaya to the Sarawak government not only in keeping with Malaysia Agreement 1963 but also in line with universal developments and trends on devolution and decentralisation of powers and jurisdictions.

2. Increase of Sarawak’s oil and gas royalty from the current amount of five per cent to 20 per cent to maximise the benefit Sarawak can get from its resources, whether forests, waterways, environment or minerals especially oil and gas.

3. Restoration of previous Sarawakian and Malaysian proficiency of English. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malays and Their Educational Misery

Koon Yew Yin
10th Jan 2017

A few days ago, I received a whatsapp with a long heading. It dealt with the education woes of the Malay community and was titled: HASIL DARI DASAR BANGANG, SIAPA YANG BANGANG KALAU BUKAN KITA YANG MEMILIH MEREKA PEMBUAT DASAR BANGANG? SEORANG RAKAN SEJAWAT DI IPT MENULIS

Loosely translated, this is the equivalent in English: PRODUCT OF STUPID POLICY: WHO IS IT THAT IS STUPID IF NOT OURSELVES WHO HAVE CHOSEN THOSE POLICY MAKERS. A FRIEND FROM THE UNIVERSITY WRITES

This post in the social media has gone viral in many Malay chat groups. But I doubt if it will ever appear in the Malay newspapers such as Utusan Malaysia or Berita Harian. Or even be carried or commented on in the English media even though it is worthy of national discussion and analysis.

Here is a quick summary of its contents: Read the rest of this entry »

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Final tranche of questions for Salleh after the Communications and Multimedia Minister admitted he is unable to answer the 35 questions directed at him

This is the final tranche of five questions for the Minister for Communications and Multimedia, Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak as he had admitted he is unable to answer the 35 questions directed at him in the past seven days.

This means however that Salleh is unable to reinstate his right to ask questions and to demand answers from others – having doubly forfeited such right when firstly, as Minister responsible for the portfolio of information, he failed to answer numerous questions about government scandals and failings; and secondly, failing to acquit himself when given a second chance to redeem himself when I put 35 questions to him.

Out of the 34 questions I have put to Salleh, 14 were about the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB kleptocratic money-laundering scandal and Malaysia’s international infamy and ignominy of having ascended to the exclusive club of “global kleptocracy”; three questions about Malaysia’s second international infamy and ignominy for being excluded from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015, regarded as the world’s school report, for data and sample bungling; four questions on the perfidy in UMNO and Barisan Nasional over Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act 355); three questions about the abuses of power and repression against critics and the civil society and seven questions about UMNO’s exploitation of the extremist politics of race, religion, “Big Lies” and hatred to hang on to power in the forthcoming 14th General Election.

It speaks volumes that Salleh is unable to answer any of these important national questions. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fifth tranche of questions for Salleh from 1MDB, RUU 355 to PISA 2015

My fifth tranche of questions for the Minister for Communications and Multimedia, Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak to help him reinstate his right to ask questions and demand answers from others, after forfeiting such right when as Minister responsible for the portfolio of information, he failed to answer numerous questions about government scandals and failings, are as follows:

Question 21:

Can Salleh explain why there was no post-Cabinet statement yesterday on the Cabinet position on Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act 355), especially after the joint admission by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Jamil Khir Bahrom and the Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister, Datuk Ahmad Maslan on Sunday that the UMNO leadership wanted to force the other 13 component parties to support Hadi’s private member’s bill by a government takeover of the bill in Parliament next March?

Did the Ministers from MCA, Gerakan, MIC, and the Sabah and Sarawak BN component parties just keep their silence in Cabinet yesterday when they should have spoken up after Jamil and Ahmad Maslan’s revelations? Read the rest of this entry »

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Don’t just think of our grandkids, but think of the grandkids of all Malaysians

I must thank the Minister for Tourism and Culture, Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz for his being so solicitous over my welfare, suggesting that I should be caring my grandchildren in my twilight years.

But Nazri cannot be more wrong, for we should not just think of our grandchildren, but also about the grandchildren of all Malaysians.

In fact, I call on all Malaysians, regardless of age, to transcend race, religion or region, to be solicitous of the national welfare and should involve themselves in ensuring that the country is a better place of our grandchildren and their children.

I put Nazri’s suggestion on my Facebook yesterday, asking whether I should listen to his advice.

The overwhelming majority, almost unanimous, view was in the negative, and some of the comments are as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

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Answer these first, Kit Siang bombards Salleh with questions

Malaysiakini
20 Dec 2016

Lim Kit Siang has bombarded Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak with a barrage of questions

This is after the minister questioned whether the opposition could come up with a shadow cabinet and also asked that the opposition explain what it would do if PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim cannot become prime minister.

However, Lim pointed out that Salleh was raising a spree of questions when the minister himself has not been answering for the government’s alleged scandals and failings.

“If there is any ministry which is assigned the responsibility of defending the government, it is Salleh’s ministry.

“But realising that much as he wanted, he is just incapable of defending the indefensible, Salleh is subtly trying to transform his ministerial portfolio of answering questions on behalf of the government into one of asking questions about the opposition.

“If Salleh expects answers to his questions, let him perform his ministerial duty to answer questions about government scandals and failings,” he said.

The veteran leader then proceeded to bombard Salleh with questions on a daily basis since last Sunday. Read the rest of this entry »

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Third tranche of questions for Salleh – from 1MDB, PISA 2015 to Aleppo

Yesterday, I put to the Minister for Communications and Multimedia, Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak a second tranche of five questions to answer so that he could restore his right to ask questions and demand answers from others, as he had forfeited such right when as a Minister responsible for the portfolio of information, had failed to answer numerous questions about government scandals and failings.

Today, I put to Salleh a third tranche of five questions for him to answer to perform his Ministerial duty before he could start asking questions and demanding answers from others.

My third tranche of five questions are:

Question 11:

One of the questions posed in an electronic media today is as follows:

“If 1MDB is squeaky clean, why are people charged abroad?”

In Singapore, bank officer Yvonne Seah was jailed for two weeks, while her supervisor Yaw Yee Chee was jailed for 18 weeks for abetting businessman Jho Low to launder funds linked to 1MDB.

While the Singapore government has prosecuted the few private investment bankers and closed BSI Bank and Falcon private bank, nothing seems to have happened in Malaysia to the few, untouchable men, namely Jho Low and the prime minister’s stepson Riza Aziz, without whom this massive financial scandal could not have taken place, causing US$3.5 billion to be stolen from the Malaysian people, as alleged by US attorney-general Loretta Lynch.

Can Salleh explain the unending reverberations in other countries of the roiling international 1MDB kleptocratic money-laundering scandal, when the Malaysian government continues with its pretence that there is nothing wrong with 1MDB.

Are Yvonne Seah and Yaw Yee Chee wrongly convicted and jailed in Singapore? Read the rest of this entry »

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After being regarded worldwide as a global kleptocracy, PISA 2015 should not be the second international infamy Malaysians have to suffer for the year 2016

Ten days are long enough for the Education Minister, Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid to abdicate from his responsibility to explain the shame and infamy from the exclusion and rejection of Malaysia’s results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015, described as the world’s school report.

Deputy Education Minister, Datuk Chong Sin Woon, raised eyebrows when he said yesterday that “A report being prepared by the committee conducting the mathematics, reading and science under PISA 2015 will explain the reason for the inadequate sampling which resulted in Malaysia’s disqualification”.

Let me tell Mahdzir – Just tell the truth. There is no need for a committee to crack its head as to how to “massage the message” of Malaysia’s disgraceful disqualification from PISA 2015 although 9,660 Form III students from 230 schools reportedly took part in the PISA 2015 tests.

If the Education Ministry tries to cook up a cock-and-bull story to put it in good light over Malaysia’s disgraceful exclusion and disqualification from PISA 2015, it bears the risk of double infamy when it is exposed a second time.

When the PISA 2015 results were released worldwide in London on 6th December, and Malaysia was excluded from PISA 2015 rankings although Malaysia took part in the PISA 2015 tests, I had on the same day called on Mahdzir to give “a full and detailed explanation”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is Malaysian Education Blueprint target for Malaysia to be above global average and be in top one-third of countries in international educational standards by 2025 realistic and achievable – or whether it should be lowered and amended

The Education Ministry is setting a bad moral example to the young generation of Malaysians as it is not even telling a white lie, but a downright lie, on Malaysia’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015 results.

It is indeed shocking that a Ministry which is responsible for the moral upbringing of a young generation of Malaysians should be guilty of such immorality as to try to lie its way out of the shame and ignominy of Malaysia’s exclusion from the results and rankings for mathematics, science and reading in the PISA 2015 Report.

Lets get down to the brass tacks – is the Education deputy director-general Datuk Dr. Amin Senin seriously claiming that the Malaysian government’s assertion that Malaysia’s PISA 2015 results for all three subjects have improved from those of PISA 2012 – i.e. mathematics from 404 to 421, Science from 420 to 422 and Reading from 398 to 414 – is recognised by PISA authorities in OECD?

The answer is an unequivocal “NO”, or Malaysia would not have been excluded from the rankings for mathematics, reading and science in PISA 2015, which appears on Page 44 of the PISA 2015 Results Volume 1 (Excellence and Equity in Education). Read the rest of this entry »

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PISA 2015 a major setback for Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 to achieve above global average and be in top one-third of countries in international educational standards in less than a decade by 2025

The PISA 2015 results were supposed to be the coming-of-age of the Najib premiership, both nationally and internationally – to provide evidence that under Najib’s premiership, with his string of National Transformation Programmes, the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025, and most important of all, his forthcoming and most ambitious 2050 National Transformation (TN50) Plan to replace Vision 2020, Malaysia would not only be able to become a RM2 trillion economy in seven to eight years, but to become the Top 20 nation in the world.

But the PISA 2015 results were a major setback to Najib’s towering ambitions, in particular the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025 objective to achieve above global average and be in top one-third of countries in international educational standards in less than a decade by 2025.

This was why the Malaysian government was so quick off-the-mark to claim credit for good improvement in the OECD-organised PISA 2015 tests – announcing that Malaysia scored 446 in Mathematics, 431 in Reading and 443 in Science as compared to Malaysia’s PISA 2012 results of 421 in Mathematics, 414 in Reading and 422 in Science.

This will be quite creditable improvement if true, as the three sets of PISA results for Malaysia since 2009 would be as follows:

PISA Score (Rank)
2009 2012 2015
Maths 404(57) 421(52) 446(45)
Science 422(52) 420(53) 443(47)
Reading 414(55) 398(59) 431(50)

Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Australia’s PISA results are a catastrophe

by Jennifer Buckingham
Australian Financial Review
December 7, 2016

Problem-based learning is a problem if children don’t have the basic skills to apply.

Two sets of independent international test results released in the past week show Australia’s education system has serious deficiencies.

The results of the Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) 2015 showed no change in maths and science scores for Australian students since 1995 while other countries improved, leading to a slide in our international rankings.

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015 results are even worse – the performance of Australian students in reading, maths and science has significantly decreased over the past 15 years.

There has been a corresponding slide in our international rankings because other countries have either maintained their performance or improved. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Global Search for Education: Everything You Need to Know About PISA

C. M. Rubin
Huffington Post
12/06/2016

“If we look at countries like Singapore, Canada, Estonia, Japan and Finland, who have combined excellence and equity over a number of PISA cycles, we can see what they do: they have high and universal expectations for all students, an unwavering focus on outstanding teaching and they target resources on schools and students that are struggling.” — Andreas Schleicher

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a triennial international survey that evaluates education systems. Once a country is approved for participation by PISA, individual schools are chosen based on stringent criteria to represent all 15 year-olds in that country. In 2015, over half a million 15-year-olds in 72 countries and economies took the two-hour test. Students were assessed in science, mathematics, reading, collaborative problem solving and financial literacy, although the major emphasis of the 2015 test was science literacy. The results were published today.

Some fascinating highlights: Just four provinces in China now provide 13% of the world’s top-performing students; Singapore, Canada, Estonia, Japan and Finland have combined excellence and equity over a number of PISA tests, and interestingly these countries have a steadfast commitment to outstanding teaching and to supporting schools and students that are struggling. While socio-economic status accounts for 13% of the variation in science, maths and reading, the 10% most disadvantaged students in Macao (China) and Vietnam outperformed the 10% most advantaged students in 20 PISA participating countries. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Guardian view on the Pisa tests: slicing them up

Editorial
The Guardian
6 December 2016

Tony Blair wanted to be remembered for his education reforms, and the latest results from the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment – Pisa – the triennial survey of the skills of 15-year-olds suggest that if only he had concentrated on his domestic agenda, he probably would have been.

The Pisa scores are notorious for revealing no consistent message, but it is striking that England’s 15-year-olds are performing about as well as three years ago, where Scotland and Wales, where reform was rebuffed, are in decline.

Overall, the UK’s performance is almost unchanged: a little above the OECD average, still a long way behind Singapore, Japan and Estonia, but well ahead of Italy, Israel and Iceland. There is a marginal improvement in the UK’s ranking, despite a slight decline in scores. Read the rest of this entry »

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In the world’s biggest education test, one small country has raced past all the others

Jenny Anderson/Amy X. Wang
Quartz
December 06, 2016

Every three years the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) tests 15-year-olds around the world on their math, science and reading abilities.

Then, countries around the world celebrate, or panic.

For example, in 2000, the world learned Finland was a global education superpower (that was news to many in Finland too, according to some). Somehow the country managed to start kids in school at 7, have short school days, assign little homework, test kids infrequently, and still eke out amazing results.

Finland’s schools became a top tourist attraction, as educators around the globe flocked to understand their secret (basically, stringent selection of teachers, who are given autonomy to teach).

But what goes up sometimes comes down. In the OECD’s latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) ranking, for 2015, Finland has fallen from its perch (though it remains a very high performer), and Singapore trounced the rest of the world on math, reading and science.

PISA 2015 includes data from 72 countries and economies, including all 35 OECD members and 37 other countries and economies. In some cases, regions stand in for countries: Taiwan’s results are based on testing in Taipei, in Argentina only the city of Buenos Aires participates, and in mainland China, four provinces — Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Guangdong (B-S-J-G) participate.

In addition, some countries paid to have subnational regions tested separately; the US, for instance, asked for rankings for Massachusetts and North Carolina. Approximately 540,000 students took the test, which aims to capture what students know toward the end of their formal schooling, and how well they can apply that knowledge more broadly. Read the rest of this entry »

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How can the Education Ministry claim that Malaysia has achieved higher scores in PISA 2015 when PISA 2015 authorities have dropped and de-recognised Malaysia’s results from the OECD “world school report”?

I am amazed as to how the Education Ministry can claim that Malaysian students had registered better scores in mathematics, science and reading according to the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015 results announced in London yesterday, when PISA 2015 authorities have dropped and derecognised Malaysia’s results from the OECD “world school report” in this triennial test, for reasons which have yet to be disclosed.

It is completely unthinkable that the Education Deputy Director-General Datuk Dr. Amin Senin could announce Malaysia’s results for the PISA 2015, claiming better scores in all three PISA domains, scientific literacy, reading literacy and mathematical literacy, when Malaysia was the only one of the 72 countries/economics which took part in the PISA 2015 tests last year but which had been dropped from the PISA 2015 results released yesterday.

The Education Ministry should know why Malaysia had the dishonour and ignominy of being the only one of the 72 participating countries/economies to be dropped and derecognised from the PISA 2015 results announced in London yesterday as well as from the PISA 2015 Report and the Education Ministry owes it to the Malaysian people, and in particular to the 9,660 Form III students from 230 schools and involving 5,750 teachers and 230 administrators who were selected to participate in the PISA 2015 tests, to reveal why Malaysia had been officially dropped and de-recognised from the PISA 2015 tests after Malaysian students had participated in the programme last year. Read the rest of this entry »

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Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid should explain why Malaysia is dropped from PISA 2015 although Malaysian students participated in the OECD assessment for what is described as the “world school report”

Educationists, teachers and politicians had been waiting for the OECD’s PISA 2015 results which had been described as the world’s school report – and Malaysia is no exception, especially as the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025 had as one of its objectives the elevation of Malaysia into the top one-third of countries participating in international assessments like the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science (TIMSS).

Like educationists, teachers and politicians all over the countries whose 15-year-old students had taken part in the tests taken by half a million 15-year-olds in 72 countries in maths, reading and science – held every three years – I was waiting this evening for the launch and unveiling of the PISA 2015 results in London at 11 am UK time.

In 2015 over half a million students, representing 28 million 15-year-olds in 72 countries and economies, took the internationally agreed two-hour test. Students were assessed in science, mathematics, reading, collaborative problem solving and financial literacy.

I was shocked and stunned when I combed through the PISA 2015 Report, and could not find Malaysia in the in the world results. Malaysia was the only one of the 72 countries omitted from the PISA 2015 results. Read the rest of this entry »

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When will Malaysia break into the dominance of Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan in rankings of TIMSS for math and science or is this a mere pipe-dream?

Is the Education Minister, Datuk Seri Mahdzir bin Khalid happy with the results of Malaysian students in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2015 made public worldwide yesterday?

The Education Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr. Khair Mohamad Yusuf seems to be quite ecstatic and easily satisfied with the results of Malaysian students in TIMSS 2015, when the results should be cause for grave concern for all educationists and parents in Malaysia.

In a way, Khair is right in that the TIMSS 2015 results was an improvement on the TIMSS 2011, as Malaysia scored 465 in mathematics and 471 in science, which is a significant improvement from 2011, when it was 440 and 426 respectively, for 14-year-old Form 2 students.

However, this is the second worst score for 14-year-old Malaysian Form 2 students in five TIMSS results since 1995, as shown by the following marks achieved by Malaysian students in the TIMSS series: Read the rest of this entry »

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Asia University Rankings 2016: Malaysia must refocus to develop as a higher education power

By Ellie Bothwell
THE World University Rankings
June 20, 2016

The country spends more on higher education than many of its regional neighbours, so why isn’t this reflected in the Asia University Rankings?

Malaysia aims to be the “education hub” of South-east Asia, says Wahid Omar, vice-chancellor of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

“Higher education is the catalyst for innovation for the country and the key agent in revolutionising the lives of the community as a whole,” he says.

While Singapore is the strongest country in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in the rankings, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia are also home to some of the continent’s top-ranked universities.

Thailand leads on the number of representatives, with seven, but the highest-ranked institution in the region outside Singapore is Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, in joint 70th place.

Jamil Salmi, former coordinator of the World Bank’s tertiary education programme, says Malaysia has “more consistently focused on excellence in its university sector” than Thailand and Indonesia and has “one of the highest levels of public spending on tertiary education in the world”.

But Simon Marginson, professor of international higher education at the UCL Institute of Education, says that as Malaysia has “two-thirds of the gross domestic product per head of Korea”, it “should be doing much better”, and he questions whether the country is “paying the price for being a resource-rich economy”.

“This can lead governments to ‘coast’ and underperform in higher education,” he says. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ministers’ failure of leadership and lack of moral courage which is why the Malaysian government has lost its moral compass and Malaysia lost its way in the sixth decade of nationhood

The Higher Education Minister, Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh today gave an example of the Ministers’ failure of leadership and lack of moral courage which is why the Malaysian government has lost its moral compass and Malaysia lost its way in the sixth decade of nationhood.

In answering the question by the PKR MP for Penampang Darell Leiking, Idris defended the two forums against Christianisation held by Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), claiming that they were meant to explain the threat of Islamic State (IS) and Syiah teachings. Read the rest of this entry »

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Umberto Eco changed my life

THE JOY OF SEMIOTICS

by Annalisa Merelli
February 20, 2016

He did so on a bright, warm day in Bologna — I think it was the late spring of 2003. I was an undergraduate student then, one year away from a degree in mass communication, and with too many ideas (my personal brand of not having a clue) about what to do next. Professor Eco was going to present the brand-new master’s degree in semiotics — the world’s first! — in the room B of the University of Bologna’s communications department, which boasted a total of three rooms.

I went out of curiosity — about him, not the course. I had bent my Italian practicality too much already, had heard far too many times that the path I was on was never going to get me a job, to even consider committing two more years to “the arcane field of semiotics“ — the study of meaning or, as a relative of Steven Johnson’s brilliantly put it, “the study of how plants grow in light. Very important field.” (No one ever knows what semiotics is. No one. Ever.) Read the rest of this entry »

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