Archive for category Education
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 »
Idris Jusoh should stop being elitist, patronising or even “Marie Antoinettish”, as he should stop arguing whether there are hungry university students but get down to resolve the problem of students cutting down on meals because of economic exigencies
The Higher Education Minister, Datuk Idris Jusoh should stop being elitist, patronizing or even “Marie Antoinettish”, as he stop arguing over whether there are hungry university students but get down to resolve the problem of students cutting down on meals because of economic exigencies.
His statement two days ago that he went hungry too when he was a student, but lack of money was not always the issue, was not on the level of the infamous Marie Antoinette statement of “Let them eat cake!” when the French queen learned that the peasants had no bread, but was sufficiently unsympathetic to the students’ problems as to approximate Marie Antoinette in callousness and indifference to social sufferings among the people.
Instead of spearheading a campaign to end such a serious problem, Idris could only think of browbeating the media by ordering them not to highlight such issues; while one Minister after another had followed Idris to express skepticism about the existence of the problem of hungry University students.
This is most shocking for the problem of students cutting down on meals or even going hungry because of the economic strains on the students and their families, is not synthetic problem but a very real issue, as I had met university students in such straits in the past few weeks. Read the rest of this entry »
Malaysia is seriously sick and the only way for the country to be healthy, vibrant and vigorous again and stop being the “Sick Man of ASEAN” is the cure of a change of government in the 14GE
The first fortnight of the new year, 2016, provided fodder for the prophets of doom and gloom for Malaysia, as Malaysia is very sick, afflicted with a multitude of political, economic, good governance and nation-building ailments.
One indication of the seriousness of the Malaysian malady is my six-month suspension from Parliament, not because I had committed any heinous crime or guilty of grave misdemeanour causing Malaysia to be placed in the third ranking of world’s “worst corruption scandals in 2015”, but because of my persistence in the pursuit of the question to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak: “Mana RM2.6 billion?”
This is further proof that those who want answers to the “Mana RM2.6 billion?” are punished while those responsible for these scandals continue to enjoy immunity and impunity under our system of democratic governance!
It is sad is that Parliament has again proven its utter irrelevance and impotence when the Najib government could blatantly break its promise to “answer all” about Najib’s twin mega scandals – the RM2.6 billion “donation” and RM55 billion 1MDB – on the last day of the 25-day Dewan Rakyat budget meeting on Dec. 3 and there was nothing anyone could do to demand full and satisfactory accountability from Najib and the Ministers for the twin mega scandals.
This is why I am using my six-month suspension from Parliament to tour the country – I have so far visited 66 of the 222 parliamentary constituencies – to feel the pulse of the people about Najib’s twin mega scandals.
What I had found and learnt is that Najib cannot be more wrong when he claimed that his twin mega scandals are “dead and buried” and no more burning issues of the country, for all over the country, in every nook and corner, Malaysians regardless of race, religion, region or even politics, age or gender, are demanding answers to the teeming questions about Najib’s twin mega scandals. Read the rest of this entry »
By Murray Hunter
January 6, 2016
Mismanagement, waste, and corruption in public universities
Malaysia’s public universities have dropped completely out of the World University Rankings maintained by the Times of London. Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia was ranked 87th in the top 100 Asian rankings in 2013, but has since fallen out. Not a single Malaysian university made the top 100 Asian rankings.
The collapse of higher education in Malaysia has grown so marked that World Bank economist Dr Frederico Gil Sander recently said the state of the system is more alarming than the country’s considerable public debt. The talent needed to develop the Malaysian economy is not being produced.
It isn’t just the Times survey. Malaysian public universities have also shown mixed results in other surveys like the QS rankings,where three Malaysian universities rose slightly while Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, International Islamic Universiti Malaysia, and Universiti Teknologi MARA, all slipped. Not a single Malaysian university made the top 100, According to the QS ranking profiles, Malaysian universities have lost significant ground in academic reputation and tend to be weak in research, with no Malaysian university even reaching the top 400.
Public Universities Vice-Chancellor/Rector Committee chairman Kamarudin Hussin, also vice chancellor of Universiti Malaysia Perlis (Unimap) claims that the ranking methodologies favor older, more established universities. Yet many universities within the top 100 Asian universities were established relatively recently. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, ranked 7th was established in 1980, Nanyang Technological University, ranked 10th was set up in 1981, and Pohang University of Science and Technology, ranked 11th, was established in 1986. Read the rest of this entry »
The Education Minister should ensure that Malaysian taxpayers do not have to pay for RM3 million mistake in reprint of Year Six History textbook which showed Malacca in the east coast above Terengganu
Education Minister, Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid should ensure that Malaysian taxpayers do not have to pay for the RM3 million mistake in reprint of Year Six History textbook which showed Malacca in the east coast above Terengganu.
It is shocking as to how such a basic mistake, which should not be made under any circumstances, could be made despite the various levels of checks and counter-checks, from the choice of the author to the writing of the text, including the title to the diagrams and content to the last page.
Clearly, the whole system of checks and counter-checks have broken down in the education ministry, which does not reflect well on the professionalism of the Education Ministry, departments and agencies like the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) delegated with such tasks.
The DBP director general Datuk Dr. Awang Sariyan has said that reprinting the history text would cost RM3 million. Read the rest of this entry »
MCA is history when it cannot even ensure that the national contributions and role of MCA founders are given proper respect and recognition in the school history text books
Today, the MCA-owned Star report entitled “Penang’s first CM will not be in history books” made the startling announcement:
“Kuala Lumpur. It seems Tan Sri Wong Pow Nee will not be joining the ranks of other local top leaders in the Year 6 history textbooks used by Chinese vernacular schools after all.
“Education Minister, Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said the history books were already printed and would soon be sent to schools.
“’There will be no more amendments made to the history books,’ he was quoted in a report by Sin Chew Daily.
“Mahdzir pointed out that corrections were made to Malacca which was mistakenly labelled onto the state of Terengganu.”
Mahdzir’s explanation is neither satisfactory nor acceptable. If the ghastly mistake in the SJKR Year Six history textbook, which shifted the Malacca state to the north of the country near Kelantan, could be corrected, why could’nt the omission of Wong Pow Nee in the formation of Malaysia, as one of the members of the Cobbold Commission which recommended positively on the establishment of Malaysia in 1963, be rectified? Read the rest of this entry »
UiTM must give assurance it will not organize a third anti-Christianisation or anti any religion conference and Higher Education Minister Idris should convene meeting with all universities to ensure universities do not become breeding grounds for inter-religious misunderstanding, enmity and hatred
Tan Sri Dr. Sahol Hamid Abu Bakar should be sacked as UiTM Vice Chancellor of University Technology MARA (UiTM) for setting the worst possible example as a responsible Malaysian citizen for allowing the university to host a second anti-Christianisation seminar for the second consecutive year.
The seminar against Christianisation held in the Lendu, Malacca campus of UiTM on Saturday, was the second to be held by the university, after a similar seminar held last year at the UiTM Shah Alam campus, titled “The word ‘Allah’ and Christology in the Malay Archipelago”.
It is most shocking that Sahol, who had been UiTM Vice Chancellor for 15 years since 2000, and UiTM administrators responsible for the two anti-Christianisation seminars, do not seem to know or understand Rukunegara, whose core values and principles teach the diverse races and religions in Malaysia to respect each other so that we can settle our differences through dialogue and not confrontation.
The last thing the drafters of Runkunegara would want or expect our University Vice Chancellors and administrators to do would be to turn universities into breeding grounds for inter-religious misunderstanding, enmity and hatred.
If our undergraduates are taught to hate or fear other religions and adherents of other faiths, it is not only a repudiation of the Rukunegara, it is a most anti-national act as we are laying the seeds for inter-religious distrust, enmity and hatred which can only result in national discord and disunity. Read the rest of this entry »
Even MCA Ministers and leaders have forgotten the national contributions of past MCA Presidents like Tun Tan Siew Sin
MCA leaders are protesting that MCA’s contributions to nation-building like the formation of Malaysia had been sidelined in history textbooks.
MCA Deputy President and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Dr. Wee Ka Siong complained about the case in the SJKC Year Six history textbook where MCA’s contribution towards the formation of Malaysia, in particular that of late Wong Pow Nee, the first Chief Minister of Penang, was not mentioned at all despite the his contribution as a member of the Cobbold Commission which recommended positively on the establishment of Malaysia in 1963.
Page 10 and 11 of the textbook showed various Malaysian leaders like UMNO’s Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Razak, two leaders from Sabah namely Tun Fuad and Tun Mustapha and three from Sarawak, Stephen Kalong Ningkan, Temenggong Jugah and Ong Kee Hui, and even Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew, as “founders” of Malaysia but no mention of any MCA leader.
There was not only no mention of Wong Pow Nee, but also omission of the MCA President Tun Tan Siew Sin.
But Wee only complained about the omission of Wong Pow Nee but not about the omission of Tan Siew Sin – which shows that the present batch of MCA leaders including those who have become Ministers have forgotten the contributions of past MCA Presidents like Tun Tan Siew Sin.
How can Wee and the MCA leaders complain that the services of past MCA leaders had been sidelined or forgotten when they themselves have sidelined or forgotten the contributions of past MCA Presidents like Tun Tan Siew Sin? Read the rest of this entry »
Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid should declare whether he had a hand in setting the immoral questions in the SPM Moral Education paper and if not, who are the officers responsible for such irresponsible conduct and whether they would be penalised
The Education Minister, Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid should declare whether he had a hand in setting the immoral questions in the SPM Moral Education paper and if not, who are the officers responsible for such irresponsible conduct and whether they would be penalized.
SPM students for the Moral Education paper were asked to answer questions based on a notice and a picture.
The notice states that civil servants are not allowed to participate in anti-government protests; the picture is of two students speaking to each other.
Student A is putting up a poster promoting an anti-government rally, saying that he would receive RM100 after he finishes putting up the posters. Student B advises Student A against doing so.
(a) Why students should not participate in anti-government rallies?
(b) How should schools prevent students from participating in anti-government rallies?
(c) We should support Student B’s stance. Why?
The blatant attempt to brainwash students with politically-loaded questions in the SPM Moral Education paper is most reprehensible and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms, especially as it involved a not-so-subtle attempt to tell lies and demonise protest gatherings as anti-government and anti- national, even suggesting that those who participate in them are not high-minded idealists but “mercenaries”. Read the rest of this entry »
– Sheela R.
The Malaysian Insider
16 November 2015
Imagine yourself to be seven years old. A tender age where your foremost consideration would be if you get to play your favourite game with your friends, watch a television programme or simply decide on which ice-cream flavour to indulge in.
Now imagine yourself at that age in a class, where a teacher talks of hell and heaven and the myriad punishments awaiting sinners and unbelievers.
The stuff of nightmares is introduced progressively to you, in the guise of imparting religious values. These visions terrify you, but you don’t have the maturity or intellect to challenge the teacher. Read the rest of this entry »
by Boo Su-Lyn
The Malay Mail Online
November 2, 2015
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 2 ― Less than 13 per cent of those who sat for the Form 3 PT3 examination last year scored at least a C in both science and mathematics, Putrajaya has revealed, despite Malaysia’s aim to achieve developed nation status in less than five years.
The Education Ministry also said that the average percentage of secondary school students who qualified for the science stream, based on their results of the previous Form 3 PMR examination, only hovered around 30 per cent over the past 10 years, though Malaysia has been aiming for a 60:40 ratio of science/ technical/vocational and arts students since 1970.
“The most probable reason for this could be the new format for the PT3 science and maths papers,” Education director-general Datuk Seri Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof told Malay Mail Online in a recent email interview, in explaining the PT3 science and maths results.
“There were very few multiple choice questions which most students are very familiar with; and the test items demand a lot of thinking on the part of the students to gauge their understanding of the subject matter rather than regurgitating rote-learned concepts.
“It does not encourage teaching to the test and teachers need to engage the students in the learning process by asking more higher-order thinking questions. It is hoped that this kind of format will encourage the students to learn meaningfully and in future, the PT3 results will become better,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »
Parliament should form an all-party Parliamentary Committee on tragedy of the seven missing Orang Asli children of SK Tohoi in Gua Musang if Government is not prepared to have high-powered commission of inquiry
Parliament should begin its 25-day budget session on Monday with a minute of silence in memory of the five of the seven Orang Asli children of SK Tohoi in Gua Musang who perished after missing from the school hostel 54 days ago on August 23.
The nation and government failed the Orang Asli children when they should be cared and nurtured to be future leaders of the nation, and the least Parliament can do is to start its new parliamentary meeting with a minute of silence for Members of Parliament, the government and the nation to remember the wasted lives of the five children ranging from seven to eleven years because of government failure, negligence and incompetence.
It is scandalous that the Ministers and ministries concerned for the socio-economic and educational upliftment of the Orang Asli community to bring them into the mainstream of national development are not taking the SK Tohoi scandal and tragedy in sufficient seriousness – as up to now, the Education Minister Datuk Mahdzir Khalid has still to visit SK Tohoi or even to utter a single word of concern!
Would Madhzir be so indifferent, irresponsible and even callous if the five kids who perished and the two kids who were found as “bags of bones” were Malay kids?
Malaysia wants an Education Minister who would show equal care, concern and compassion for all school children, regardless of their race, religion or region. Read the rest of this entry »
Can the government announce a New Deal for Orang Asli in Parliament on Monday in the debate on Teresa Kok’s urgent motion on the scandal/tragedy of seven missing Orang Asli children of SK Tohoi for seven weeks?
The announcement by the Minister for Rural and Regional Development, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob that the Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) will provide transportation services for 16,905 Orang Asli pupils at 94 primary schools with hostels nationwide to enable them to return home every fortnight is most laughable and grossly inadequate as a proper government response to the scandal and tragedy of the SK Tohoi seven missing Orang Asli children for seven weeks five of whom had perished.
What the country wants is not just a new transportation service to Orang Asli pupils in school hostels to go home once a fortnight but a complete review of the 58-year government programme to bring Orang Asli communities to the mainstream of national development (which is clearly an abysmal failure) and a total revamp of government services to uplift Orang Asli in all fields of human endeavour.
Why for instance, after 58 years of upliftment of Orang Asli in the country, there is not a single Orang Asli who is a Minister or even a Deputy Minister in the Federal Government, or members on State Excos in the various states with significant Orang Asli communities?
Let the Minister for Rural and Regional Development announce in Parliament on Monday on behalf of the Najib Cabinet a “New Deal for Orang Asli” in the emergency debate requisitioned by DAP MP for Sepueh Teresa Kok on the aftermath of the scandal and tragedy of the SK Tohoi seven missing Orang Asli children in Gua Musang. Read the rest of this entry »
Never before in Malaysia’s parliamentary democracy has so many issues compete and contend for attention in the first week of the forthcoming 2016 Budget Parliament beginning on Monday, 19th October 2015, whether the Malay Rulers’ Statement of Oct. 6; the political, economic, good governance and nation building scandals shaping up to be a “perfect storm” to batter Malaysia; the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) or the approval of toll rate hikes for 15 highways across the country.
Members of Parliament have not received the Parliamentary Order Paper for the first week or the first day of the 25-day Parliamentary meeting which is to be held from Oct. 19 to Dec. 3, but the following should be the proper agenda for the first week of Parliament from Monday.
For the first week of Parliament from Monday to Thursday, I have given notice to pose oral Parliamentary questions on the hot topics of the day, viz:
1) To ask the Prime Minister to state when and why the multi-agency Task Force on 1MDB was formed and dissolved, what it had achieved; and the reasons and scope of the new Task Force formed by new Attorney-General.
2) To ask the Prime Minister to state who had donated the RM2.6 billion deposited into his personal accounts in AmBank in March 2013; which Ministers and MPs had benefited from it; what is the balance and where are the monies. Read the rest of this entry »
Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid should agree to an urgent debate in Parliament on Monday on the SK Pos Tohoi tragedy of the seven missing children for seven weeks, leaving only two survivors
It has been reported that the Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan was ‘livid’ over the deplorable education conditions for Orang Asli children, especially in SK Pos Tohoi, the boarding school in Gua Musang where seven school children ranging from seven to eleven years were missing for seven weeks and with only two survivors.
Kamalanathan said he would investigate claims there were only male teachers in SK Pos Tohoi, as this was not supposed to happen.
As I said yesterday, the majority of the students at SK Pos Tohoi are female, but there was not a single female teacher as all the eight teachers are male. The hostel has four wardens and only one of them is a female.
What is the use of the Deputy Education Minister ‘livid’ over the deplorable education conditions for Orang Asli children when the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Education Minister Datuk Madhzir Khalid are totally indifferent and unconcerned, which was why they never breathed a word about the SK Pos Tohoi tragedy although five of the seven school children have clearly perished.
Even with the discovery the two missing children, Mirsudiar Aluj, 11, and Norieen Yakob, 10, in “skin and bones”, both Najib and Mahdzir had not shown any interest or concern?
Other Prime Ministers and Education Ministers would have already made site visits to SK Pos Tohoi in Gua Musang, but when will Najib and Mahdzhir break their seven-week silence on the SK Pos Tohoi tragedy to show their interest and concern? Read the rest of this entry »
Based on information from the Orang Asli and Orang Asli activists familiar with the issues facing the education of Orang Asli children, it appears that the tragic incident of the 7 Temiar schoolchildren who went missing on 23 August 2015 has its roots in the sad situation some Orang Asli schools and hostels (asramas) are in, and in the caliber and character of the people assigned to run them.
The school in Pos Tohoi in Gua Musang, where the 7 children were being schooled and boarded, was in a lamentable condition, sometimes with no water in the hostels, forcing the children to use the river. Broken and unmaintained fences allow easy access out the hostel grounds.
No Orang Asli teachers
There was no headmaster assigned to the school at the time of the incident. A new headmaster was posted there just the day before the visit of the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi on 28 September. The eight teachers are all male and none of them are Orang Asli. There are four wardens, only one of whom is a female. But the majority of the students are female.
School enrolment down
The school enrolment as at 23 August 2015 was 170 students, with 70 students staying in the hostel. Today, after the incident, there are 103 students enrolled, with only 12 staying in the hostel. The drastic drop on the enrolment and number of hostelites says a lot about the trust the Orang Asli parents have in the ability of the school to provide their children with a safe and conducive environment.
Read the rest of this entry »
Call for those responsible for the case of the missing seven Orang Asli children, with five dead, in Gua Musang to be suspended or even charged for their crime of negligence against the seven
Malaysians must hold their heads in shame at the shocking case of the seven Orang Asli children in Gua Musang, ranging from seven to eleven years, who had gone missing from their school hostel hear SK Tohoi since August 23, with the discovery yesterday of two survivors out of the seven, Norieen Yakob, 10, and Miksudial Aluj, 11, who were just skin and bones when found at a huge tree with a small hole on the ground just 1km from the school.
The other five had perished.
Malaysians must feel heart-sick that such callousness, inhumanity, negligence and gross incompetence can happen in modern-day Malaysia as to cause a human disaster and tragedy of such unbelievable magnitude.
That such a human disaster and tragedy can take place in Malaysia when we are just four years from wanting to join the rank of fully developed nations is to the eternal shame to Malaysia, and in particular the Umno/BN government of Datuk Seri Najib Razak. Read the rest of this entry »
BY SHERIDAN MAHAVERA
The Malaysian Insider
Published: 7 October 2015 9:00 AM
Children entertained by a lion dance during an educamp organised by Impian Sarawak in Kampung Pasir, Miri, on September 23. The project is part of DAP’s community service initiative in the Borneo states. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Seth Akmal, October 7, 2015.
Ros Matius Mian has never seen her four children so impatient to go to school, with the youngest waking up even before the break of dawn to get ready for classes.
But that was the experience of many parents in the squatter colony of Kampung Pasir, 30 minutes from Miri. For about a week, their bleak surroundings were transformed into a riot of screaming kids and colourful pendants because of Impian Sarawak’s education camp.
Read the rest of this entry »
– Murray Hunter
The Malaysian Insider
5 October 2015
The Malaysian government is trying to develop the country into an education hub.
Most universities seek awards of excellence and to get their institutions into the rankings.
However, even with these aspirations, Malaysia’s overall rankings have been slipping over the last decade, while many other universities within the region have been rising dramatically. Read the rest of this entry »
Sack both Tajuddin and Chong as message is long overdue that Malaysians deserve Ministers and Deputy Ministers of some standard and quality and not every Tom, Dick and Harry
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, should sack both Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman and Chong Sin Woon as deputy ministers as the message is long overdue that Malaysians deserve Ministers and Deputy Ministers of some standard and quality and not every Tom, Dick and Harry should be elevated to such positions.
For some time, the caliber of Ministers and Deputy Ministers has been on a relentless downward decline like our football world ranking, which plunged to the worst-ever 171st placing in the Fifa rankings in October 2015 when we were still ranked No. 154 at the beginning of the year in January 2015.
Malaysia was positioned in the Fifa rankings at No. 79 in 1993, 96 in 1996, 107 in 2,000, 123 in 2005, 154 in January 2015 and 171 in October 2015 – embarrassing chart of a nation’s trajectory of relentless decline, also reflected in other sectors of our national endeavor.
Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had dismissed Cabinets formed after he retired in 2003 as Prime Minister for 22 years as “half-past six” while former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin had shown utter contempt of what he described as “deadwood” Ministers.
Early this year, I had written an Open Letter to all Ministers asking them not to be “half-past six” or “deadwood” Ministers, and for heaven’s sake, “don’t be moral pygmies and political dwarfs” but to take a stand on critical issues of the nation on behalf of present and future, particularly on the great questions of right and wrong in Malaysia.
But my Open Letter elicited no response or change, and Najib post-13GE Cabinet was a great failure and disappointment. Read the rest of this entry »