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By mugilen07 Oct 08, 2013 1651 Words
Shift 1 : Provide Equal Access to Quality Education Of an International Standard

Why it is needed: the foundation for the success of a school system lies in its definition of what its students must know, understand, and be able to do. Malaysian students have historically excelled at reproducing subject content. However, this skill is less valuable in today’s ever-changing economy. Instead, students need to be able to reason, to extrapolate, and to creatively apply their knowledge in novel, unfamiliar settings. They also need attributes such as leadership to be globally competitive. as the times and Pisa international assessments have demonstrated, our students struggle with higher-order thinking skills. Surveys of Malaysian and multinational companies also suggest that our students fall short on the soft skills looked for by prospective employers. at the same time, education is often seen as an enabler for social mobility, enabling children born in poor families to earn higher incomes as adults. as long as socio-economic status remains the greatest predictor of academic success, and the factor behind the largest of all student outcome gaps in Malaysia, this promise will remain elusive for many Malaysians.

What success will look like: firstly, standards for student outcomes and learning practices will be benchmarked and aligned with that of high-performing education systems so that the students Malaysia produce are globally competitive. Secondly, students who need more help will be given access to the right levels of support to succeed at school.

Benchmark the learning of languages, Mathematics, and Science to international standards. Every student will receive a strong grounding in literacy and numeracy—the foundational skills for all further learning—as well as in Science, a key growth area for the Malaysian economy. They will be taught a curriculum that has been benchmarked to the standards of high-performing education systems, and this benchmarking will be validated by an independent party to build parents’ confidence. The Ministry will also set and monitor performance targets for its performance on the PISA and TIMSS international assessments. Additional assessments that address other dimensions of quality that are relevant to the Malaysian context may be added as they are developed, and become accepted international standards. Launch new Secondary School Standard Curriculum or Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Menengah (KSSM) and revised Primary School Standard Curriculum or Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Rendah (KSSR) in 2017.

The school curriculum at both primary and secondary levels will be revised to embed a balanced set of knowledge and skills such as creative thinking, innovation, problem solving, and leadership. This curriculum will still stress student centred and differentiated teaching, but have a greater emphasis on problem-based and project-based work, a streamlined set of subjects or themes, and formative assessments. The new curriculum will also support an accelerated learning pathway for high-performing students to complete SPM in four rather than five years, and UPSR in five rather than six years. Additionally, clear learning standards will be laid out so that students and parents understand the progress expected within each year of schooling.

Revamp national examinations and school-based assessments to gradually increase percentage of questions that test higher-order thinking. By 2016, higher-order thinking questions will make up 80% of questions for UPSR, 80% of the Form 3 central assessment, 75% of the questions for SPM core subjects and 50% of the questions for SPM elective subjects. This change in examination design means that teachers will focus less on predicting what topics and questions will come out and drilling for content recall. Instead, students will be trained to think critically and to apply their knowledge in different settings. Similarly, school-based assessments will also shift their focus to testing for higher-order thinking skills.

Raise quality of all preschools and encourage universal enrolment by 2020. Every child aged 5+ will be enrolled in a registered preschool, be it public or private. Low-income families that would otherwise not be able to afford preschool will receive need-based financial support from the Ministry. All preschools will follow a set of national quality standards, including a provision that every preschool teacher has a minimum diploma qualification. These schools will also be inspected regularly by the Ministry or the Early Childhood Care and Education Council of Malaysia to ensure that they meet minimum standards.

Move from 6 to 11 years of compulsory schooling, starting at age 6+, supported by targeted retention programmes and job-ready vocational training By 2020, every student will leave formal schooling with a minimum SPM or equivalent vocational qualification. This means that compulsory schooling will increase from 6 to 11 years, and that approximately 5%, 10%, and 20% more students will be enrolled at the primary, lower, and upper secondary levels respectively (based on 2011 enrolment numbers for public and private schools). Students who are at risk of dropping out will be supported through a variety of retention initiatives, from remedial coaching to parent and student counselling. Students will also be able to choose from a variety of education pathways based on their specific interests and potential. This includes expanded vocational streams that offer industry-recognised qualifications and hands-on practicum opportunities, through close partnerships with the private sector. Increase investment in physical and teaching resources for students with specific needs. Students from indigenous and other minority groups, as well as students with physical or learning disabilities, will receive more support in order to level the playing field. By 2025, these students will all go to schools with the facilities and equipment needed to create a conducive and supportive learning environment. They will be taught by teachers who have received additional training to help them understand their students’ specific contexts and challenges, and the teaching strategies required to address them. These students will also be supported by an expanded network of counsellors, therapists, and teaching assistants, as required.

Shift 2: Ensure Every Child Is Proficient In Bahasa Malaysia and English Language

Why it is needed: Malaysia’s multicultural society makes it a natural environment for producing students who are proficient in more than one language. The current system produces commendably strong Bahasa Malaysia learning outcomes. There is widespread operational proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia among students, with 75% students achieving a minimum credit in the 2010 SPM examination. Bahasa Malaysia also consistently shows the strongest pass rates out of the core subjects in the UPSR, lower secondary evaluation or Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR), and SPM examinations. Operational proficiency in English is, however, much lower. Only 28% of students achieved a minimum credit in the 2011 SPM English paper against Cambridge 1119 standards. Poor English proficiency among fresh graduates has, since 2006, also been consistently ranked as one of the top five issues facing Malaysian employers. As the ethnic groups move through different primary schools, there are differences in outcomes by ethnicity. Bumiputera students perform very strongly on Bahasa Malaysia proficiency with 84% achieving a minimum credit at SPM, in contrast to 63% of Chinese students, and 57% of Indian students. for English, only 23% Bumiputera, 42% Chinese, and 35% Tamil students score at a level equivalent to a Cambridge 1119 credit or above (all results based on the 2010 SPM examination).

What success will look like: boosting all students’ proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia and English language will be the most immediate priority. after three years of schooling, every child will achieve 100% basic literacy in Bahasa Malaysia and English language. By the end of form five, 90% of students will score a minimum of a credit in SPM Bahasa Malaysia, and 70% in SPM English (against Cambridge 1119 standards). Further, the provision of other language subjects at all primary and secondary schools will be strengthened so that every child can have the opportunity to learn an additional language by 2025.

Introduce a standard Bahasa Malaysia curriculum at the primary level, with intensive remedial support for struggling students. Every primary school student, regardless of whether they are in a National or National-type school, will use a standard Bahasa Malaysia curriculum starting from the Year 4 cohort in 2014. At National-type schools, students who are struggling to cope with this change will receive remedial after-school Bahasa Malaysia classes from Years 4 to 6 (after the completion of the Literacy and Numeracy Screening (LINUS) 2.0 programme). The objective is to intervene early and often to allow for the removal of the “Remove” or Peralihan class from 2017 onwards. Expand the LINUS programme to include English literacy.

Every student in Years 1 to 3 will be screened twice a year to determine if they are progressing in Bahasa Malaysia and English literacy at an expected pace. Students who fall behind will be given remedial coaching until they are able to return to the mainstream curriculum. Teachers working with such students will also receive dedicated coaching from district level teacher coaches.

Up skill English teachers and expand opportunities for greater exposure to the language. Every student will be taught English by a teacher who is proficient according to international standards. This will be achieved by having all 70,000 English teachers pass the Cambridge Placement Test (CPT) within two years. Teachers who have yet to meet this standard will receive intensive up skilling. Beyond that, students will have greater exposure to the language, for example via an expanded, compulsory English Literature module at the secondary level. International research indicates that more exposure time than the current 15-20% is required for students to achieve operational proficiency. Encourage every child to learn an additional language by 2025. Currently, many students already learn additional languages apart from Bahasa Malaysia and English language, which equip them well for entering the workforce in a globalising world. The aspiration is therefore for every child to have the opportunity to learn an additional language from primary through to secondary school. During the early years, the Ministry will focus on building up its cadre of Chinese, Tamil, and Arabic language teachers to ensure that the supply of teachers matches student demand. As the system builds up capacity and capability, the Ministry will also expand the provision of other important languages such as Spanish, French, and Japanese.

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