Maszlee: Groundbreaking measures are taken in education

Maszlee: Groundbreaking measures are taken in education

PUTRAJAYA: It was a twist of luck for 2,635 children who with no valid documents, were allowed to be enrolled in schools since the beginning of the year.

This was made possible after some corrective measures by the government to save the children from being stuck and becoming misfits in society, thus giving them hope for a brighter future, said Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik.

“All this time, they have been idle and when they have nothing to do, they become a problem to the community and are involved in various social ills.

“We (at the ministry) have tried to take a corrective stance that is to bring them to the school where the school will assist them in obtaining the documents,” he told a press conference on the initiatives implemented by the Ministry of Education in the last one year of the Pakatan Harapan government’s administration.

The efforts to bring these children closer to school and education are expected to be a catalyst to help them build the future and thus change their destiny and that of their families.

“These are among the groundbreaking measures in the education sector that the government has taken and which have had a holistic impact on society and the nation,” he said.

Maszlee also pointed out that the preliminary assessment report on the scrapping of the mid-year and final-year examinations for Level 1 pupils (in Years One, Two and Three) will be released this June.

The new classroom-based assessment (PBD) format involving 1.3 million students nationwide were among the initiatives by the government to empower the nation’s education system towards reforms that were inclusive and of quality.

The initial report, Mazlee said was expected to show some shortcomings that would need improvements and it will take some time to show the effectiveness of the format in the national education system.

“Even in Finland, during the implementation of the system in the beginning, they faced a number of “adjustment problems “ but its effectiveness was only evident after a few years as seen in the students,” he said.

The government earlier this year had scrapped the examinations for pupils in Years One, Two and Three, in order to eliminate excessive learning for examinations.

According to Maszlee, non-examination-based learning will encourage further interaction and collaboration between parents and teachers so that both parties could develop the potential of students to optimum levels.

“It does not mean that we are completely scrapping the examinations, but we are shifting to a more holistic assessment, which is calculated from their involvement, from homework, from tests, and examination is just one of those elements,” he said.

He said through the system teachers also had the space to be more creative in learning and to have the opportunity to look at the aspects of themselves that needed improvement.

“If previously, when she (the teacher) does the test, she gauges the pupil, but when an overall assessment is conducted she would also know of the aspects or areas she had failed in evaluating the pupil and she would then try to improve.

“So it works both ways, we not only want schools for the development of students but where teachers develop too,” added Maszlee.

Additionally, in the effort to implement an inclusive education policy, the ministry has also introduced “Zero Reject Policy” for students with special needs (MBK).

According to Maszlee, as soon as the policy was announced, 1,486 students with special needs who had not registered online had attended school on Jan 2 bringing the total number of such students to 5,486 on Jan 5, which had increased by more than five times.

“This shows that many students especially with those special needs are somewhat excluded from education,” said Maszlee.

Also, the ministry under the PH government has introduced several initiatives to improve the country’s education sector, including helping to alleviate the cost of living. They include the Early Education Assistance and Assistance for Higher Education Students that would benefit the B40 group, reducing the burden of teachers and repairing more than 300 dilapidated schools across the country.

Other achievements include enhancing the integrity of higher education institutions by taking steps to amend the Universities and University Colleges Act (AUKU) and to provide a mandate for students at all public universities (IPTAs) to conduct their own campus elections.

Also to be carried out is the enhancement of cooperation in higher education between private institutions of higher learning (IPTS) and international universities as well as the implementation of the Single Quality Assurance System and Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET).

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