National schools are open for all

Sunday, 14 August 2016

MALAYSIAN parents can rest assured that national schools will not become a breeding grounds for Islamic extremism.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said his ministry will not allow national schools to become a hotbed for grooming potential terrorists that follow deviant and extremist ideologies.

He was responding to a recent new portal report that said non-Muslim parents were uncomfortable with the overt religiosity in some schools.

He added that the aim of national schools is to foster unity among Malaysia’s many races, and for all of them to use the same medium and curricula even if there are five types of schools in the Malaysian education system – national schools, Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools, religious schools and mission schools.

Mahdzir also stressed that it was important that school-goers from all races have access to education as provided by the government, including the teaching of a student’s mother tongue, be it Chinese or Tamil, in vernacular schools.

He also said that the ministry will continue to uphold the teaching of “quality Islamic Studies” to Muslim students.

“There is no issue of national schools being Islamic or not Islamic.

“The teaching of Islamic Studies is implemented in education institutions in Malaysia as stated under Section 50 of the Education Act 1996,” Mahdzir said.

He also said the doa or prayers being recited in national schools should not be an issue, arguing that it is common for the doa to be said at events “to protect the people from any threats that could harm their well being”.

Mahdzir added parents had the right to choose the type of school for their children.

As for the First Wave of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 , he reiterated that it was showing tangible results.

Attaining the desired results, was no easy feat as it involved many different agencies and administrative levels at the states.

Meanwhile a ministry official said while there will be an increase in the number of questions requiring Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS), it won’t be “that many” as some feared.

The official from the Examination Syndicate confirmed that this year’s Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) and Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) will require HOTS, “but it will be nowhere near 40% for UPSR and 50% for SPM” as speculated by some media.

Speculation began shortly after the 2015 annual report of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 stated that there will be a gradual increase in the number of HOTS questions.

The percentage of HOTS questions in public examinations increased to 20% in 2015 compared to 10% in 2013, in what the ministry calls “gradual incorporation approach” to help ease the transition to the relatively new testing system.

HOTS refers to analysis that require far greater cognitive processing compared to other types of thinking. It involves critical, reflective thinking as well as rational decision-making and problem-solving.

HOTS questions were introduced in the 2013 examinations for UPSR (Year Six), Form Three Assessment or PT3 (Form Three) and SPM (Form Five).

To assist teachers in the teaching of these advanced-style questions, the ministry introduced a book containing sample HOTS questions, a script-evaluation manual, and specialised training on how to score in HOTS. School Inspectors and Quality Assurance officers have also been sent to observe 36 schools to ensure the quality of HOTS lessons.

An example of a HOTS UPSR question obtained from a sample English comprehension paper by the Examinations Syndicate found on goes like: “Ramli and his wife emptied the box of worms onto Ujang’s head. Was the action correct? Why?” The question is worth two marks.

A sample SPM science HOTS question states: “We cannot use a laboratory thermometer to measure our body temperature. Why?”.

Sumber:  The Star Online :