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A more inclusive way forward

THE recently concluded National Early Childhood Intervention Conference involved more than 500 families, professionals, therapists, policy makers and NGOs. Much deliberation was carried out to discuss the needs of children with disabilities and to try to chart a way forward.

We would like to share the five important directions that services for children with disability need to take in Malaysia.

Pre-school inclusion

It is vital that the majority of children who are identified with some disability have their preschool education in mainstream kindergartens. For this to happen, we must focus less on segregated, early intervention centres (EIP) and more on inclusion in kindergartens.

We must accelerate the entry of children with disabilities directly into kindergartens. To make this happen, kindergartens must be more open to accept children with disabilities. In addition, EIP workers need to partner with kindergartens and work there to support such an inclusion.

School inclusion

Despite national KPIs and targets for inclusions, the education for children with disabilities in the Education Ministry facilities is still done largely in a segregated fashion.

One obstacle is parents who do not have children with disabilities objecting to such an inclusion. There needs to be a radical shift in their mindset. Inclusion benefits all children and society in the long term. Research has shown that those who have some form of disability will benefit those who do not and vice versa. Another obstacle is that currently less than 10% of all children with special needs are identified by the education department.

Unidentified children number in excess of 500,000. The vast majority are currently in school, unrecognised, with no provision of services and often placed in classes for “weaker children”.

Some schools even reject these children completely. Schools must stop focusing on achievement KPIs but on inclusion KPIs.

Family/Parent Empowerment

Currently, few services developed or run by government agencies and non-governmental agencies have parental involvement in their planning. It is vital that we create opportunities for parents of children with disabilities to play a leadership role.

These parents are better adapted in knowing what their children need and can often design services that better meet the needs of their children. It’s time to listen carefully and clearly to parents and obtain their ideas.

It is also vital that families mentor families in helping them move forward in support of their children.

Training of Professionals

Professionals in the health, welfare and education government agencies have limited training and awareness of children with disabilities and their needs.

Most health professionals are poorly trained.

The undergraduate training in most universities is extremely poor for disability conditions that affect 15% of all our children.

They come out to work with almost no skills or idea on what to do. It is vital for all medical university programmes to change and offer sufficient and adequate training in this area.

In addition, all teachers should have basic training on disabilities as part of their routine undergraduate teacher training courses.

Non-governmental organisations that run early intervention programmes also need opportunities for the staff working with them to get better quality training to improve the quality of early intervention services.

Bring balance to the private/corporate sector

Many parents have expressed their distress to the NECIC regarding the rapid increase in fees charged by private professionals.

It is vital that the care and support of children with disabilities do not become a profiteering business. We recognise that trained professionals should get adequate wages but this should not be unduly inflated. The NECIC strongly advocates that the Government and its agencies work to create a fee schedule so that all forms of therapy for children with disability, including early intervention services, have an upper limit.

In line with the recently passed Allied Health Act, it is timely that such a fee schedule be created.

In addition, unconventional therapies that feed on the fears of parents should be curbed or regulated.

It is important that we all play an active role in ensuring the services developed are to support, not exploit, families.

The NECIC strongly advocates that the Government be more involved in supporting parents who have children with disabilities in their financial needs and in the provision of services.

The current provision of posts within government agencies for critical therapists in the disability area is grossly inadequate.

The Government must be committed to encourage more individuals to work in disability fields by providing job opportunities.

All of society needs to be included in the country’s growth, disabled or otherwise.

Inclusion is not about success but about acceptance.

A successful, developed country is one that leaves no child behind.   DATUK DR AMAR SINGH HSS Immediate past president Current president DR WONG WOAN-YIING The STAR Opinion Letters Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Do we really need unity?

Forcing us to mix may actually cause resentment and discord, instead of promoting harmony.

LAST weekend at the Putra World Trade Centre, one Umno leader after another rose to the podium to call for unity.

Some were calling for Malay unity, some for party unity, some for Barisan Nasional unity and a small number for national unity. They talked about different things but they used the same word.

The desire for unity is not new. In our own history, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra once said, “We are all Malaysians. This is the bond that unites us. Let us always remember that unity is our fundamental strength as a people and as a nation.”

Fast forward to more recently, the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) was established on Sept 11, 2013.

According to a government website, the NUCC is an effort of na­­tional reconciliation to reduce ra­cial polarisation and build a uni­ted Malaysian nation.

The NUCC was supposed to draft some sort of blueprint for national unity. But until today, I have not seen any real advocacy of such a blueprint to the public.

The NUCC submitted a report to the Prime Minister on June 19, 2015, and after that I am not sure what happened to it.

To me, the biggest hurdle to national unity is the structure of our political system. Our politics is dominated by ethnic-based political parties. Being ethnic-based, their survival is dependent on us, the voters, continuing to be divided along ethnic lines.

If voters are no longer thinking as different ethnic groups, then the ethnic-based parties will find it difficult to survive.

If a Malay feels that it is OK to have a non-Malay prime minister, if a Chinese feels it is OK to have an ustaz as their representative, if a Hindu feels it is OK to have an atheist as their spokesperson, then it would be meaningless to remain as a Malay, Chinese or Indian party.

The same applies to the Melanau, Bidayuh, Dayak, Kadazan, Seranis and so on.

Ethnic-based parties need society to remain divided along ethnic lines because otherwise they will not be able to survive.

This is why when any ethnic-based party feels weakened, they will work hard to cleave society.

This is Divide and Rule 101. The more successful you are at dividing society, the more likely you are to rule over them.

But even though the hurdle preventing national unity is not too difficult to identify, there are two bigger questions that should be, but are rarely, asked. The questions are: do we really need unity, and what is unity for?

Most frequently when people in Malaysia talk about unity, we talk about the different ethnic groups mixing with each other. The underlying assumption is that mixing is necessary to foster a “good” society.

I never quite understand this. Why do we really need to mix? Why can’t we just live our lives the way we want, mixing with only those whom we want, and meeting only those whom we want?

That is really how real life works. We talk to our friends. We share stories with people we are comfor­table with.

We do not talk to strangers. We feel awkward when forced to go into unfamiliar territories uninvi­ted. Forcefully “mixing” people is not natural and can in fact be the source of discord.

After all, do we want to have unity or do we actually just want to have peace?

Many people would say that all they want is to ensure Malaysia remains as a peaceful country. But if peace is our target, then why are we clouding it with the demand for unity?

Peace is something that can be achieved without a common language and without a common identity. You can wear your songket, speak Malay, eat patin masak tempoyak, while I can wear a kurta, speak Punjabi and eat rasmalai.

We don’t have to know each other or even meet each other. The country will remain peaceful if we leave each other alone.

Discord may occur, however, if either one of us is made to leave our way of life and adopt the other’s forcefully.

If I were forced to speak Chinese because that is the “national” language, I might get frustrated.

If I were forced to listen to Christian prayers every day because Christians are the majority in that place, then I might become angry.

Or if a school says that I cannot send my son there because we are not Buddhists, then it is very possible my whole family will grow up resenting Buddhism because of that religious quota. In all these examples, it is the attempt to impose a certain definition of unity that is creating discord.

If all we want is peace, then isn’t it a possibility that unity is irrelevant? If peace can be achieved by people living parallel lives, remaining in groups they are comfortable with, peacefully within the group and peacefully in relation to others, should we still divide them in the quest for the illusive unity? Wan Saiful Wan Jan The STAR Home Opinion Columnists Thinking Liberally Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Ramai yang menulis bahawasa kemasukan pemain import yang mewakili mana-mana pasukan merupakan punca merosotnya tahap sesuatu pasukan.

Namun pada pandangan saya, kemasukan dan adanya pemain luar seharusnya menjadi cabaran buat mana-mana pemain didalam sesuatu pasukan.

Bagi saya, yang penting adalah pemain seharusnya mempelajari dan menghayati maksud menjadi seorang profesional.



Kebanyakan pemain mungkin hanya memahami maksud ‘profesional’ sebagai ‘pemain yang bekerja dan dibayar gaji lumayan melebihi kelayakan dan kebolehan berbanding pemain amatur’.

Namun, dalam apa jenis sukan dan permainan atau profesion yang diceburi , semua orang perlu mempunyai  bakat semulajadi.

Seseorang yang  cemerlang dalam sukan dan permainan biasanya terserlah bakat di dalam diri.

Sesiapa sahaja yang kelihatan seperti seorang atlet, bergerak seperti seorang atlet, dan sememangnya atlet,  tidak dapat dinafikan memang mempunyai bakat semula jadi.

Pencari bakat  dan jurulatih sentiasa mencari mereka yang berbakat semulajadi dan pasukan akan bersaing antara satu sama lain untuk membayar jumlah yang  tinggi untuk mendapatkan mereka.

Seorang yang mempunyai 'bakat semula jadi' mesti juga mempunyai cara berfikir seorang juara. Orang yang mempunyai minda juara juga biasanya tidak mempunyai istilah gagal dalam diri  dan menyemai perkataan 'tidak tahu bagaimana untuk gagal'.

Bagi seseorang yang mempunyai bakat semula jadi biasanya dikatakan tidak perlu berusaha dan bekerja keras seperti orang lain. Usaha adalah untuk orang, yang kurang kemahiran dan pengetahuan semulajadi.  Mereka yang berbakat semula jadi tidak meminta bantuan. Ia adalah pengakuan kelemahan.

Pendek kata,  mereka yang bakat semula jadi  jarang  menganalisis kekurangan kerana bagi mereka,  idea kekurangan adalah menakutkan.

Anda mesti mempunyai watak yang hebat, hati yang kental, keinginan dan keazaman yang tinggi, dan keyakinan berfikiran juara.

Kita boleh melabelkan atau memanggil apa saja, tetapi ia adalah perkara yang sama. Ia adalah apa yang diamalkan dan lakukan , dan ia adalah apa yang membolehkan anda gunakan apabila anda paling memerlukannya.

Menjuarai sesuatu perkara adalah adalah keupayaan anda untuk memenangi  kejuaraan  apabila keadaan kelihatan tidak menentu,  apabila anda tidak bermain dengan baik atau prestasi kurang memuaskan  dan emosi anda tidak menentu
 

Challenging time for lecturers

TEACHER education in Malaysia is set for a major transformation as announced in the 2017 Budget, which has identified 11 of the existing 27 Teacher Education Institutes (TEI) as facilities to train not only new trainee teachers, but also for future primary school teachers.

The remaining 16 institutes will be converted into vocational, polytechnic colleges and training centres for in-service teachers, with the Raja Melewar TEI in Seremban and the Tengku Bainun TEI in Penang earmarked as Permata Pintar Centres.

According to the Teacher Education Division, the transformation of the institutes is due to the low intake of trainees for the past few years which resulted from the oversupply of teachers in the country – a situation that leaves many of the institutes underutilised.

Unlike in the past, teacher trainees who graduate today have to wait for a few months for a posting in school.

This transformation exercise has left about 5,000 lecturers in the 27 institutes in a state of anxiety over their status.

Most of the lecturers would not be able to fit into the vocational, polytechnic and Permata Pintar colleges, which in any case would have their own lecturers and expertise.

Though the conversion exercise will be carried out in phases over the years, many lecturers in the institutes are still worried.

Some fear that they may be posted to other states based on their qualifications.

There are some who are anxious of the possibility they may be transferred to state education departments or district education offices.

Lecturers with doctorates could be retained in the 11 TEIs to train future trainees, while those without a Master’s degree but with adequate seniority in service, could be posted to primary or secondary schools.

Of course, some senior and experienced lecturers have opted to retire early.

These are undoubtedly challenging times for the lecturers, who have to accept the fact that change is inevitable.

Lecturers have to rise to the occasion and serve where and when the need arises. After all, there are many doctorate and master’s holders already teaching in schools.

Lecturers or teacher trainers should be receptive to change, and be able to work wherever they are posted to.

Most lecturers had their beginnings as teachers in schools, so being posted back to schools should not pose a problem to them.

I have another four months before I retire, and I will gladly go back to school if I am ever posted to one.

Hopefully, these lecturers will be able to embrace change and have positive outcomes.

When the going gets tough, the tough will have to get going! Samuel Yesuiah The STAR Home News Education December 4, 2016

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Pemain import dan bakat semula jadi

Saudara Pengarang,

Ramai yang menulis bahawasa kemasukan pemain import yang mewakili mana-mana pasukan merupakan punca merosotnya tahap sesuatu pasukan.

Namun pada pandangan saya, kemasukan dan adanya pemain luar seharusnya menjadi cabaran buat mana-mana pemain didalam sesuatu pasukan.

Bagi saya, yang penting adalah pemain seharusnya mempelajari dan menghayati maksud menjadi seorang profesional.

Kebanyakan pemain mungkin hanya memahami maksud ‘profesional’ sebagai ‘pemain yang bekerja dan dibayar gaji lumayan melebihi kelayakan dan kebolehan berbanding pemain amatur’.

Namun, dalam apa jenis sukan dan permainan atau profesion yang diceburi , semua orang perlu mempunyai  bakat semulajadi.
Seseorang yang  cemerlang dalam sukan dan permainan biasanya terserlah bakat di dalam diri.

Sesiapa sahaja yang kelihatan seperti seorang atlet, bergerak seperti seorang atlet, dan sememangnya atlet,  tidak dapat dinafikan memang mempunyai bakat semula jadi.

Pencari bakat  dan jurulatih sentiasa mencari mereka yang berbakat semulajadi dan pasukan akan bersaing antara satu sama lain untuk membayar jumlah yang  tinggi untuk mendapatkan mereka.

Seorang yang mempunyai 'bakat semula jadi' mesti juga mempunyai cara berfikir seorang juara. Orang yang mempunyai minda juara juga biasanya tidak mempunyai istilah gagal dalam diri  dan menyemai perkataan 'tidak tahu bagaimana untuk gagal'.

Bagi seseorang yang mempunyai bakat semula jadi biasanya dikatakan tidak perlu berusaha dan bekerja keras seperti orang lain.

Usaha adalah untuk orang, yang kurang kemahiran dan pengetahuan semulajadi.  Mereka yang berbakat semula jadi tidak meminta bantuan. Ia adalah pengakuan kelemahan.

Pendek kata,  mereka yang bakat semula jadi  jarang  menganalisis kekurangan kerana bagi mereka,  idea kekurangan adalah menakutkan.

Anda mesti mempunyai watak yang hebat, hati yang kental, keinginan dan keazaman yang tinggi, dan keyakinan berfikiran juara.

Kita boleh melabelkan atau memanggil apa saja, tetapi ia adalah perkara yang sama.

Ia adalah apa yang diamalkan dan lakukan , dan ia adalah apa yang membolehkan anda gunakan apabila anda paling memerlukannya.

Menjuarai sesuatu perkara adalah adalah keupayaan anda untuk memenangi  kejuaraan  apabila keadaan kelihatan tidak menentu,  apabila anda tidak bermain dengan baik atau prestasi kurang memuaskan  dan emosi anda tidak menentu

Tajuk asal: Bakat dan profesionalisme

Azizi Ahmad  Utusan Malaysia Rencana Forum  02 Disember 2016 12:28 AM

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1 DISEMBER — Skuad Harimau Malaysia tampil dengan wajah baharu apabila beraksi pada Piala AFF 2016 yang bermula di Myanmar minggu lalu.

Skuad Harimau belang kini memakai jersi baru tajaan Nike yang kehilangan “belang” dan kini menjadi “harimau kumbang”.

Dari awal lagi, pasukan “harimau baru” seolah-olah tidak menunjukkan sesuatu yang memberangsangkan.

Di mana peminat sudah dimaklumkan bahawa sasaran sekadar ke peringkat separuh akhir dan jika melepasi kelayakan tersebut maka jangkaan berikutnya adalah juga samar.

Jika peminat bola sepak menyaksikan perlawanan pertama di antara pasukan Thailand menentang Indonesia yang berkesudahan Thailand menang 4-2, tentu sekali ramai bersetuju jika pasukan “harimau baru” berjaya ke separuh akhir, lawan mereka adalah pasukan-pasukan ini.

Reputasi Thailand sebagai salah satu pasukan yang berjaya ke pusingan kelayakan Piala Dunia 2018 tidak boleh dipandang sebelah mata, mereka berhadapan pasukan yang kuat seperti Jepun, Arab Saudi, UAE dan Australia.

Pasukan Thailand diuji sebenar-benarnya menentang pasukan terkuat Asia dan pengalaman ini menjadikan pasukan mereka lebih bertenaga dan seri dengan juara Asia, Australia adalah satu keputusan yang hebat.

Harimau Malaysia pula hanya di tangga keempat di pusingan kedua kelayakan mengatasi Timor Leste dan dibawah Palestin, UAE dan Arab Saudi.

Kekalahan memalukan 10-0 di tangan UAE dan 6-0 di tangan Palestin secara timbal-balik tidak memberi apa-apa kesan baik bagi pegawai di FAM mahu pun pasukan.

Peminat juga seolah-olah sudah bersedia menerima kenyataan dan kini hanya boleh menyokong pasukan melalui kejohanan AFF setiap dua tahun dan boleh melupakan kejohanan Piala Asia kerana tidak pernah layak melalui merit.

Malaysia menentang Kemboja dan dua pasukan lain dalam kumpulan adalah pasukan tuan rumah Myanmar dan Vietnam.

Menjuarai kejohanan AFF 2010 adalah kejayaan yang tidak harus dilupakan, sukar melupakan kejayaan pasukan membenam Indonesia 3-0 di separuh akhir pertama di Stadium Bukit Jalil.

Seluruh negara memberi sokongan padu namun pasukan Harimau bukan menjadi lebih baik, tetapi  kekal dengan rentak yang tidak memberangsangkan dan menurun rentak persembahan, dan kemuncaknya kekalahan 10-0 ketika menentang  UAE.

Semua ini berlaku dalam sukan bola sepak dan lain-lain permainan, tetapi kesannya terhadap sokongan peminat akan mengambil masa yang lama untuk pulih.

Pada tahun 2012 dan 2014, pasukan kita tewas kepada Thailand pada separuh akhir dan pada perlawanan akhir.  Ada yang kata, kita boleh menang pada 2014 tapi nasib tidak menyebelahi kita dan ianya tetap tidak menjadi.

Begitu juga tahun ini, tidaklah mengejutkan dan memang kita tidak layak ke separuh akhir.

Dengan persaraan empat tonggak, harapan ke separuh akhir adalah yang terbaik yang diharapkan. Skuad kita sendiri tidak menunjukkan keupayaan dan keyakinan.

Kita tidak mahu kedengaran kenyataan “alangkah baiknya jika mereka masih didalam skuad”, perlu diingat pemain-pemain adalah profesional, jika masih ada pemikiran sebegini maka pasukan tidak akan melonjak jauh.

Pasukan tuan rumah, Myanmar tentunya telah berusaha untuk membuktikan keupayaan mereka, manakala pasukan Vietnam sentiasa memberi kejutan.

Kumpulan ini kelihatan mudah berbanding kumpulan Thailand, Singapura, Indonesia dan Filipina.

Pasukan Thailand memang menjadi pasukan pilihan untuk menjuarai kejohanan.

Dalam satu kajian atas talian yang dijalankan oleh Star Sport,  65 peratus dari 2,000 orang berpendapat Harimau Malaysia tidak akan melepasi kelayakan kumpulan dan 15 peratus berpendapat bahawa Malaysia akan memenangi kejohanan.

Tentunya, mereka dalam kumpulan 15 peratus tersebut bersikap patriotik atau mungkin hanya “berjenaka” namun kita harap ia akan menjadi kenyataan dan kita harus menyokong pasukan Malaysia.

Ramai yang memberi sokongan kepada pasukan Liga Inggeris dan Liga Sepanyol walaupun pasukan mereka tewas tetapi tidak kepada pasukan kebangsaan kita.

Penyokong tegar kita sentiasa berdoa dan memberi sokongan tidak berbelah bagi kepada pasukan Harimau Malaysia “baru” dan “ngauman” terhenti dengan jaringan David Htan diminit ke 88!

Azizi Ahmad Malay Mail Online Projek MMO Pendapat Thursday December 1, 2016 8:14 PM GMT+8

Tajuk asal: Ngauman terhenti lagi

Sumbert: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/projekmmo/pendapat/article/sokong-bola-kita-patriotik-atau-jenaka-azizi-ahmad

Success depends largely on teachers

THE Education Ministry will announce next year if the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) will be replaced by the school-based assessments, popularly known as PBS. A likely outcome is that UPSR will go the way of Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR).

We have now PT3 (Pentaksiran Tingkatan Tiga or Form 3 Assessment), which is a combination of PBS, as well as having some exam papers being set and their marking schemes predetermined by the ministry.

These papers are marked and graded by the same school teachers. The final results are announced by the ministry after some “coordination and standardisation” have been done.

Teachers play a vital role in ensuring success of every aspect of the school-based assessments.


While PBS is promoted as the panacea for our overly exam-focused school system, some aspects of PBS continue to be the source of concern and uncertainty among students, parents, teachers and other stakeholders.

A common complaint is that the assessments vary from teacher to teacher, class to class and school to school.

Many of the school assessments deal with subjective answers and reports.

Teachers have to be objective and fair in their markings.

Although the ministry has assured time and again that its coordinating officers are on the ground to ensure that there is “standardisation” at all levels, the task is mammoth. It is made more difficult given the short time-span between final submission of students’ work and announcement of results.

How do you eliminate human biases and prejudices, given the magnitude of supervision and checking required to ensure fair play? Students and parents are hesitant to complain or bring this up.

But isn’t it odd that sometimes, all in a class get a good grade/band for a certain subject while in another class, not a single student get the good grade/band? Assessments can be very subjective.

A lot depends on the teacher. Worse if a teacher decides not to “like” a particular class. Then it’s just a blanket low grade/band for all in the class.

This can be disappointing and de-motivating when students are not acknowledged based on their actual performance. And parents want to know, “Is an ‘A’ for English given by a school in a rural setting the same as the ‘A’ awarded by a school in urban Damansara Utama?”

Also, projects carried out in an urban setting differ much from those in a rural setting; with the former being more complex in most cases.

Will teachers be biased in favouring complexity of projects rather than merely seeking out the necessary “research” and “report” ingredients involved? If teachers are careless, students from rural setting can be unduly penalised.

After a few years, some less-than- responsible teachers have become “smart” in handling PBS marking and scoring. Their modus operandi seems to be to simply give good marks to good students and give average and median grades to the rest, sometimes without thoroughly go through the answer scripts or the reports submitted.

This way, nobody complains! The good ones get good marks, while the average ones get their marks and the poor ones get better marks! This is making a mockery of the whole assessment system!

The plus side of PBS is the assessments done on other aspects of a child’s development. This includes his participation and achievements in sports and co-curricular activities.

Here the measurements are more objective. You can’t “cheat” on your sports and co-curricular achievements. Nevertheless, teachers in charge have to be diligent in entering all relevant data and perform all the necessary calculations accordingly.

Then, there are the assessments on a student’s psychometrics. Though these measurements can be both objective and subjective, the outputs are very much personal and not subject to competition as in the case of cognitive and academic measurements.

So, usually there are no “objections” here. The students and their parents should be thankful if teachers conduct the tests professionally and reveal to them the strengths and weaknesses in their personality traits and characteristics.

Hence, teachers play a vital role in ensuring the success of every aspect of PBS. Taken seriously, and with selfless commitment from teachers, PBS is the way forward especially at the primary and lower secondary levels, when children are in their prime developmental stages of their school career.

What is wrong with being second?

WINSTON Churchill once said: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

The recent announcement of Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah’s results surprised many, especially those with high expectations that candidates will score well based on the achievements of Standard Six pupils of previous years.

It is disappointing that some people think that only those obtaining straight As are considered successful while the rest are failures. Immature thinkers are too obsessed with firsts or being number One.

They believe that a first symbolises a special significance, importance and satisfaction. With the letter “A” being the first one in the alphabet, they feel that children should obtain the maximum number of As in exams.


Other instances include becoming a champion in competitions, sitting in the first row in classrooms and holding the top position in clubs, societies or sports teams.

There is nothing wrong in wanting to be the best but to place too much emphasis on people on top, to the point that we forget to appreciate the ones below is ridiculous and unkind.

Metaphorically speaking, a house will not stand strong and stable without the pillars supporting it.

It is bad enough that some people’s minds have been controlled by the power of firsts and even worse, they influence others to believe what they do.

What is wrong with being second? We need to stop living in the past.

It might be true that, in the previous century, it was still acceptable to measure pupils’ success based on their performance in exams, but that was yesterday’s yardstick.

We are now living in an era when it is not relevant anymore to solely focus on academic performance to recognise and determine abilities and capabilities.

There are other important elements in learning in which students need to excel to compete in this globalised world.

For example, individual skills and talents are vital to help pupils become all-rounders and extraordinary learners who can later contribute to the school and country and share their special skills and knowledge with others.

It will be a daunting task to explain and correct children’s understanding of obtaining excellent scores in exams, unless parents realise that getting As is not everything. It is not about being a winner or loser, or, how good or bad our children’s results are.

Rather, it’s about congratulating and thanking them for their efforts and willingness to learn. Every child deserves a celebration to help them feel loved and appreciated.

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The measure of success

THE scene of young Malaysians going to school, doing a little homework and playing hopscotch appears to the imagination like a picturesque oil painting.

It is something to be admired, and desired perhaps, but that era is gone forever. Some will mourn its loss and watch helplessly as people in the modern world cope under pressure.

Present-day youngsters, like their parents, are involved in far too many activities. Tuition and more tuition dominate their schedules.

Studies shows parents, including those in Malaysia, are pushing their children hard with many liking the idea of scoring straight As. Pix by SAIRIEN NAFIS.


Others also have to rush to piano and swimming lessons as well as football practice and ballet class, among other trendy extracurricular activities.

It is understandable if the young ones feel exhausted from too many things to do. Studies show that parents, including those in Malaysia, are pushing their children too hard.

Many parents like the idea of their children being good at everything — straight As, attend prestigious schools and have skills that will give them the competitive edge — all of which is fine.

But, experts say these goals represent just one aspect of what accounts for success in life and, sadly, many parents tend to ignore the type of accomplishment that honours inner strength, such as knowing and appreciating oneself, taking on life’s trials and tribulations with patience, seeking careers that are emotionally fulfilling, associating with people who are compassionate and loyal and holding a deep conviction that their purpose in life is to be close to their Creator and contribute meaningfully to society.

The outburst of parents, teachers and pupils at the recent Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) results revealed Malaysian society’s preoccupation with an external, performance-oriented version of success rather than an internal celebration of real curiosity about learning and the various ways youngsters perceive and experience things.

The results showed that the number of As scored by our 12-year-olds has reduced drastically compared with last year’s figures.

Only 4,896 pupils scored straight As, which represents 1.11 per cent of the 452,721 pupils who sat for the examination this year, as opposed to 38,344 pupils that secured all As under the previous format last year.

The most worrying facet of the issue is that we have taught our children to measure their self-worth by the results of a public examination.

No wonder the poor things feel ashamed of themselves, hopeless and inferior, among other negative emotions.

The tragedy is not in the reduction of As, but in the response of society to what it perceives as the poor performance of pupils who had sat for the UPSR. How did we get here?

This is something for policymakers with the help of researchers to figure out and take steps to attain the type of achievement that has nothing to do with straight As.

Obtaining good grades, while important, is less valuable in the long run than teaching children the art of being resourceful and adopting a positive attitude.

Parents should also embrace the “let kids fail” concept. There is no shame in failure because it builds character and this is as important as academic performance in helping your offspring become successful adults.

UPSR bukan penamat

Keputusan UPSR 2016 sudah pun diketahui. Ketua Pengarah Pelajaran dan Menteri Pelajaran ada dipetik berkata , "Oleh kerana ini adalah peperiksaan pertama yang menggunakan format baru, kita tidak boleh membandingkan keputusan dengan keputusan tahun lepas yang menggunakan format lama, ". Adakah saya salah untuk menulis ini?

Kepada mereka yang baru sahaja mengambil UPSR, dan dengan keputusan yang ditunjukkan hanya 1.11% dari lebih 400,000 calon adalah cemerlang  dan itu adalah satu pencapaian yang luar biasa.

Jadi bagaimana pula dengan harapan calon atau ibu bapa, yang dikatakan bertungkus lumus dan membelanjakan banyak wang dengan menghadiri kelas tusyien atau pun kelas tambahan namun ada juga kenyataan biasa ‘tidak mendapat 6A sekarang bukanlah rugi, masih banyak masa lagi untuk memperbaiki keadaan’ dan perlu dingat calon-calon ini ada lagi 6 tahun untuk menghadapi SPM pula.

Sama ada anda berjaya melakukan dengan baik atau tidak, masih ada masa untuk memperbaiki pencapaian yang telah pun terlepas.

Lagipun, itu bukanlah penamat terhadap kehidupan di  dunia seperti yang disimbah dalam berita.

Tidak mendapat  gred yang terbaik bukanlah  perkara yang paling teruk.

Kini adakah beribu-ribu calon UPSR akan menghabiskan cuti  mereka dalam kebimbangan atau  berfikir akan hasil usaha dan kerja keras mereka itu hanya sia-sia sahaja?

Kanak-kanak adalah kanak-kanak, dan kita harus memberitahu mereka satu perkara mudah, ‘yang lepas usahlah dikenang, lihat sahaja kehadapan, harungi masa depan dengan lebih jaya’. Mudahkan !

Tetapi "apa yang sudah, sudahlah" bukanlah satu nasihat yang cukup baik dan pasti tidak boleh mencerminkan nilai yang diletakkan di atas kejayaan akademik di dunia moden yang sangat kompetitif.

Bagi sekolah-sekolah yang baik, pihak mereka pasti mampu melegakan tekanan dengan menganjurkan  program kesedaran, dan akan  memberitahu pelajar bahawa peperiksaan bukan satu-satunya atau sememangnya aspek yang paling penting dalam pendidikan.

Peperiksaan bukan lah sesuatu yang penting, namun keputusan peperiksaan yang membawa makna.

Sesebuah institusi persekolahan yang baik dalam pasaran pendidikan sentiasa percaya dalam pendidikan yang menyeluruh dengan menyediakan aktiviti : sukan, muzik, drama, ilmu bertanggungjawab keatas orang lain, belajar untuk hidup.

Itulah yang banyak sekolah sentiasa isytiharkan sebagai nilai teras mereka, dan sering dipromosikan dengan jayanya.

Sudah tentu, program melegakan tekanan boleh menyediakan penawar yang berguna kepada tumpuan yang berlebihan di atas pencapaian kejayaan peperiksaan. Tetapi ia adalah mitos sekolah, nilai-nilai teras  yang  mewujudkan persekitaran di mana pelajar dan individu memperolehi kesejahteraan komuniti sekolah dipupuk.

Dalam terma yang paling mudah, setiap orang perlu melakukan yang terbaik: yang terbaik untuk sekolah mereka, yang terbaik untuk diri mereka sendiri. Biasanya, tetapi tidak semestinya dalam aturan tersebut.

Sekolah-sekolah hebat dan terpilih biasanya  mengekalkan mereka  yang mendapatkan keputusan peperiksaan yang terbaik, tanpa bimbang dengan apa saja keputusan yang diperolehi.  Mereka juga membuka laluan ilmiah dan kerjaya untuk murid mereka dengan mengaitkan apa yang berlaku di dalam kelas dunia yang lebih luas.

Meningkatkan hasrat dan  keinginan untuk semua calon patut menjadi sasaran setiap institusi l pendidikan.

Jadi walau apa saja pencapaian yang diperolehi dan kepada setiap calon marilah kita mengucapkan syabas kepada yang mencapai  kejayaan cemerlang, bersimpati kepada yang tersasar dan terus membantu dan berusaha meningkatkan pencapaian mereka untuk sumber terbaik negara kita;  anak-anak kita. masa depan kita.

Tajuk asal " Peperiksaan bukanlah sesuatu yang penting, namun keputusan peperiksaan yang membawa makna." bertarik 22 Nov 2016

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