With improvements evident in several key areas, the nation’s education system is heading in the right direction.
PRODUCING world-class students – that is the ultimate goal of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025.
And if the blueprint’s 2014 Annual Report is anything to go by, the country is definitely on the right track to creating top-notch human capital who will drive the country towards further progress.
The report, which former Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin launched in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, detailed the changes which took place in our national education system last year.
Some of the remarkable achievements he highlighted include 1,273 new preschool classes being opened and a higher enrolment rate in preschools nationwide.
The number of schools ranked as Bands 6 and 7 – the worst-performing in the nation – had gone down from 1.39% to 0.96% last year.
And, the number of schools listed as Bands 1 and 2 schools under the Education Ministry’s ranking system had gone up from 31.0% in 2013 to 36.8% last year.
Also, five Form Six centres were established last year – one each in Johor, Kuala Lumpur, Kedah, Selangor and Sabah – with 1,236 students studying there now.
To improve the nation’s performance in the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (Timss), the ministry came up with 62 intervention modules.
Ultimately, Muhyiddin emphasised that the yearly report was “not just a document to refer to”.
“The report was published to give a clear and concise explanation to the rakyat on the government’s efforts in raising the quality of our national education,” he said in his speech.
Here are more highlights from the blueprint’s 2014 Annual Report.
> Over 1.3 million pupils were tested in the Literacy and Numeracy test (LINUS) 2.0 programme.
> For Year Three pupils: 98.7% have basic literacy in Bahasa Melayu, while 98.9% have basic numeracy skills.
> English literacy was first introduced as part of the LINUS component two years ago.
For the first cohort (who were in Year Two last year), their literacy improved from 63.3% to 78.3%.
> Also, more Year One pupils (70.2%) boasted basic English literacy last year.
Quality of teachers
> Only the top 30% of students, or those with a minimum of 5As in SPM, were eligible to enrol into the Bachelor of Education programmes at Teacher Education Institutes (IPGs) nationwide.
> Potential candidates for principals and school heads are being identified under the National Professional Qualification for Educational Leaders (NPQEL) programme.
Last year, 1,020 teachers obtained the NPQEL certificate, with 63% scoring a CGPA of 3.75 and above.
> There were were 82,848 teachers who were given training on applying Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS).
Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)
> Public Skills Training Institutes sponsored 2,579 students while 1,300 students were sponsored by Private Skills Training Institutes last year.
> There were 90 companies which signed on to be industry partners with the ministry last year, bringing the total number of companies to 208.
These partners make sure vocational programmes remain relevant and help students secure attachements in industries after graduation.
Special needs education
> The number of special education needs students in vocational schools went up from 518 students to 775 students last year.
> Enrolment of special needs students in the Inclusive Education Programme (PPI) doubled from 9.6% to 18.4% last year.
Now, 10,700 students out of 58,006 special needs students are studying in mainstream schools.
> The PPI is now offered in 2,798 schools, an increase of 61% in two years.
> Over 3,000 upgrading and repair projects were completed in 2,410 schools nationwide.
> There are now 6,623 schools with high speed wireless 4G Internet connection.
> Out of five million students nationwide, 1.6 million students are logged into Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) platforms.
Of this, 47% use VLE for more than 30 minutes a week, exceeding the 30% target.
Increasing English proficiency
> Of the 1,191 “hotspot” schools – those with low passing rates for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) English Language paper – 140 scored the national average or more for English in SPM last year.
> To create fun and exciting language learning experiences for students, the Education Ministry in collaboration with the United States (US) Embassy and Enfiniti Academy, organised two camps.
It benefited 224 students from 45 schools in Terengganu, Pahang and Kuala Lumpur.
> For the Form Three Assessment or PT3, the English Language assessment expanded to include listening and speaking skills.
It was developed with reference to the Common European Framework of References for Languages, with guidance from the Cambridge International Examination to benchmark students’ English proficiency levels with international standards.
> To build the teachers’ language proficiencies, 360 native speakers from the US, Britain, Australia and New Zealand were sent as mentors to 1,800 primary schools in remote areas.
> The Professional Upskilling of English Language Teachers programme benefited 10,502 teachers. It saw 2,244 teachers improving by one proficiency level, while another 166 improved by two proficiency levels.
Game on: Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (in blue shirts) conducting an English language camp
at SMK Kepong Baru, Kuala Lumpur. -- AZMAN GHANI / The Star