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Train pupils to tackle any question

WHEN the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) results were announced recently, there was an uproar from parents because the number of students who scored straight

As had significantly dropped. It is time that parents’ mindset change. As an educator for 23 years, I daresay that the As that these pupils obtained in the examination do not reflect what they are capable of in real life.

Teachers now have to teach pupils relevant skills to be able to cope with any type of question in all major public examinations. Pic by Edmund Samunting


When these straight-A pupils move into secondary school, 99 per cent of them do not have the capability and ability to transfer the “A quality” into their new environment.

When questioned, these students said they had been spoon-fed and went through drills to ensure they were able to answer the questions in UPSR.

They were not taught to think critically and creatively. Malaysian students tend to just want “shortcuts” to score an A for a subject.

I am happy that the Education Ministry is attempting to change this trend. I hope it will not be pressured by parents to revert to the old trend.

Teachers now have to teach pupils relevant skills so they can cope with any type of question in all major public examinations.

Our teaching and learning syllabus has emphasised higher-order thinking skills (HOTS) for many years.

However, many teachers tend to think that HOTS focuses only on the type of questions asked.

Teachers must realise that HOTS can be used in any situation, i.e. exam format, types of questions, structure of the questions, etc.

The trick is to train pupils to tackle any question in any given situation. Pupils need to learn to be calm and read the instructions and questions carefully.

These are vital skills for lifelong learning. These skills are also important in their daily lives and later in their working life.

Hence, the need to drill pupils with exam questions is no longer relevant. Instead, it is time for teachers to teach students to think critically.

Teach integrity from a young age

THERE is a Malay proverb that says if you want to bend bamboo, it should be done when it is a shoot, meaning that if we want to cultivate good values, it should be done at a young age.

This is how we should tackle corruption, by taking stern action against perpetrators.

Focus should be paid to the young since the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) statistics, published in the media recently, showed that 1,045 out of 1,093 people arrested by the agency from 2013 to October were aged 40 and below.

This is a mind-boggling fact as they represent nearly 96 per cent of those arrested. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri recently said that corruption involving youth was alarming as they made up 54 per cent of 5,799 individuals arrested for crimes between 2003 and 2013.

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Global Economic Crime Survey 2016 also found that 30 per cent of 80 Malaysian companies experienced bribery and corruption in their daily operations, compared with just 19 per cent in 2014.

It is even more worrying when 98 per cent of those polled have already made it clear to their staff that bribery and corruption are “unacceptable practices”.

This proves that although most Malaysians believe corruption should not be tolerated, many are still committing it. Our rank in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index last year slipped to the 54th spot among 168 countries.

This is a drop from being ranked 50 out of 175 countries in 2014. It cannot be denied that efforts made by MACC, including stringent enforcement, can nip the problem in the bud.

More should be done to create awareness among the public so that they do not get involved with or tolerate corruption.

The public must be taught that there are acts to protect witnesses and whistle-blowers who lodge a report. This is important because only 162 out of 1.6 million civil servants have lodged reports with MACC.

The process to inculcate positive values must be done with the help of all parties, as MACC alone cannot ensure that public and private sectors, and government-linked companies are corruption-free in three years.

MACC and the Education Ministry have included anti-corruption elements in Year Six textbooks, while tertiary institutions have also mooted anti-corruption secretariats. We should wage an all-out war against corruption.

Continuous efforts must be made to promote a corruption-free work environment, develop a culture of honesty and integrity, and identify and eliminate elements that may influence susceptibility to corrupt activities.

We must not be unconcerned and complacent about corruption because it attacks not only the economic and social fabric of society, but also its moral foundations. Above all, we must never allow corruption to be institutionalised.

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