April 7th, 2013

17 Aku janji BN kepada rakyat

Perdana Menteri minta rakyat buat pilihan antara beliau, Anwar, Hadi

Kuala Lumpur: Datuk Seri Najib Razak malam tadi dengan rendah diri meminta rakyat membuat pertimbangan sewajarnya dalam membuat pilihan pada Pilihan Raya Umum Ke-13 (PRU-13) dengan memberi sokongan kepadanya untuk memimpin negara dan Barisan Nasional (BN) menerajui negara.

Perdana Menteri berkata, kebolehpercayaan rakyat terhadap siapa yang menerajui negara adalah penting dalam PRU-13, sama ada mempercayai dirinya atau pimpinan pembangkang.




“Inti pati PRU-13 adalah sama ada kebolehpercayaan rakyat memberi kepercayaan kepada (Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim atau Datuk Seri Hadi (Awang) atau saya sebagai Perdana Menteri.

Harapan pembangunan

“Siapa yang kita yakin jadi PM. Jika jawapannya ialah Najib, pilihlah BN. Saya perlukan pasukan yang kuat untuk memerintah. Pasukan saya yang akan bertanding,” katanya ketika berucap pada majlis Pelancaran Manifesto BN2013 di Stadium Putra, Bukit Jalil, di sini.

Kata-kata Najib itu disambut laungan lebih 50,000 penyokong BN berdiri sebagai tanda hormat dan ikrar memberi undi kepadanya dan BN.

Najib juga berkata, mengundi BN bermakna memberi harapan kepada pembangunan ekonomi serta penyatuan rakyat dan negara.

Justeru, Najib mengingatkan rakyat jika memilih pakatan pembangkang, ia menjurus kepada masa depan yang gelap kerana manifesto mereka berasaskan khayalan dan fantasi.


Selar tindakan Anwar

Dengan rendah diri beliau mewakili Kerajaan BN juga memohon maaf kepada rakyat jika masih ada kelemahan sepanjang memerintah sejak empat tahun lalu.

“Sebagai manusia, kita tak boleh lari daripada kesilapan tetapi kami berjanji akan terus berusaha memberikan yang terbaik. Kita berusaha kotakan apa yang kita janji. Bukan seperti mereka (pembangkang) yang hanya tahu berjanji,” katanya.

Beliau turut menyelar tindakan Anwar yang menjaja pengalamannya bersama kerajaan dan UMNO untuk menarik sokongan.

Tak tikam belakang

“Saya juga sudah lama bersama parti dan kerajaan. Sudah 37 tahun, tetapi saya sabar, langkah demi langkah hinggalah ke kedudukan sekarang. Saya tak tikam sesiapa dari belakang,” katanya disambut tepukan gemuruh.

Beliau berkata, pembangkang khususnya PKR mengalami krisis kepercayaan apabila 30 daripada 32 pengasas parti itu keluar parti, termasuk yang terbaru rakan karibnya, Prof Datuk Dr Sidek Baba.

“Kini tinggal dua orang saja. Isteri dia (Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail) dan seorang lagi yang tak berapa betul... Tian Chua (Naib Presiden PKR),” katanya.


INFO

Manifesto PRU-13 Barisan Nasional

Menangani kos sara hidup

Meningkatkan kehidupan warga bandar

Menyediakan rumah mampu milik

Peluang mendapat perkhidmatan kesihatan berkualiti

Ke arah kecekapan terhebat pengangkutan awam

Pembangunan infrastruktur bertaraf dunia dan transformasi luar bandar

Membina ekonomi mapan, dinamik dan inovatif

Membina kecemerlangan pendidikan negara

Meningkatkan keselamatan dan ketenteraman awam

Memperkasa penyertaan wanita

Memenuhi aspirasi belia

Merancang Jaringan Keselamatan Sosial

Mempromosi agama Islam, kebebasan dan keharmonian agama

Memerangi gejala rasuah

Memperkukuhkan perkhidmatan awam, menambah baik tadbir urus

Gerakan kesederhanaan global

Memulihara sumber semula jadi

bhnews@mediaprima.com.my Berita Harian Online Nasional 07/04/2013

6 sebab mesti pilih BN

Negara perlu kerajaan stabil, pencapaian mantap, ada pengalaman memerintah

Barisan Nasional (BN) menggariskan enam faktor mengapa rakyat perlu terus memilih parti itu untuk menerajui kepemimpinan negara selepas Pilihan Raya Umum ke-13 (PRU-13) bagi memburu impian dan harapan rakyat serta negara.

Pertama, Malaysia memerlukan kerajaan stabil dan kuat bagi mempertahankan apa yang sudah dicapai dan meneruskan kesinambungan usaha kerajaan BN untuk kemakmuran negara.

Kerajaan yang kukuh perlu untuk melaksanakan Agenda Transformasi Negara ke arah mencapai status negara berpendapatan tinggi dan maju.

Selain itu, kerajaan BN terbukti berkhidmat untuk rakyat dan percaya kepada keadilan sosial dan menjadi inklusif, menyentuh hati nurani, meningkatkan taraf hidup semua lapisan rakyat tanpa mengira keturunan dan agama.

Kedua, pencapaian kerajaan selama 55 tahun tidak boleh dinafikan dengan rekod BN sebagai parti yang mempunyai pencapaian mantap dengan menunaikan segala janji.

Hasilnya, kerajaan diterajui BN membawa kemakmuran kepada setiap masyarakat dan rekod kecemerlangan ini akan diteruskan. Sehubungan itu sekarang bukan masa untuk membuat uji kaji demi masa depan rakyat.

Penambahbaikan

Selain itu, BN sudah membuktikan keupayaan dengan sentiasa melakukan penambahbaikan dengan sepanjang empat tahun lalu banyak kemajuan besar dicapai untuk meningkatkan produktiviti dan sistem penyampaian.

Ketiga, BN berpengalaman menguruskan masyarakat pelbagai kaum agama dan budaya menerusi politik perpaduan yang diamalkan.

BN juga sudah membuktikan kemampuan menghadapi cabaran dan mengharungi kesukaran dan berkali-kali berjaya keluar daripada kegetiran itu dengan lebih gagah.

Parti gabungan dinamik ini berjaya menyesuaikan gerakan dengan perubahan landskap tetapi tidak pernah mengorbankan prinsip.

Keempat, BN mengamalkan perkongsian kuasa yang efektif dengan menolak politik benci membenci dan pecah-belah. BN menghormati dan menerima kepelbagaian agama.

BN membina jambatan dan tidak merobohkannya. BN menentang eksploitasi kaum dan agama untuk keuntungan politik. Perpaduan membuahkan kekuatan, perpecahan pula hanya membawa kemusnahan.

Kelima, BN adalah gabungan pelbagai parti yang telah teruji. Selepas 55 tahun ia masih mewakili seluruh lapisan rakyat dari semua negeri di Malaysia.

BN percaya kepada kesinambungan. Walaupun pemimpin datang dan pergi tetapi gabungan tetap utuh.

Parti ini juga mengamalkan politik konsensus dan keterangkuman yang mengambil kira semua pendapat, semua suara didengar.

Keenam, BN berkongsi harapan dan aspirasi dan untuk itu, berusaha keras menjadikannya suatu kenyataan untuk semua.

BN memperkasa rakyat. Peralihan yang terurus ke arah masyarakat progresif, moden dan demokratik dengan iltizam melindungi hak asasi manusia dan alam sekitar.

BN menepati Janji Membawa Harapan. Memacu rakyat dan negara ke tahap baharu kecemerlangan dan perkhidmatan berasaskan gagasan Rakyat Didahulukan, Pencapaian Diutamakan.

INFO: Enam faktor kena pilih BN

Malaysia memerlukan kerajaan yang stabil dan kuat

Rekod pencapaian

Pengalaman

Gerakan kesederhanaan

Perkongsian kuasa telah teruji

Memenuhi kehendak rakyat


Berita Harian Online Nasional 07/04/2013

Manifesto untuk mandat lebih besar

MULAI pukul 9 malam tadi, berjuta-juta pengundi di Malaysia mula berpeluang untuk membaca manifesto Pilihan Raya Umum ke-13 (PRU-13) Barisan Nasional (BN).

Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak melancarkan manifesto BN itu di Stadium Putra Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur dalam satu perhimpunan politik yang disemarakkan dengan lagu patriotik Inilah Barisan Kita dan lagu Anak Kampung yang telah diubah suai untuk menggambarkan semangat manifesto tersebut.

Membuka halaman manifesto itu memberikan kita gambaran mengagumkan tentang Najib dan BN: Najib menyedari betapa beratnya tugas untuk memimpin negara dan gabungan BN yang diterajuinya sentiasa berusaha memberikan yang terbaik untuk rakyat Malaysia.

Membaca manifesto itu membolehkan kita menginsafi betapa banyaknya kejayaan yang telah kita ukir selama di bawah pemerintahan BN: Ia memperlihatkan begitu kompleksnya perjuangan untuk menjadikan Malaysia sebuah negara yang hebat, dengan pendekatan keterangkuman menyatukan semua rakyat daripada pelbagai kaum, agama, budaya, negeri dan wilayah.

Meneliti manifesto itu mendedahkan kita kepada suatu persepsi yang begitu penting kepada kemanusiaan dan politik: Najib dan BN mempunyai rekod menepati janji yang tidak dapat disangkal, amat komprehensif, bersifat nasional dan mendahului zaman dari segi cara pemikirannya, adil dalam pelaksanaan dasar-dasar serta realistik dalam berjanji.

Najib selaku Pengerusi BN tidak menjanjikan sesuatu yang tidak dapat ditepati. Tidak seperti mainan kata pemimpin parti pembangkang, Perdana Menteri dan BN tidak berjanji untuk memperdayakan pengundi.

Berbeza dengan para pemimpin pembangkang yang berpolitik untuk merobohkan apa yang telah dibina, kuasa yang ada, kepada Najib dan BN, adalah kesinambungan. Beliau tidak menjanjikan apa sahaja yang ada di langit dan di bumi semata-mata untuk mendapatkan kuasa.

Kandungan manifesto Menepati Janji Membawa Harapan setebal 32 muka surat itu adalah refleksi pegangan politik Najib dan corak perjuangan BN di bawah kepimpinannya. Melalui manifesto itu, kita dapat merasakan bahawa Najib ialah seorang yang dapat diyakini dan kepadanya dapat kita letakkan harapan untuk menentukan untung nasib anak cucu di tanah air yang tercinta ini.

Manifesto itu dimulakan dengan warkah Najib sebagai Perdana Menteri kepada para pengundi yang mencerminkan keperibadian dan latar belakang politiknya sebagai anak sulung Perdana Menteri kedua Malaysia, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein.

Dengan Dewan Rakyat telah pun dibubarkan pada 3 April lalu dan PRU-13 bakal diadakan beberapa minggu lagi, Najib memulakan warkah dalam manifesto itu dengan ayat “rakyat Malaysia yang dikasihi".

“Masanya telah tiba untuk kita membuat keputusan. Laluan demokrasi menetapkan bahawa masa depan negara ini berada dalam tangan rakyat. Kuasa rakyat itulah cerminan pilihan raya yang bebas dan adil.

“Allahyarham ayahanda saya, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein pernah berkata, ‘Tugas kamu kepada negara adalah untuk memenuhi amanah rakyat dengan segala daya upaya’.

“Saya melangkah masuk ke bidang politik 37 tahun lalu dan ini adalah kali pertama saya memimpin gabungan BN untuk menghadapi pilihan raya umum. Ia menjadi satu cabaran besar dan tanggungjawab yang berat," kata Najib.

Sebenarnya, tiada perkataan manifesto tertera pada dokumen manifesto yang dilancarkan oleh Najib malam tadi, tetapi beliau menegaskan dalam warkahnya bahawa para pengasas negara ini menekankan betapa pentingnya komitmen serta pengorbanan.

Rekod kerajaan BN menunaikan janji cukup jelas, tegas Najib, dan inilah rekod transformasi yang beliau mahu dikupas, direnungi dan dihayati oleh 13.29 juta pengundi pada PRU-13 nanti.

“Daripada transformasi ekonomi, politik dan sosial, sehingga kepada menjunjung hak asasi manusia dan demokrasi, kita mara dengan penuh yakin dan mantap bagi mencapai liberalisasi yang lebih menyeluruh.

“Perubahan sebenar telah pun berlaku dan dirasai, tetapi perjalanan ke arah transformasi sepenuhnya akan mengambil masa," kata beliau.

Dokumen manifesto Menepati Janji Membawa Harapan mengandungi tujuh bahagian.

Pertama, warkah Najib kepada pengundi; kedua, prinsip-prinsip politik BN dan kenapa pengundi perlu pilih BN; ketiga, huraian dasar umum BN untuk 17 sub topik daripada menangani kos sara hidup, menguruskan ekonomi, keselamatan dan ketenteraman awam sehingga kepada pengurusan sumber alam; keempat, apa yang telah dilakukan BN setakat ini; dan kelima, janji BN kepada rakyat dalam tempoh lima tahun akan datang.

Dokumen itu juga mengandungi dua lagi bahagian tambahan iaitu renungan petikan kata-kata Najib yang menggariskan pendekatan, gaya kepimpinan, penekanan dan keprihatinannya serta penggunaan gambar-gambar dan visual yang relevan dengan setiap sub topik manifesto tersebut.

Daripada halaman pertama manifesto itu, pendekatan BN yang mengotakan janji dan memupuk politik konsensus sejak dari zaman Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra dan Tun Razak jelas mendominasi tema kempen pilihan raya BN pada PRU-13. Politik perpaduan dan integriti pemimpin inilah yang menyalakan semangat jentera pilihan raya BN yang digerakkan oleh parti-parti yang mewakili rakyat pelbagai kaum, budaya dan agama.

Ungkapan kata-kata Najib mengenai muhibah, persefahaman, kemajuan, kemakmuran untuk semua rakyat, perpaduan kaum dan kestabilan nasional menjadikan dokumen Menepati Janji Membawa Harapan itu suatu manifestasi iltizam politik Perdana Menteri.

Najib mengharapkan manifesto yang ditampilkan oleh BN malam tadi akan menjadi topik perbincangan rakyat sebelum mereka keluar mengundi pada PRU-13. Katanya, rakyat perlu menilai BN berdasarkan merit dan apa yang BN telah sumbangkan kepada negara selama ini.

Najib menawarkan kepada rakyat gabungan BN yang begitu berpengalaman, telah teruji, satu gerakan kesederhanaan yang berkongsi kuasa secara harmoni bersama semua kaum serta memiliki rekod pencapaian yang hebat dalam memenuhi kehendak rakyat.

Dalam tempoh lima tahun akan datang, misalnya, manifesto itu menggariskan komitmen kerajaan BN untuk menarik pelaburan sebanyak RM1.3 trilion dan mencipta 3.3 juta peluang pekerjaan kepada rakyat negara ini. Dalam pada itu, golongan minoriti dan terpinggir tidak dilupakan.

Manifesto itu juga mengandungi 24 petikan kata-kata Najib, termasuk satu ungkapan yang mencerminkan falsafah kepimpinannya. Ketika membentangkan Bajet 2013 di Dewan Rakyat pada bulan Oktober lalu, Najib menegaskan prinsip keadilan sosial pentadbiran kerajaan BN dengan rangkap kata-kata berbunga yang puitis dan membawa maksud yang amat mendalam.

Beliau mengimpikan untuk melihat Malaysia digemblengkan oleh segenap lapisan masyarakat untuk menjadi sebuah negara yang istimewa: “Sebuah negara yang mana yang susah dibantu, yang lemah dilindungi, yang berada membantu, yang kuat melindungi, yang muda dikasihi, yang tua dihargai, yang memerlukan dikhidmati dan yang berbakat digilap."

Najib, dengan pengalamannya mentadbir negara begitu lama dan liku-liku politik yang dilaluinya, telah berpuluh tahun melakukan tanggungjawab yang tersimpul dalam rangkap kata-kata itu sejak beliau menceburi bidang politik pada tahun 1976 selepas kematian Allahyarham Tun Razak.

Setelah lebih tiga dekad bergelumang dalam politik, beliau ditakdirkan menggantikan Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi sebagai Perdana Menteri pada 3 April 2009 selepas setahun PRU-12 berakhir. Tempohnya berkhidmat sebagai Perdana Menteri amat mencabar kerana PRU-12 pada Mac 2008 menyaksikan BN hilang majoriti dua pertiga di Parlimen dan gabungan parti itu gagal menguasai lima buah negeri.

Apabila Najib membubarkan Dewan Rakyat pada 3 April lalu, beliau sedar betapa rapuhnya politik negara selepas Mac 2008 dan dengan rendah diri beliau mengakui bahawa mandat rakyat di peti undi yang akan menentukan kedudukan BN pada PRU-13.

Inilah kali pertama Najib, 60, mengetuai BN menghadapi pilihan raya umum dengan agenda besar mengembalikan imbangan dalam politik Malaysia dan mencorakkan semula landskap politik negara yang sejak 2008 diwarnai perbalahan, konflik dan pertarungan.

Dalam manifesto BN, Presiden UMNO yang juga Ahli Parlimen Pekan itu memohon mandat daripada rakyat supaya diberi peluang untuk memimpin sebuah kerajaan yang mendahulukan kepentingan dan kebajikan rakyat bagi menjayakan Agenda Transformasi Negara.

Melalui rekod pencapaian dan komitmen BN yang disenaraikan dalam manifesto yang dilancarkan malam tadi, beliau amat mengharapkan rakyat untuk turut memberi sokongan besar kepada kesemua 222 calon BN di peringkat Parlimen dan 505 di peringkat Dewan Undangan Negeri yang akan bertanding pada PRU-13 nanti.

Kenapa mandat besar diperlukan?

Najib menulis dalam manifesto BN: “Sebagai Perdana Menteri Malaysia, mandat yang saya mohon ini amat penting demi kelangsungan dan kesinambungan. Kita perlu bergerak ke hadapan meninggalkan jalan mundur yang menghalang perpaduan, kestabilan, keharmonian serta kemakmuran. Kita mesti menolak pecah belah, kelembapan, pergolakan, kekacauan, perbalahan dan krisis.

“Mandat daripada anda adalah sebuah janji yang membawa harapan, mandat untuk mencapai kecemerlangan bersama-sama sebagai satu bangsa, satu negara dan satu wawasan. Berilah peluang kepada saya untuk meneruskan khidmat bakti ini sedaya upaya saya. Saya ingin meyakinkan anda bahawa kegemilangan akan menyusul!"

Dengan aspirasi rakyat yang tergaris jelas dalam manifesto BN itu, cita-cita Najib untuk melihat penubuhan kerajaan yang lebih kukuh diharapkan akan terjelma pada PRU-13 bagi membawa Malaysia ke mercu kegemilangan baharu.



Baharom Mahusin Utusan Malaysia Online Rencana 07/04/2013

Primary concerns

I HAVE never taught in a primary school before, and so I don’t have first-hand knowledge of the challenges the teachers there face. However, I know people who do, and at times, listening to the many things they have to deal with, convinces me that there may be no justifiable basis for all the grumbling I sometimes do about secondary school teaching duties.

I was talking to a friend who has been teaching at a national primary school for years and have complained to her about the problems I faced dealing with students who dozed off in class, who didn’t hand in work or had no respect for authority.

“At least, your students will be more or less in awe of you,” I told her, “them being so young and all. Middle childhood to be exact. So much easier to handle than adolescence or young adulthood ….”

I was about to launch into some pretty impressive (or so I thought) quotes on developmental theories when she turned to me quietly and said, “Have you ever had to take a student to the washroom and change her clothes because she had wet herself?”

That made me stop and think. Rethink actually — and even though my teacher friend had the grace not to continue, there were many other questions that sprung up in my mind to follow her first question.

Have you ever had to sit next to a student, guide her hand until she gets the right grip on her pencil?

Have you ever had a child throw up in your car when you were taking him for a school competition?

Have you ever had to chase students around the classroom to make them sit at their respective seats?

Have you ever had to teach a child 100 times before she managed to spell her own name correctly?

There were more questions of course, millions of them in fact, that made me feel somewhat humbled. Many of these questions were based on memories of my own primary school teachers and the part they had played in my education.

No easy feat

On reflection, I realised that the thing I had been covertly guilty of during the conversation with my primary school teacher friend was the same thing I deplored in others — the tendency to regard primary school teaching as somewhat “easier”compared to the secondary school.

It is the same thing when people, at times, even teachers themselves, who suggest by manner or attitude that teaching in a primary school is somewhat inferior compared to teaching in a secondary school.

The implication here, however false it may be, is that your personal status as a teacher is a function of your students’ age level. The perception though misguided is widespread at least in our local educational setting, and is certainly not helped by a system that seems to place teachers-in-training into programmes suited for either primary or secondary level students based on their own academic performances.

While it is true that the academic curriculum in a secondary school is more advanced than a primary school, and teachers at higher levels therefore need to work with deeper subject content, I personally don’t believe that this alone makes their job more challenging or that selection of candidates for teacher training programmes should be any less stringent for those in the primary school compared to the secondary school.

There was a period perhaps when this kind of thinking seemed to rule.

The more “qualified” candidates were sent to teach in secondary schools, while standards were rather lax about primary school teaching.

“What’s so difficult about teaching in the primary school” was the unspoken sentiment in educational circles at one time.

It was exactly this form of thinking that may have deprived the primary schools of the kind of pedagogical expertise they so much need.

Crucial stage

The crucial importance of this stage of middle childhood needs to be emphasised upon. This is the period that developmental psychologist Jean Piaget referred to as the concrete operational stage, when a child’s thought processes become more mature and “adult like”, and they start solving problems in a more logical fashion.

It is during the primary school years when the fundamentals skills of reading, writing, and calculating are first developed.

This is also the time when they learn the basic physical skills for ordinary games. They learn to throw and catch, kick, tumble, swim, and handle simple tools.

It is also the time when they develop habits of care of the body, of cleanliness and safety. They begin to learn friendship, how to get along with those of their age, develop conscience, morality, and a scale of values.

If a child has behavioural problems like ADHD or specific learning disabilities like dyslexia, it may very well be the teacher at this stage who will first notice these problems.

The primary school phase is where the foundations are laid, the ground is prepared, where they learn the rudiments of education and what school is all about.

It is perhaps the very significance of this phase in a child’s life that makes it hugely important to have teachers who are best trained and qualified at the primary school level.

The child’s primary school teacher is probably the next adult after his parents who will have the most significance in his life.

Those of us who are parents ourselves may have experienced episodes when their children insist that it is their teacher’s version of events that is more credible.

“‘But my teacher said ...” is a common phrase used by children to validate their point or to refute an adult’s statement.

Sometimes I do feel just a little bit envious when my friends in primary school regale me with little tales which although unintended, reflects clearly how students in their childish candour regard them as a hero, the fount of wisdom, the purveyor of knowledge and vie with each other for the special honour of “carrying teacher’s books” or helping the teacher with her bag.

I am glad that there are some changes now in the selection system of teacher training candidates for primary schools, and even if it hasn’t quite changed public perception yet, at least the changes are beginning.

Perhaps the day will come when teaching in primary schools will be considered a specialised field, where only those who have aspirations to teach children are trained and recruited.




TEACHER TALK By MALLIKA VASUGI The STAR Online Education Opinion Sunday 7 Apr 2013

The Moral dilemma

HAVE we destroyed the intrinsic value of Moral Education (ME) and made it so simplistic that it has become one-dimensional?

A handful of my second-year education students in Universiti Malaya (UM) and I find that ME is too exam-oriented.

Students even feel frustrated with ME as it is crammed with a set of moral values in which each of these values are defined neatly with specific key words and terms in the syllabus.

Questions and marking schemes in ME can only test how well the students are adept at memorising the subject.

As long as the candidates are able to provide answers with correct keywords in the answer scheme, they could pass or even get an A.

Deviated answers are not allowed and this indirectly shuts down the door for the students to think critically and analytically.

Talking from our personal point of views as university students, ME is not something structured, or something that you can just learn about through memorisation.

We agree with the view that ME extends beyond skills and knowledge; it is not just an academic subject.

With this, my students and I believe that moral is something caught but not taught.

Learning ME can be lively when we actually learn about life, how to live and the most important reason is, learning about yourself.

The danger of being too bound by our moral textbooks makes the subject redundant.

In preparing students for exams, students are being trained to do more exercises for the purpose of central assessment.

They are also trained to memorise like robots, where what they learn is merely to remember the key words so as to score well in the examination.

In our opinion, there will be no problem regarding morality anymore if students memorise all the values in the moral syllabus.

Rigid teaching

However, it will be such a waste of effort if students only memorise moral values but do not practise them in their respective lives. This reflects how rigid ME has become.

Even worse, such drudgery in memorising does kill the students’ interest in the subject and it eventually becomes totally meaningless to them.

On the other hand, most parents find ME is unnecessary and should not be included in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) exam. They think the subject is too trivial and unimportant as it does not help children develop any skills.

While it may be unimportant where skills are concerned, ME is otherwise a great subject to instil good values and helps enhance critical thinking.

Heads and hearts

The subject teaches students how to cultivate the importance of reasoning using their “heads and hearts” and to get wise, rational and objective decisions when faced with real-life moral dilemmas.

There is no doubt that the subject concerns the philosophy of life, ethics, humanity and values.

If it is taught with greater effort, creativity and commitment, we are sure students will be happy to learn ME.

They will certainly appreciate life and contribute to society in a constructive manner.

From what some of us had experienced during ME lessons in secondary schools, teachers expected us to memorise the first value of the subject’s syllabus, which was on self development.

We were initially surprised that we were taught this way — to memorise word for word when the new learning approach was to encourage students to analyse and answer.

However, because of the teacher’s authoritarian style, we had to abide by what the teacher instructed us to do, or be categorised as immoral students.

We were given 15 minutes for the exercise.

As for the moral value on Belief in God, we were given 15 minutes to explain our definition.

Since the definition was long, it was hard to memorise within the stipulated time.

In fact, one of our classmates was punished and ordered out of the class for failing to provide the full answer.

We are curious about the type of training the ME teachers currently undergo before they are allowed to teach the subject.

From our experience in UM, we know that ME is a complex subject and it is necessary that those who teach it, have proper training.

There should be no form of indoctrination and there should be choices when one makes moral decisions.

Only then can students reason out and think about their decisions based on values and principles.

In higher institutions, ME is taught by certain academics who might be influenced by indoctrinated philosophies.

If such academics are not open-minded towards the epistemology and philosophy of ME, then the subject is doomed to fail again and again.

Instead of introducing Islamic Education and Moral Education into two separate subjects in schools, we could do something to transform the essence of the subjects, and present them in one single subject.

This in turn will teach students about moral, ethics, religion and philosophy that will develop them holistically.

Learning together

We also believe that by having all students learning ME regardless of their faith, there will be no disparity and differences as they can share challenges and issues that happen around them.

They can even voice out their opinions to some extent, to cultivate love and respect among themselves.

In certain circumstances, the subject is taught by teachers according to what appears in the textbook.

This is done without focusing on the true domains in the subject which include developing moral reasoning, moral emotions and moral action.

In order to transform ME as a subject that helps students and the community, teachers should transform their mindset and the way they teach.

Moral Education is not an examination subject but one that imbibes principles and values for life.

If taught with the appropriate pedagogy, students at the end of their 11 years of schooling will excel in character and on paper.

There will not be any need for memorisation because such values have been inculcated from primary school and have become part of the students’ character.

One needs to respect the old when they are young, help the weak when they are strong, and admit to their faults or mistakes — after all, these are the values that should come from within.

DR VISHALACHE BALAKRISHNAN TESL Major/Moral Minor students (2nd year) Faculty of Education Universiti Malaya The STAR Online Education Opinion Sunday 7 Apr 2013

No need for school-based assessments

A RECENT letter published in your paper stated that the school-based assessments should be given a chance.

However, such assessments could easily lead to abuse.

In the first place, what is the standard or measurement used to assess a child? If it is based on the child’s personal progress, then it is subjective and there will be multiple standards of competency.

The writer of the letter Thomas Kok, believes that there will be enforcement by district, state and federal education officers to ensure the validity and reliability of the assessments.

However, let’s be practical — there is very little likelihood of officers actually going from school to school to ensure that the assessments have been carried out professionally and without abuse.

In fact, even in the monitoring of schools by the Inspectorate of Schools, it has never been possible for them to cover all schools and all subjects every year!

Remember, we have rural schools which are not easily accessible!

At the same time, some teachers do allow room for negotiation to “adjust” grades when students feel they are victimised or if their answers and scores are wrongly assessed.

This is not something new as there are many instances in the past where students have quizzed teachers on their low scores which in turn had some teachers relenting.

The writer also applauds the abolition of some public exams like the Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR), which he says remove stress from the students.

However, one should look at real life. Stress is present everywhere.

In the working world, everyone needs to perform, to attain the goals they set out to do and to be competent, otherwise they might not stay employed.

There is no reason why public exams like the PMR should be detrimental to the well being of teens and other school-goers.

Rather, it is the education system and how parents regard exams that make them (exams) “unpalatable”.

In the selection for government residential schools and scholarships for tertiary education, examination results do make a difference.

With school-based assessments, there can be contrived grades to get some children into desired boarding schools.

It strikes me as contradictory that the education planners have decreed school-based assessments, and at the same time make it compulsory that students attain a pass in English and History.

All this does not make sense.

Oral English and Science practical exams will now fall into the category of school-based assessments.

What will the results be like? We listen to mangled English spoken by our homegrown students. Some even refuse to utter any English words.

Many students have even been robbed of many science practical sessions because there are teachers who skim through or avoid certain difficult topics essential in the Science practicals.

The students lose out on a global level as they will not be as competent in the laboratories compared to students from other countries.

Extra-curricular activities and sports have been managed even with public exams.

As long as the principal does not sacrifice the physical and social development of the students for academic excellence, the students will have a balanced education which is what our education philosophy is all about.

There is a need to encourage young people to achieve the best, to discover their potential and to persevere when they fail at the first try.

With school-based assessments, we have removed this challenge. This means we will not be able to follow the maxim — Our Utmost for the Highest!

School-based assessment and public exams have their place in a healthy educational system.

So far, universities everywhere have held our education system in high esteem and have given scholarships to our students based on their performance in our public exam system.

In fact, some years ago, a representative from a Canadian university, so impressed by Malaysian students and especially the exemplary results of a female student who hailed from Kuala Lumpur, visited the school she attended in the heart of the city.

Does it not go to show the faith others have had of our schools?

Whatever we do, we have to be careful that we do not bring our education system into disrepute and lose the international recognition and respect that we have received and enjoyed so far.

OLIVIA TEOH Petaling Jaya, Selangor The STAR Online Education Opinion Sunday 7 Apr 2013