February 5th, 2014

Perlu pengalaman dan kaedah mantap

Pengumuman Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia (KPM) mengenai penawaran tangga gaji lebih tinggi kepada guru yang mempunyai ijazah sarjana dan doktor falsafah (PhD) menunjukkan betapa komitednya kerajaan menaikkan martabat guru.

Biarpun mungkin segelintir pihak melihatnya tidak adil, secara positif ia bakal meningkat taraf profesion pendidik.

Ia juga dianggap pencetus semangat kepada guru lain mengejar taraf pendidikan serupa bagi menikmati ganjaran ditawarkan.


Bagaimanapun, masih boleh dipersoalkan taraf dan kualiti guru itu sama ada mampu mempunyai kelebihan berbanding guru bertaraf ijazah sarjana muda, diploma atau sijil.

Foto

GURU perlu sentiasa mempertingkatkan pencapaian diri bagi mempersiapkan diri dengan cabaran masa depan. - Gambar hiasan.


Adakah mereka yang lebih tinggi kelayakan ini boleh memberi impak lebih besar kepada dunia pendidikan negara dengan sumbangan idea lebih jitu serta menggalas tanggungjawab lebih komited.


Atau hanya sekadar tinggi kelayakan, namun kredibiliti masih di takuk lama?

Dekan Pusat Ilmu Pendidikan Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Profesor Datuk Dr Abdul Rashid Mohamed berkata kelayakan dan ganjaran yang lebih tinggi perlu diiringi dengan pencapaian lebih hebat dan berkualiti.

Beliau berkata, biarpun ada segelintir menganggap kelulusan tidak dapat menggambarkan secara tepat kemampuan sebenar, secara logik mereka yang mempunyai ijazah sarjana atau Phd memiliki kelebihan ilmu.


GOLONGAN guru yang memperoleh pendidikan tinggi boleh memberi inspirasi kepada semua pihak
bagi menjayakan matlamat pendidikan negara. - Gambar hiasan.

“Justeru dengan kelebihan ini, pastinya tahap intelektual mereka lebih ke hadapan dengan idea atau cara pembelajaran lebih baik.

“Ini berpadanan dengan kelayakan disandang serta ganjaran diperoleh selain memanfaatkan demi kesejahteraan menyeluruh,” katanya.

Bagaimanapun, perkara itu adalah subjektif kerana terpulang kepada mereka untuk mentafsirkan kelebihan atau kebolehan masing-masing.

“Sebenarnya terpulang pada individu (guru) untuk menunjukkan kebolehan atau kelebihan semasa proses pembelajaran dan pengajaran.

“Namun, pastinya mereka yang mempunyai kelayakan lebih tinggi mempunyai lebih banyak keistimewaan.

“Dalam konteks ini, dua aspek perlu dilihat sama ada melalui kandungan atau pedagogi (kemahiran) guru sendiri ketika melaksanakan tugasan,” katanya.

Beliau yang juga Pengerusi Majlis Dekan Fakulti Pendidikan Institut Pengajian Tinggi Awam berkata kelayakan atas sekeping kertas bukan penentu kejayaan total kemampuan guru.

“Rasionalnya belajar untuk memperoleh sijil, diploma dan ijazah sarjana muda prosesnya tidak akan sama untuk memperoleh ijazah sarjana atau PhD.
“Di situ wujud kelebihan dan perbezaan.

“Bagaimanapun, untuk menjadi guru yang baik bukan saja memerlukan kelayakan, tapi elemen lain seperti pengalaman dan kaedah pembelajaran mantap,” katanya mengakui ganjaran diberikan itu sepatutnya menaikkan semangat guru untuk gigih berusaha.

“Guru adalah golongan istimewa yang jasanya sukar dibalas.

“Dan, kerana keistimewaan itu mereka perlu diletakkan pada satu tahap istimewa untuk lebih dihormati.

“Penghargaan penting bukan saja untuk menghargai jasa mereka, malah mengembalikan kegemilangan golongan itu yang semakin tercalar kebelakangan ini,” katanya.

Mengenai andaian kemungkinan wujud konflik perbezaan darjat antara kedua-dua pihak di sekolah, beliau berkata ia tidak mungkin berlaku.

“Sesiapa saja boleh belajar untuk memperoleh kelayakan dan ganjaran itu. Tiada halangan berbuat demikian.

“Jika rasa kelayakan sedia ada sudah memuaskan hati (tidak perlu menyambung pengajian). Begitu juga sebaliknya.

“Namun, sebagai guru mereka perlu profesional dan tahu meletakkan keperluan mana lebih penting,” katanya.

Guru masa kini juga katanya perlu sentiasa ada keinginan tinggi untuk meningkatkan pencapaian diri.

“Kita bukan semakin bergerak ke belakang tapi ke depan. Apa yang berlaku pada masa depan termasuk dalam sektor pendidikan tidak dapat dijangka.

“Guru sepatutnya tidak boleh selesa dengan keadaan diri. Peluang sudah ada kenapa tidak memanfaatkannya untuk mempertingkatkan taraf diri.

“Jika halangan masa atau kekangan tanggungjawab menjadi penyebab itu bukan alasan yang baik,” katanya.

Berkenaan pelbagai ganjaran diberikan kepada guru, beliau berkata ia perlu dilihat dalam pelbagai konteks berbeza.

“Ada yang melihatnya sebagai satu penghargaan, tapi ada juga sebaliknya.

“Pandangan peribadi saya, untuk menjadi guru perlu ada keinginan dan minat yang tinggi.

“Malangnya tidak semua sanggup menjadi guru, mungkin tiada pekerjaan lain atau sebab peribadi, mereka memilih guru,” katanya.

Malah, dengan nisbah 1:13 iaitu satu guru untuk 13 pelajar, katanya, negara memiliki antara teramai guru di dunia.

“Ini menunjukkan kita boleh melahirkan ramai guru berkualiti, berkelayakan serta mampu menjadi tenaga pengajar terbaik.

“Guru pula perlu melihat cabaran dunia perguruan dengan cara berilmu sebab itu anda dipanggil guru.

“Jangan lagi dibuai tanggapan kerjaya guru ini mudah sebab bergelar guru hari ini hanya untuk mereka yang berminat dan tabah berdepan sepak terajang dunia perguruan,” katanya.

Ruhaiza Rusmin myMetro Bestari 20/01/2014

Terlalu banyak sasaran

Masih banyak isu mengenai tekanan dihadapi guru yang tidak selesai hingga mampu menjejaskan tumpuan dan profesionalisme golongan itu.

Daripada isu semakin kurangnya kuasa guru dalam mengawal disiplin pelajar hingga pengenalan sistem pendidikan baru yang dianggap belum difahami sepenuhnya menyebabkan golongan itu terpaksa berhempas pulas berdepan pelbagai konflik.

Tambahan lagi, dengan bebanan kerja yang semakin tinggi menyebabkan kehidupan guru kian terhimpit.

Malangnya, di tengah-tengah kemelut itu, masih ada pihak menganggap guru hanya mencipta alasan.

Foto

GURU dulu tidak terlalu terbeban dengan tanggungjawab sebagai pendidik kerana fokus utama ialah membangunkan bangsa.


Apatah lagi sebahagian besarnya terdiri daripada golongan guru muda yang dianggap agak manja dan tidak tahan berdepan cabaran berbanding guru lama.


GURU perlu bersedia menerima apa juga pengenalan sistem atau modul baru bagi meningkatkan keupayaan pelajar.

Justeru, siapakah yang harus disalahkan dalam kemelut ini?

Adakah kerana sistem pendidikan negara yang dikatakan sentiasa beralih arah menjadi antara penyebab utama atau guru sekarang kekurangan daya juang dalam arena pendidikan moden?

Pensyarah Kanan Pendidikan Fakulti Pendidikan dan Pembangunan Manusia Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI), Profesor Madya Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Daud berkata, sistem pendidikan negara perlu berada di landasan yang tidak memberi tekanan melampau kepada mana-mana pihak.

Beliau berkata, ini bagi memberi ruang kepada setiap dasar atau aspirasi pendidikan sedia ada ber­kembang dan mampu dilaksanakan mengikut perancangan.

“Sebarang tekanan secara keterlaluan akan menyebab­kan wujudnya sekatan ketika melaksanakan tugasan.

“Ini menyebabkan guru tiada ruang untuk mendedikasikan tanggungjawab dengan sempurna, sekali gus menjejaskan matlamat sasaran.

“Ini bukan satu per­kembangan baik bagi dunia pendidikan negara kerana proses sedia ada sepatutnya berjalan lancar bukan tersekat-sekat,” katanya.

Beliau berkata, tanggapan segelintir pihak yang me­nganggap hanya guru baru saja yang berdepan masalah ini tidak boleh dijadikan ukuran guru lama juga tidak berdepan situasi sama.

“Dalam hal ini, tiada bezanya status guru baru atau lama kerana tekanan tidak memilih aspek tertentu sebagai faktor.

“Cuma situasinya mungkin berbeza, misalnya faktor zaman, pelajar dan pengenalan sistem baru.


SISTEM pendidikan perlu berubah dengan pengenalan teknologi baru.


“Faktor-faktor ini mungkin boleh mendatangkan dilema atau tekanan pada guru yang berada dalam zon selesa,” katanya serta menambah jika guru benar-benar menikmati kerjaya pilihannya, isu tekanan atau dilema tidak mungkin timbul.

“Memang banyak tekanan dihadapi golongan itu sejak akhir-akhir ini seperti perubahan format peperiksaan, corak pembelajaran dan pengajaran.

“Kita tidak boleh me­ngelak kerana ini keperluan dunia pendidikan zaman sekarang.

“Cuma masalahnya jika sebarang perubahan tidak dibuat dengan baik sama ada penyampaian maklumat dan kemudahan, ia mampu memberi impak kepada guru sebagai golongan pelaksana,” katanya.


GURU perlu mempunyai kreativiti dalam mendidik dan tidak bergantung kepada buku semata-mata.

Akibat terjejas dengan tekanan juga bebanan, kebanyakan guru sukar memberi tumpuan terhadap tugas hakiki yang perlu dilaksanakan.

“Saya tidak kata pekerjaan guru tidak perlu ada tekanan sebab normal bagi sesiapapun berdepan de­ngannya (tekanan).

“Yang perlu difahami ialah apakah punca yang me­nyebabkan guru tertekan dan sukar melaksanakan tugasan dengan baik.

“Jika timbul masalah, ia perlu ditangani supaya tidak pula menjejaskan peranca­ngan sedia ada,” katanya.

Beliau juga tidak me­nyangkal perubahan sistem pendidikan serba pantas dengan mekanisme baru salah satu punca utama.

“Sistem pendidikan perlu berubah seperti penggunaan teknologi untuk mengisi data, tapi pastikan ia berada pada tahap selesa untuk memudahkan kerja guru dan tidak mengganggu tugas hakiki sedia ada.

“Kepincangan dalam sistem akan membuatkan mereka sukar menjalankan tanggungjawab selain berlaku pembaziran masa dan tenaga.

“Ramai yang mung­kin me­nganggap kesannya kecil namun dalam tempoh masa panjang, ia boleh menjejaskan produktiviti guru tidak kira sama ada dia berpengalaman atau tidak,” katanya.

Ditanya sama ada sistem digunakan sekarang mempunyai kepincangan kerana terdapat pelbagai rungutan, katanya setiap sistem yang diperkenalkan perlu melalui proses percubaan.

“Contohnya, sistem pendidikan dulu lebih menekankan kepada konsep 3M iaitu Membaca, Menulis dan Membaca.

“Bila sistem sudah mantap, ia ditukar pula pada sistem lain lebih berkeperluan dan relevan dengan tujuan mempertingkatkan lagi sistem sedia ada.

“Sistem tidak salah namun perlu diperbaiki dan dimantapkan dari semasa ke semasa supaya pelaksanaannya berkesan,” katanya.

Bagaimanapun, menurutnya pelaksanaan itu perlu mengambil kira kesediaan golongan pelaksana sama ada bersedia atau tidak.

“Isunya di sini ialah bagaimana membantu golongan pelaksana ini melaksanakan perubahan tanpa memberi tekanan melampau.

“Bagi mengelak wujud­nya konflik, semua pihak perlu saling bertolak ansur dan memahami fungsi keseluruhan sesuatu sistem diperkenalkan,” katanya.

Mengenai pemberian pelbagai insentif, beliau berkata, ia imbalan yang perlu dipulangkan semula kepada pihak berkeperluan.

“Dalam konteks ini pihak itu merangkumi semua, terutama pelajar yang dibentuk melalui sistem pendidikan negara masa kini yang sedang diguna pakai.

“Apa yang penting guru perlu menyediakannya. Sebab itu penting semua pihak bersedia dan boleh menerima apa jua pengenalan sistem atau modul baru,” katanya.

Golongan guru dulu katanya tidak terlalu terbeban dengan tanggungjawab sebagai pendidik kerana fokus utama ialah membangunkan bangsa melalui pendidikan.

“Tapi sekarang ada pelbagai sasaran ditetapkan me­nyebabkan golongan guru masa kini tertekan dan keliru.

“Mereka bukan saja perlu memenuhi sasaran tapi pelbagai aspek lain perlu diambil kira,” katanya.

Ruhaiza Rusmin dan Ihsan Noorzali myMetro Bestari 27/01/2014

Kompeten berdepan dunia sebenar

Ada pihak melemparkan kritikan terhadap kepentingan siswa menyertai kegiatan kokurikulum sebagai membuang masa.

Mereka beranggapan siswa seharusnya lebih memberi penumpuan terhadap akademik berbanding aktif dalam aktiviti itu.

Alasannya, akademik boleh menjamin sekeping ijazah laku di pasaran kerjaya namun kegiatan kokurikulum belum tentu membantu siswa memperoleh pekerjaan.

Walaupun pelbagai usaha dibuat bagi memberi penjelasan terhadap kepentingan kokurikulum sama seperti akademik, sasaran memperbetulkan tanggapan itu belum berjaya sepenuhnya.

Foto

KEKUATAN jati diri siswa boleh dipupuk selain memberi peluang mereka belajar memproses kehendak
persekitaran dalam usaha meraih pengalaman. - Gambar hiasan


Justeru, apakah langkah boleh diambil bagi mengubah persepsi yang masih membelenggu minda pihak terbabit. Adakah benar tujuan pengenalan kokurikulum hanya pembaziran semata-mata?


Ketua Unit Memperkasa dan Penyelidikan Pelajar Bahagian Hal Ehwal Pelajar Universiti Malaya (UM) Profesor Dr Samsinah Hussain berkata, pembabitan siswa dalam aktiviti berbentuk kokurikulum bertujuan memperkukuhkan kemahiran mereka bukan pembaziran masa.


KOKURIKULUM boleh menjadi wadah untuk melahirkan siswa kompeten dan kompetitif dalam
mengharungi cabaran dunia yang cukup kompleks. - Gambar hiasan


Beliau berkata, jika ada menganggap aktiviti itu hanya membuang masa, mereka perlu ‘membuka’ minda dan mengkaji lebih mendalam keperluan siswa masa kini.

“Memang pelik jika ada pihak masih melemparkan tanggapan aktiviti kokurikulum yang disediakan universiti sebagai membuang masa.

“Sepatutnya istilah itu tidak perlu ada kerana kokurikulum diperkenalkan bagi mengisi masa siswa dengan lebih bermanfaat supaya lebih kompeten berdepan dunia sebenar.

“Istilah membuang masa memang tidak kena kerana setiap inci ilmu yang diberi pasti ada manfaat,” katanya.

Beliau menganggap, isu itu tidak perlu diperbesar-besarkan walaupun pihak terbabit menganggap ia tempat siswa ‘bersuka ria’.

“Konsep ‘bersuka ria’ siswa perlu dilihat dalam pelbagai konteks dan bukan menjurus kepada satu situasi semata-mata.

“Adakah menyumbang bakti kepada golongan sasaran menerusi khidmat komuniti boleh dianggap bersuka ria?

“Dari mata kasar mung–kin benar tetapi pengisian yang dilaksanakan sepanjang program tiada langsung peluang untuk bersuka ria,” katanya.

Malah, kegiatan kokurikulum, katanya, banyak memberi kelegaan kepada siswa kerana mereka boleh melepaskan tekanan belajar menerusi pergerakan fizikal, interaksi selain menimba pelbagai bentuk pe–ngalaman baru.

“Mencari ilmu tidak semestinya melalui buku kerana banyak lagi cara boleh dilakukan.

“Kini, ada pelbagai kaedah boleh digunakan dan tidak semestinya menggunakan cara konvensional bagi memperoleh ilmu.

“Setiap pengisian dalam modul kokurikulum juga adalah cabang ilmu. Tidak perlu pertikaian untuk mempersoalkan sama ada ia kegiatan itu bermanfaat atau tidak,” katanya.

Bagaimanapun, beliau tidak menafikan ada pihak termasuk siswa suka mempertikaikan modul kokurikulum dengan menganggapnya membosankan.

“Ada yang melihat modul terutama sesi pengenalan seperti ‘seksaan’ kerana mereka didedahkan dengan aktiviti membosankan termasuk menghadiri kursus dan seminar.

“Pengisian seperti itu bukan satu tekanan tapi hanya asas pengenalan sebelum melangkah ke modul berikutnya.

“Walaupun kegiatan kokurikulum nampak santai, ia mesti dijalankan mengikut sistem ditetapkan. Bukan suka-suka atau main terjah saja,” katanya.

Malah, akuinya universiti sentiasa berhempas pulas memastikan pengisian kegiatan kokurikulum dalam sesuatu modul adalah terkini sesuai dengan permintaan semasa selain tidak membebankan golongan sasaran.

Menurutnya, modul diperkenalkan selari dengan pelbagai aspek termasuk persekitaran, permintaan dan etika yang dirasakan perlu bagi melahirkan siswa berketrampilan.

“Modul-modul ini direka, diolah dan diperkenalkan me–ngikut standard tertentu yang memberi kebaikan kepada mahasiswa, bukan modul ‘syok sendiri’.

“Jadi, jangan lemparkan toh–mahan mengatakan universiti melaksanakan modul pengisian seperti melepaskan batuk di tangga.

“Kami melaksanakan setiap proses pengenalan mengikut piawaian tertentu bagi menjamin kejayaannya dan disesuaikan dengan penambahbaikkan mengikut keperluan terkini,” katanya.


TERDAPAT pelbagai cabang ilmu boleh dipelajari di universiti dan tidak hanya tertumpu
kepada proses pembelajaran berbentuk akademik semata-mata. - Gambar hiasan.


Kegiatan kokurikulum juga adalah antara usaha universiti untuk melahirkan siswa kompetitif masa kini bagi mengurangkan ‘rungutan’ golongan terbabit yang sukar memperoleh pekerjaan selepas tamat pengajian.

“Kita berdepan pelbagai kemelut tidak dijangka dan kehendak dunia yang semakin kompleks serta sukar difahami.

“Bergantung harap kepada ilmu berasaskan buku semata-mata tidak membantu siswa untuk bersaing terutama dalam dunia pekerjaan.

“Sebab itu, kokurikulum dilaksanakan bagi memperkukuh dan mematangkan lagi kemampuan diri siswa. Ini untuk kebaikan mereka,” katanya yang mengakui alangkah ruginya jika golongan terbabit tidak menggunakan peluang diberikan.

Sebahagian besar siswa menganggap hanya melalui pencapaian akademik mereka akan diterima dalam industri.

“Kikis tanggapan itu sebab majikan tidak melihat aspek berkenaan semata-mata tapi banyak perkara lain turut dinilai.

“Kecemerlangan akademik tidak bermakna jika siswa kaku dan beku di depan majikan selain menjalankan perintah seperti robot yang diprogram,” katanya.

Justeru semua pihak termasuk ibu bapa perlu memberi sokongan kepada anak-anak supaya berminat menyertai kegiatan kokurikulum.

“Kokurikulum adalah tempat untuk mempamerkan bakat dan nilai kepimpinan. Jadi biarkan anak-anak belajar menguruskan diri sendiri mengikut persekitaran.

“Jangan keterlaluan menegah atau menghalang kerana ini boleh melemahkan semangat mereka belajar memproses kehendak dunia luar, sekali gus merugikan masa depan,” katanya.

Ruhaiza Rusmin myMetro Bestari 03/02/2014

15 Surprising Uses for Coconut Oil

You know that you can use coconut oil to cook, but did you know about these other surprising uses?

I recently started using a lot more coconut oil both in my cooking and around the house. What changed? I’ve been able to find a few places selling fair trade coconut oil at more affordable prices. Until a few months ago, fair trade coconut oil was just way out of my price range for regular use.

Shopping for Ethical Coconut Oil

I totally get shopping on a budget, but when it comes to coconut oil, buying fair trade or organic is really important. Like with chocolate and with vanilla, coconut production can be associated with unsafe and inhumane labor practices. When you choose fair trade or organic, you’re supporting companies that support their workers.

Related Reading: How ethical are those Valentine’s Day chocolates?

I don’t do a ton of shopping at Trader Joe’s, but they’re actually my first stop for coconut oil. They sell a 16 ounce jar of organic, unrefined coconut oil for $6 to $7. You can also find fair trade or organic coconut oil at Whole Foods or on Amazon. Do a little bit of comparison shopping to find the place with the best price for you.


Refined vs. Unrefined Coconut Oil

If you want to use coconut oil but don’t dig the taste or smell of coconut, refined coconut oil is for you. To refine coconut oil, producers subject it to high heat, which gets rid of the coconut smell. The process can cause trans fats to form, so you need to weigh the health drawbacks against your feelings about the coconut smell. If you’re only planning to use your coconut oil topically, this isn’t an issue, but for cooking it is.

15 Surprising Uses for Coconut Oil

1. Oil Pulling – Coconut oil works well for this oral cleansing method.

2. Lip Balm – Use candelilla wax in place of beeswax for a vegan recipe.

3. Three-in-One Beauty Balm – This recipe is a moisturizer, an eye makeup remover, and an eye cream.

4. Hair Mask – Too much coconut oil can leave your hair greasy, but the right amount gives it a healthy shine.

5. Vegan Creamer – Use coconut oil in place of processed vegan creamer in your coffee.

6. Fight diaper rash – You can rub coconut oil right on your baby’s skin to moisturize and prevent diaper rash.

7. Natural Deodorant – Coconut oil is the vehicle for this deodorant recipe, and it moisturizes your pits while you wear it.

8. Vegan Butter – I’ve been using coconut oil to make my own vegan butter instead of buying processed tub margarine.

9. Moisturizer – This is another use where you don’t need any other ingredients. Just rub a teeny bit of coconut oil into your skin for lasting moisture.

10. Homemade Toothpaste – Coconut oil is the base for this homemade toothpaste recipe

11. Feed it to your dog. – A little bit of coconut oil is safe for your pup and has a ton of health benefits.

12. Feed it to your cat. – Your kitty can benefit from coconut oil, too!

13. Nipple cream – All-natural nipple creams are expensive, and this coconut oil recipe is a great DIY alternative.

14. Cuticle CreamMassage coconut oil onto your cuticles to soften them up for a home manicure.

15. Insect Repellant – This site includes 10 uses for coconut oil, and the bug repellant recipe is number seven on the list.



Becky Striepe Healthy Living Care2 Green living 15 surprising uses for coconut oil 05/02/2014

Gone, But Not Forgotten: Species We’ve Lost in the Last 10 Years

Mankind has the honor of quite possibly being the most destructive force to ever hit Mother Nature. With 150 to 200 species of life ceasing to exist every 24 hours, a mass extinction is looming, and biodiversity is in crisis.

Periods of extinction are nothing new in the planet’s history, but species extinction in the past 10 years is far greater than anything the world has experienced in the past 65 million years. Humankind’s unsustainable production and consumption are without a doubt the major contributing factor. For the first time since the disappearance of the dinosaurs, humans are driving both animal and plant species to extinction faster than new ones can evolve.

Although we can’t honor them all, here’s a glimpse at just some of the beautiful creatures that we’ve lost forever in the last decade:

West African Black Rhinoceros

Officially declared extinct in 2011, the majestic West African Black Rhino was a victim of rampant poaching. Hunted for its horn, which is believed by some in China and Yemen to possess aphrodisiacal qualities, conservationists searched for signs of its last remaining habitat in Cameroon in 2006, but were unable to find any traces. The West African Black Rhino was one of four subspecies of rhinoceros. The other three remaining subspecies are all critically endangered.

Caribbean Monk Seal

Even though nobody has sighted a Caribbean Monk Seal since 1952, it wasn’t until 2008 that this impressive creature was declared extinct. Hunted extensively for its blubber for use in oil lamps and machinery in the 1700s and 1800s, the Caribbean Monk Seal was an unaggressive and curious animal. Early habitat destruction and human hunting was likely to blame for their demise, as these once abundant seals were regarded as ‘competitors’ by fisherman.

Po’ouli / Black-faced Honeycreeper

Native to Hawaii, the Po’ouli or Black-faced Honeycreeper was only discovered in the 1970s at which point they were already on the decline. Efforts were made to get the remaining birds to breed, but attempts were unsuccessful, and the last one of its kind died in 2004. Changes to Hawaii’s ecosystem caused by non-native species, along with habitat loss and disease, are the main reasons why we have lost this unique bird.

Holdridge’s Toad

Endemic to the tropical rainforests of Costa Rica, the Holdridge’s Toad was affirmed to be extinct in 2008. Last spotted in 1986, this fascinating creature’s decline and extinction has been attributed to the amphibious disease chytridiomycosis in collaboration with the effects of climate change.

Baiji Dolphin

With China’s industrialization and heavy use of the river for fishing, transportation and hydroelectricity in recent decades, the population of the Baiji Dolphin drastically declined. As the country developed economically, the Baiji Dolphin came up against more and more threats. In the 1970s and 1980s, half of all Baiji deaths were attributed to entanglement in fishing gear, and in 2006 they were declared ‘functionally’ extinct after a 2000 mile extensive expedition of their range that failed to record a single individual.

Madeiran Large White

Found in the breathtaking valleys of Portugal’s Madeira Islands, the Madeiran Large White butterfly became extinct in 2007. Pollution due to agricultural fertilizers and loss of habitat from new industrial development and construction are the primary causes for the disappearance of this beautiful butterfly. Its closest living relative is the Large White which is very common across Europe, Asia and Africa.

Alaotra Grebe

To this day only one photograph exists of the Alaotra Grebe in the wild, making it a very illusive animal indeed. Residing in Lake Alaotra in an isolated area of Madagascar, this small diving duck was declared extinct by scientists in 2010 after multiple thorough surveys carried out in the preceding decade failed to find any evidence of its existence. Predation by non-native carnivorous fish and habitat destruction are the most likely the cause of its extinction.

How do you feel about saying goodbye to these precious animals forever?


Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 favorite. It was originally published on July 11, 2013. Enjoy!
Abigail Geer The Environment and Wildlife Cause Care2 Gone but not forgotten species we'velost in the last 10 years 03/02/2014

Youth bankruptcy

I RECEIVED a WhatsApp message recently about two youths. One of them graduated from a university with a RM60,000 student loan and the other graduated from a rehabilitation centre with no debt. It got me thinking.

The number of youth who graduate and find themselves unable to pay their bills is increasing. It is worse if they start working in the capital city where the cost of living is high.

Many resort to personal loans to maintain their standard of living. Financial problems start when they can't control their spending. This could lead to bankruptcy.

According to the Malaysian Department of Insolvency, 243,823 cases of bankruptcy were registered between 2005 and June 2012. The main causes were defaulting on hire purchase agreements (26 per cent) followed by personal loans (21 per cent), housing loans (14 per cent), inability to pay credit card debts and other loans, including business loans.

Statistics further reveal that 51 per cent of bankrupts in Malaysia are people below the age of 45. An average of 41 Malaysians are declared bankrupt daily.

To avoid the bankruptcy trap, we must plan our finances; to have a good understanding of short, medium and long term financial goals.

Start with prioritising and visualising your goals, writing them down and thinking about how to achieve them. You could also seek the advice of a financial adviser.

Money is an important resource in today's society. It gives you the power to be independent, to buy your needs and most of your wants. Money is, however, not easy to come by. We need to be careful with how we use it.

The biggest mistake that people make is overspending. Avoid becoming a shopaholic. Many people use shopping and spending as a way to de-stress or to have fun, only to end up in a mass of debt and bills. As a result, you start getting personal loans or borrowing from family and friends.

Don't make spontaneous purchases when you go out. When thinking about buying something, ask yourself whether you actually need it, or if you're going to use it.

Don't buy something just because it is on sale. Think and give yourself time before making a purchase that you are not sure about. This habit will stop you from impulsive buying and overspending.

Always make sure you carry just enough cash for your necessities, and you will be less likely to spend impulsively. Try to avoid going to the mall if you are bored. Instead, spend time watching a movie or reading a book.

Strive to live below your means. This doesn't mean living a deprived life. You can still lead a fulfilling life without overspending. Don't feel like you have to keep up an image or your reputation.

Some people spend too much money when with their friends or colleagues because they're too insecure to admit they cannot afford it. Surround yourself with friends who will support you toward your financial goals.

You also need to plan your purchases or make a budget. Take note of regular bills and payments you need to make. Plan out even small, daily or weekly purchases, and always keep to your budget.

You should know how much money you have to spend. Then try to keep track of how you spend your money. If you know where your money goes, then you will know what causes your overspending.

Keep a diary of what you are buying and expenses you have paid for. It will help make you more aware of what you're spending. Your diary can raise awareness before making an unneeded purchase.

Whenever you get your money, put it all away. It would be ideal if you could save a third of your salary. If you've lived a certain way for a while, and suddenly face financial hardships, it becomes very difficult to cut back.

Your savings that you have built up will help, as we can never be certain of the future. Expenses and earnings can fluctuate throughout our lives as the economy does.

Obtaining a credit card is easy nowadays but we have to bear in mind that excessive use of credit cards is dangerous. If you want to use it make sure you have enough money in the bank to pay off the purchase when the bill comes. Remember that credit card companies charge high interest rates and exorbitant late payment fees.

Many are not aware of the implication of being a bankrupt. People can become bankrupt for as long as 30 to 40 years. Their existing bank accounts are deactivated. They cannot withdraw money or open a new bank account unless they get permission from the Director-General of Insolvency (DGI).

Their assets are frozen and sold off to pay the debtors. They will be unable to get a new loan or travel overseas. They can only use credit of up to RM1,000 on an existing card. As a result their standing in society is then damaged.

Only after five years of bankruptcy can the person apply to the DGI for a discharge under Section 33A of the Banking Act 1967, which is subjected to DGI's discretion.

Wan Norliza Wan Mustapha  New Straits Times Opinion Columnist 04/02/2014

Students need ‘HOT’ skills

SO much has been said about HOT or higher-order thinking. What is HOT and why is it important for our students to be equipped with HOT skills?

An example of HOT is critical, creative and mathematical thinking. These are very useful when individuals encounter unfamiliar or complex problems and uncertainties like predicting outcomes and making decisions.

The Malaysia Education Blueprint states that “Education plays a central role in any country’s pursuits of economic growth and national development. There is no better predictor of a nation’s future than what is currently happening in its classrooms”.

The question here is, are we very clear of what our teachers are supposed to do in the classrooms , that is, to produce the kind of students who can think critically and creatively in the classrooms and in real life situations?

As a keen observer of events related to the development of education in Malaysia, I suggest that teachers should be trained on the pedagogical knowledge of HOT and not just on how to develop HOT questions.

Training teachers to develop HOT questions to be used in the classrooms is no doubt worth an effort.

But this kind of assessment which will activate HOT among learners will be less effective in developing the skills unless they are taught the skills in the classroom.

A revised Bloom Taxonomy would be a suitable reference not only when developing HOT questions but also when making preparation to infuse HOT skills into content instructions.

One of the problems of our teachers, as I see it, is how to align assessment with pedagogy. For example, a students is given a word problem in mathematics which needs a HOT skill, that is, making an analysis of the problem.

Would a teacher expect a student to develop skills of analysis by simply posing such question without initially infusing the skill through proper instructional strategies?

Analysis is just one example of the many HOT skills and is the most important skill lacking among Malaysian students and one main reason why our students performed badly in PISA.

Developing HOT skills among learners through infusion of critical and creative thinking into content instruction would be a very effective way of teaching HOT.

The Education Ministry should make serious efforts to locate the experts in this particular field of pedagogical knowledge and hire them to ensure that the implementation of HOT in the classrooms would result in students who can perform HOT skillfully to solve problems.

Certainly, parents do not wish to see their children being drilled to solve HOT problems. Instead they wish to see their children being able to think critically and creatively when they encounter such problems.

As Socrates said: “The unexamined life is not worth living”.

It is not too late therefore for the Education Ministry to reflect and evaluate the existing model of training for teachers to ensure that billions of taxpayers money is spent wisely in an effort to improve the quality of thinking in our children.

As Profesor David Perkins said: “Learning is a consequent of thinking”.

Skillful thinkers cannot be developed just by giving students HOT questions.

Instead, the teachers should first infuse thinking skills into content instruction before such questions are posed to them.

Zahari Othman (Former researcher/consultant), Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Faculty of Science, University Malaya. The STAR Home News Opinion Letters to the Editors 05/02/2014