December 19th, 2015

Sistem pendidikan terus diperkasa

SEPANJANG tahun 2015, pelbagai penambahbaikan dilakukan membabitkan pendidikan pada peringkat sekolah, antaranya format Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) akan ditambah baik bermula tahun depan daripada lima menjadi enam.

Keputusan menjadi enam berikutan subjek Bahasa Inggeris (BI) dipecahkan kepada dua gred iaitu kertas pemahaman dan penulisan bertujuan memperkasakan subjek itu, serta meningkatkan penguasaannya dalam kalangan murid.

Turut diubah adalah subjek Sains yang dipecahkan kepada dua bahagian iaitu Kertas 1 membabitkan soalan objektif dan Kertas 2 (subjektif), tetapi gred bagi ujian itu masih kekal satu.

PEPERIKSAAN sekolah turut mengalami pelbagai penambahbaikan bagi menaik taraf sistem pendidikan negara. - Foto Ahmad Irham Mohd Noor


Peperiksaan UPSR tahun depan juga akan menyaksikan pengurangan soalan objektif aneka pilihan, sebaliknya bilangan soalan objektif pelbagai bentuk akan ditingkatkan selain ditambah dengan soalan respons terhad iaitu soalan pendek, sejajar dengan usaha membudayakan unsur kemahiran berfikir aras tinggi (KBAT).

Selain itu, penambahbaikan juga membabitkan kertas bagi subjek Bahasa Melayu (BM), BI, Bahasa Cina dan Bahasa Tamil untuk ujian pemahaman, akan mempunyai soalan dalam bentuk subjektif berbanding hanya objektif ketika ini.

Berikutan pengasingan gred kertas BI itu, calon UPSR bagi Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) akan mendapat enam gred berbanding lima sekarang, manakala calon Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (SJK) Cina dan SJK Tamil akan memperoleh lapan gred berbanding tujuh pada masa ini.

Ketika ini, calon UPSR untuk SK diberi lima gred berdasarkan subjek BM yang dipecahkan kepada pemahaman dan penulisan; BI; Matematik dan Sains manakala calon SJK Cina dan SJK Tamil pula diberi tujuh gred berdasarkan subjek BM (pemahaman dan penulisan); BI; Matematik; Sains serta dua lagi masing-masing membabitkan kertas Bahasa Cina dan Tamil (pemahaman dan penulisan).

Sekolah tutup ekoran jerebu Tahun ini, kejadian jerebu yang melanda negara pada Oktober lalu juga turut memberi kesan kepada institusi pendidikan negara apabila lebih 4,700 sekolah di sekitar Negeri Sembilan, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Perak, Pulau Pinang, Kedah, Perlis, Pahang, Sabah dan Sarawak, terpaksa ditutup sementara.

Tahun ini juga, Kementerian Pendidikan membuat keputusan untuk menangguhkan syarat wajib lulus mata pelajaran BI dalam peperiksaan Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), yang sepatutnya berkuat kuasa mulai tahun depan.

Penangguhan itu bertujuan memberi ruang dan peluang kepada guru, murid serta pihak berkaitan membuat persediaan lebih rapi. Selain itu, Peperiksaan Pusat Amali Sains membabitkan mata pelajaran Fizik (Kod 4531), Kimia (Kod 4541), Biologi (Kod 4551) dan Sains Tambahan (Kod 4561) yang sepatutnya dilaksanakan dalam SPM mulai tahun depan juga ditangguhkan kerana kerajaan ingin memastikan kemudahan dan kelengkapan bilik makmal sains sekolah di seluruh negara mencapai piawaian ditetapkan sebelum peperiksaan itu dilaksanakan.

Malaysia juga mencipta sejarah dalam bidang pendidikan apabila berjaya menduduki kerusi Lembaga Eksekutif Pertubuhan Pendidikan, Kebudayaan dan Saintifik Pertubuhan Bangsa Bersatu (UNESCO) bagi penggal 2015-2019 selepas memperoleh undi tertinggi dalam kalangan negara Asia Pasifik. Pemilihan Malaysia yang diumum pada Mesyuarat Pleno Ke-12 Persidangan Agung UNESCO ke-38 yang berlangsung pada 11 November lalu, di Paris.

Malaysia memperoleh 165 undi, diikuti Vietnam (156); Sri Lanka (149), Korea (137); Pakistan (135) dan Iran (128).

Bagi memperkasakan lagi bidang pendidikan, Kementerian Pendidikan menerima peruntukan RM41.3 bilion melalui Bajet 2016 yang dibentangkan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, 23 Oktober lalu sebagai bukti keprihatinan tinggi kerajaan kepada sektor pendidikan.

Bajet itu bersifat menyeluruh dan merangkumi seluruh sektor dalam pendidikan seperti pembangunan, kurikulum, kokurikulum dan Latihan Pendidikan Teknikal dan Vokasional (TVET).

Melalui peruntukan itu juga, Kementerian Pendidikan akan memperkenalkan dua inisiatif bagi mengukuhkan usaha memperkasa penggunaan bahasa Inggeris diperkenalkan, membabitkan kos RM38.5 juta iaitu Program Imersif Tinggi (HIP) dan Program Dwibahasa (DLP).

Pelaksanaan HIP di semua sekolah akan dilakukan secara berperingkat, manakala DLP dilaksanakan secara pilihan.

Harum nama negara HIP adalah usaha berterusan Kementerian Pendidikan bagi meningkatkan penggunaan dan penguasaan bahasa Inggeris dalam komuniti sekolah manakala DLP pula ialah program pengukuhan berbentuk pilihan yang ditawarkan untuk sekolah.

Menerusi DLP, sekolah boleh memilih untuk menawarkan pengajaran dan pembelajaran bagi subjek Sains, Matematik, Teknologi Maklumat dan Komunikasi (TMK) dan Rekabentuk dan Teknologi (RBT) dalam bahasa Inggeris atau bahasa Melayu.

Tahun ini juga menyaksikan empat pelajar sekolah rendah tempatan mengharumkan nama negara pada Pertandingan Reka Cipta Inovatif Pelajar Antarabangsa di Hong Kong, selepas menggondol enam anugerah khas dan satu anugerah emas.

Pelajar Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil (SJKT) Ramakrishna, Georgetown, Pulau Pinang itu mempertaruhkan produk inovasi Noise Reducer, yang dibuat berasaskan sisa buangan pertanian bagi mengurangkan kebingitan bunyi pengisar menggunakan campuran tiga jenis sisa buangan pertanian iaitu sabut kelapa, hampas tebu dan tangkai jagung serta soda.

Difahamkan idea itu tercetus disebabkan bunyi pengisar kegunaan untuk memasak yang agak membingitkan telinga.

Semua pelajar berkenaan mengambil masa kira-kira dua tahun bagi menyiapkan serta memastikan ciptaan itu berfungsi sepenuhnya.

Kelebihan perubatan negara membangun

KUNTA Kinte ada jumpa banyak ibu bapa yang tak berapa seronok bila anak-anak mereka kena hantar ke negara-negara lain untuk buat perubatan.

Mereka berasa tak cukup kelas atau anak mereka tak cukup berjaya bila kerajaan hantar mereka buat perubatan di negara macam Indonesia, India, Pakistan dan Mesir.

Kunta Kinte tak hairan dengan sikap macam itu. Orang kita secara automatik anggap negara-negara membangun sebagai tak ada kelas apatah lagi dalam bidang sains dan teknologi.

Bila ada ibu bapa bagi tahu Kunta Kinte yang anak mereka sedang atau akan buat perubatan, Kunta Kinte akan tanya di mana.

Kalau mereka kata India, Indonesia atau Mesir, Kunta Kinte kata bagus.
Ramai terkejut. Mereka sangka Kunta Kinte sindir.

Tapi reaksi Kunta Kinte itu benar dan ikhlas.

Kalau betul-betul nak belajar perubatan dan nak jadi doktor macam dalam sumpah Hippocrates (Hippocratic oath), Indonesia, India, Mesir dan negara-negara membangun lain adalah lebih baik dari negara-negara maju.

Kunta Kunte kata macam itu pasal di negara-negara membangun ada macam-macam penyakit yang seorang bakal doktor perlu ketahui, pelajari dan ubati.

Ambil contoh paling mudah, penyakit kudis buta. Di negara-negara maju, mereka dah tak tahu apa kudis buta.

Di Malaysia pun dah jarang sangat orang kena kudis buta, kecuali orang asli dan pendatang dari negara-negara miskin.

Tapi di negara macam Indonesia, India dan Pakistan bukan saja kudis buta malah macam-macam penyakit kulit masih ada. Masa Kunta Kinte kecil, itulah penyakit yang paling kerap kita kena sampai berulat dan tinggal parut sebesar syiling lima atau 10 sen.

Kunta Kinte bernasib baik dapat pergi ke banyak negara di dunia kerana tugas. Ada maju dan ada mundur. Beberapa kali Kunta Kinte jatuh sakit dan dirawat oleh doktor mereka.

Hasil kerja mengagumkan

Pada 1971 Kunta Kinte kena sakit gigi di New Zealand. Kunta Kinte jumpa seorang doktor gigi swasta dan dia tampal gigi Kunta Kinte.

Hari ini, 44 tahun kemudian, tampalan itu masih kuat. Mutu kerja pengamal perubatan di negara-negara maju cukup tinggi.

Dalam satu lawatan tugas ke Vietnam pula, Kunta Kinte kena cirit-birit. Menggelupur di dalam bilik dan terpaksa minta hotel memanggil doktor.

Tengok bentuk ubat pun kita tahu ubat fesyen lama. Keesokan hari bila Kunta Kinte jumpa doktor rombongan Kerajaan Malaysia dan tunjuk ubat yang doktor Vietnam bagi, dalam nada jenaka dia kata kuda pun boleh sembuh dengan ubat itu.

Maksudnya ubat itu sangat kuat. Boleh jadi di Vietnam kuman cirit-birit kuat dan perlu ubat yang kuat juga untuk binasakannya.

Kunta Kinte tak ingat di negara mana tapi di Eropah, Kunta Kinte demam dan jumpa doktor. Soalan pertama yang dia tanya, adakah Kunta Kinte dah makan aspirin.

Di negara-negara Eropah, amalannya adalah kalau dua tiga hari demam tapi tak baik lepas makan aspirin, barulah jumpa doktor.

Di sana kalau nak jumpa doktor kena buat temu janji. Tak boleh terpa masuk macam di negara kita.

Usah perkecil kebolehan

Baru-baru ini Kunta Kinte jatuh sakit di sebuah pekan kecil di pedalaman Sabah.

Ada sebuah saja klinik swasta di pekan itu. Kunta Kinte cerita tanda-tanda sakit Kunta Kinte dan dia beri nasihat bagaimana nak kawal kesakitan Kunta Kinte.

Dia beri dua jenis ubat. Alhamdulillah mujarab walaupun bukan daripada jenis yang berjenama. Ubat yang dia bagi kepada Kunta Kinte itu adalah ubat generik.

Kunta Kinte dapat simpulkan yang dia begitu yakin dengan aduan Kunta Kinte sebab di tempat dia amalkan kerjayanya, penduduk sekitar adalah petani yang tentunya alami banyak masalah berkaitan urat saraf, otot dan tulang macam yang Kunta Kinte deritai.

Memang sejak muda lagi Kunta Kinte alami masalah tulang belakang akibat kemalangan jalan raya pada pertengahan 1970-an.

Tiga bulan buat fisioterapi di Hospital Universiti yang sekarang dipanggil Pusat Perubatan Universiti Malaya (PMUM).

Jadi, kita janganlah pandang rendah latihan dan amalan perubatan di negara-negara membangun dan janganlah kita sangka seorang doktor kampung sebagai kurang darjatnya dalam ilmu perubatan berbanding doktor di negara atau tempat yang maju.

Yang lebih utama adalah tekun belajar dan setia jalankan tugas mengubati pesakit macam dalam sumpah Hippocrates. Wallahualam.

Biotechnology, a new way forward , Biotech grads wanted

Biotech grads wanted

REMEMBER a decade or so ago when biotechnology was touted as a discipline that promised big job opportunities for those who took the subject? Many were attracted to that promise and chose to pursue biotechnology, and private and public universities alike fought to get students.

Unfortunately, the eventual number of graduates in biotechnology was more than the industry could absorb. This was quite understandable since the biotechnology industry then was still struggling. As a consequence, the much promised jobs were not there and many biotechnology graduates ended up working for banks selling credit cards!

Biotechnology is again in the news. This time the number of promised jobs mentioned by the Biotech Corporation is around 160,000 but it is still unclear which sector of the industry will offer the jobs.

Recently, there have been announcements about the caviar project in Pahang and the lobster project in Sabah. Many doubt that such projects can lead to the creation of such big job numbers. But the Biotech Corporation is confident they can attract the young to take up biotechnology.

Apparently, the thinking is that Gen Ys and Zs would be interested. Let us hope it will work out this time but what’s more important is the job projection must be right. We do not want to have a repeat of that earlier episode a decade ago. We should not again disappoint the nation’s biotechnology graduates.

To fulfil the new job demand, we should consider going back to those who are already qualified in biotechnology but are still jobless, or even those biotech graduates who have been forced to take up non-biotech jobs. Some among them may still be passionate about pursuing a career in biotechnology. At least that will save a lot of costs training new graduates in biotechnology.

There is no doubt that in the current era of sustainability and growing world preference for renewables, biotechnology is seen as something that will become more and more useful. In many developed economies, the emphasis on this is evident because they see biotechnology as the new way to manufacture products for the world. In fact, the percentage of research funding going into biotech R&D has witnessed much growth.

Investment in biotech R&D is not cheap so we must be clear of the endgame to such spending. Unfortunately, we still do not spell out the endgame clearly. Are we planning to become a leading player in the pharmaceutical sector or do we want to build world competitiveness in the energy business, which uses biotechnology? We need to focus.

We do not want to spread the investment too thinly. Since the existing biotech policy was developed more than 10 years ago, there is a need to revisit and maybe even a review and revision.

We desperately need a long-term master plan to build a truly competitive biotechnology industry. We need to bear in mind that a successful biotechnology industry must have a strong backup of both basic and applied R&D.

While applied R&D should have relevance to the market, basic R&D should be knowledge-driven.

We should therefore create a research ecosystem where much of the applied R&D is funded and driven by industry while the bulk of the basic and fundamental R&D should be government-funded.

For a number of years now, the Government has funded the National Institute of Biotechnology Malaysia (NIBM) under the Science Technology and Innovation Ministry (Mosti). Three separate entities make up NIBM – Genomic Institute, the Pharma Biotech Institute and the AgroBiotech Institute. Since all are government-run, with no industry participation, the institutes should rightly focus on basic R&D.

However, it is important that all are linked to the National Biotech Agenda which should be properly coordinated under the proposed master plan.

The Academy of Sciences Malaysia has enough expertise to lead in the formulation of the proposed master plan. Only in this way can the biotech industry make true progress and interest in the biotech profession will be renewed.

Biotechnology, a new way forward

A DECADE or so ago biotechnology was touted as a discipline which promised big job opportunities for those who took up the subject.

Many were attracted to that promise and chose to pursue biotechnology. Many private and public universities alike fought to get students.

Unfortunately, the eventual number of graduates in biotechnology was more than the biotechnology industry could absorb. This was quite understandable since the biotechnology industry then was still struggling.

As a consequence, the much promised jobs were not there.

And many biotechnology graduates could not get jobs in the field they studied. Many, in fact, worked for banks selling credit cards! Now, biotechnology is again in the news.

This time the number of jobs mentioned by Biotech Corporation is 160,000. It is still unclear which sector of the biotech industry will offer the jobs.

Recently, there have been announcements about a caviar project in Pahang and a lobster project in Sabah. Many doubt that such projects can lead to the creation of such big job numbers.

But the Biotech Corp is confident they can attract the young to take up biotechnology.

Apparently, the thinking is that Gen Ys and Zs would be interested. Let us hope that this will work out this time. But more importantly, the job projection is right.

We do not want to have a repeat of that episode a decade ago. We should not again disappoint the nation’s biotechnology graduates.

An idea worth considering is to go back to those who are already qualified in biotechnology but are still jobless. Or even those biotech graduates who have been forced to take up non-biotech jobs.

Some among them may still be passionate about pursuing a career in biotechnology.

At least that will save a lot of costs training new graduates in biotechnology.

There is no doubt that in the current era of sustainability and the growing world preference for renewables, biotechnology is seen as the tool which will become more and more useful. In many developed economies, the emphasis on biotechnology is evident as they see biotechnology as the new way to produce products for the world.

In fact the percentage of research funding going into biotech research and development has witnessed much growth. Investment in biotech R&D is not cheap.

In order to generate good returns to the country, we must be clear of the endgame to such R&D spending. Unfortunately, we still do not spell out the endgame clearly.

Are we planning to become a leading player in the pharmaceutical sector of biotechnology? Or do we want to build world competitiveness in the energy business which uses biotechnology?

We need to focus. We do not want to spread the investment too thinly. Since the existing biotech policy was developed more than 10 years ago, there is need to revisit it and maybe even review and revise. We desperately need a long-term master plan to build a truly competitive biotechnology industry.

We need to bear in mind that a successful biotechnology industry must have a strong back-up of both basic and applied R&D. While applied R&D should have relevance to market, basic R&D should be knowledge driven.

We should, therefore, create a research ecosystem where much of the applied R&D is industry funded and driven, while the bulk of the basic and fundamental R&D should be government funded.

For a number of years now, the government has funded the National Institute of Biotechnology Malaysia (NIBM) under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. Three separate entities make up NIBM.

These are the Genomic Institute, the Pharma Biotech Institute and the AgroBiotech Institute.

Since all are government run, with no industry participation, the institutes should rightly focus on basic R&D.

However, it is important that all are linked to the National Biotech Agenda which should be properly coordinated under the proposed master plan.

The Academy of Sciences Malaysia has enough expertise to lead in the formulation of the proposed master plan. Only this way can the biotech industry make true progress. And, biotech graduates will no longer be disappointed. Dr Ahmad Ibrahim NST Columnist 18 December 2015 @ 11:00 AM