Friday, November 13, 2009

Changes a must, to move forward

RECENTLY issues were raised through letters in StarEducation regarding long school hours for the sixth form classes. In the transformation of the Form Six programme, only 60 minutes have been added to the previous Sixth Form Time Table.

The Education Ministry has conducted meetings with principals, teachers (sixth form classes), representatives of the National Union Teaching Profession (NUTP), state education officers and the public.

There are no issues for long school hours as it only involves sixty minutes of additional time, which the school principal can fit into the time-table with some adjustments.

The ministry has issued a circular regarding the flexibility in scheduling the time table dated October 16, 2009 (KP (BPSH-SPDK) 201/005/02).

As for extra-curricular activities, all students (including sixth formers) are required to attend these activities, which are conducted every Wednesday or any other day suitable to the clubs or uniformed bodies.

Sixth formers are seen as mature students among other students and teachers. Since Form Six classes are conducted in schools, it is perceived to be part of the secondary school education by teachers and the public.

Its syllabi are of equivalent standard to the pre-university programmes offered in colleges (‘A’ Levels) and matriculation.

In 2008, the Education Ministry made some changes to the organisational structure of the sixth form programme.

To strengthen the competency among sixth form students, the Education Ministry added soft skills as this is considered crucial in preparing them to cope in a working environment or when they further their studies.

The research element has been added and at the end of one-and-a-half years of learning, students will have the experience of producing an academic paper.

This element consists of two parts, which involves doing research (field study) and presentation of their findings.

Students in the lower sixth form will be given guidance on how to pick the topic, carry out literature reviews by making use of resources, how to collect manageable data, how to analyse these data by making use of their knowledge learnt in the General Paper (Pengajian Am), a compulsory subject in Form Six.

As for research, for the first half of Upper Six, students will be supervised by their teachers until the paper is completed, while in the second half, they will present their research.

These exercises are intended to enhance the students’ soft skills in doing work systematically, making informed decisions or opinions made based on facts and data and learning the skills of using resources.

Lastly, the presentation is to enhance their confidence, self-esteem and acceptance of criticism.

The scope of the research is open, and it can be subject-based. The inclusion of these soft skills are beneficial to the students in line with the National Education Philosophy.

At present, the Form Six programme consists of four (4) STPM subjects, Malaysian University English Test (MUET) and extra-curricular activities (see Table 1).

Research/colloquium is an additional element in the new programne. See Table 2.

On service matters, the ministry has placed Form Six teachers who were on DG41 scale to DG44, DG48 and DG52 (sixth form teachers, sixth form senior assistants and school principals) respectively according to their position.

The approval from the Public Service Department (PSD) to the grades given for DG44, DG48 and DG52 academic sixth form teachers involve the following responsibilities as shown in Table 3.

For the scheduling of the timetable for the sixth form class, the school administrator is given the autonomy to plan according to the facilities (classrooms and laboratories) that are available; and number of subjects offered to the Form Six students. The administrator must also comply with the components stated in Table 2 and Table 3, besides considering the students’ welfare.

As mature students, the students must be prepared to adapt to life in universities and colleges. The ministry hopes the public and especially teachers (in the Sixth Form) are open to the slight adjustment when conducting lessons for these future undergraduates.

The education system has to transform if Malaysia is to be at par with the rest of the developed countries.


Director-General of Education


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