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Friday, October 22, 2010

Responses to the Questions

I had received some questions from Bernice’s students from University of Hertfordshire regarding to the school and education in Malaysia. Bernice is one of my lovely, sweet and kind lecturers that I know when I was study a degree with University of Hertfordshire twinning with Kota Bharu teaching Institute before. I am so glad that I have the opportunity to share some information that I have here and my new experience in school with them.

My answer will basically base on the school that I teach now. The school that I teach now has a bit difference from the main stream school in Malaysia. The school is situated in a rural area. The pupils are not Malay pupils but they are 100% native pupils. Schools are quite new to them. These pupils also not use Malay language as the main language. They speak Temiar language and Malay language is their second language. English – of course is something alien to them. So, I do not want you to get confuse about it because my answer will be much on what is happening here.

Here are the questions and answers from me:

Is there a national curriculum?

I believed that it is important for each country to have own national curriculum for primary school so that the curriculum will be secure. Same to us, we have our own national curriculum for primary school. For my school, we use the same curriculum with all the other school in Malaysia. We had been provided with the same syllabus, the same teaching materials, the same buildings and so on.

However, there are some different that our school have. Our pupils needs lots of needs including attention from the teachers, foods, clothes and any other helps that can help them to learn with comfortable and happy. I believed that the most important thing is that the approach of the teaching to them. They live far in the jungle and up the hills. So there are many things that they had left behind.

At what age do the children start school?

The pupils start the school at 7 years old for year 1 just as same as the main stream school. They will finish primary school at 12 years old. So, it will be 6 years for primary school. The special things about the pupils in my school are that some of them skip the years that they come to school. One of my year 1 pupils for example should be in year 2 this year but because she never came to school last year, we need to put her in the year 1 to let her learn a bit and not shocked!

Oh, we also have pre-school in our school. It opens for the children age 5 and 6 years old. Pre-school also having problems with the attendance. Some pupils did not come to pre-school because of the distance of the house and the difficulties for the parents to send their kids down from the hills.

How do young children cope with having to stay in the hostel?

The other special thing that we have here is the hostel for the primary school pupils. There are some reasons that the hostel was build like to make the pupils easier to come to school everyday. Their houses are far away and hostel will help them a lot. Then, they also can learn in proper condition because there are proper electricity in the hostel compared to their home. They also will be provided with healthy foods so that they can grow better.

There are 2 teachers that called as hostel warden that take care of the pupils. The wardens also get help from 4 teachers’ assistant to make the job easier. Pupils will be guided to do their daily routine in the hostel by the teacher’s assistant. They will be like the mother and father for the pupils when they are staying in the hostel. Most of the pupils are very independent only some young children like the year 1 pupils sometimes have difficulties to suit in the hostel life. But time by time, they will feel better.

Does the government influence education?

Government does have influence in the education especially the ministry of education. Sometimes we need to follow the changes made. For example, few years ago, they decided to let the pupils learn mathematics and science in English but recently it had been change into Malay language back.

Does religion affect education?

Majority of the pupils in this school are Muslims. So, Islamic ways of life do affect some activities in the school. For example we always start the school day with reciting prayers and sometimes we celebrate the important days of Islam in the school. If you see the school uniform also, most of the girls will wear hijab to the school.

I hope that my explanations help you a lot. If you have more things to ask, just do it and I will happily answer what I know and experiences. Thank you very much and take care!

p/s: I wish I can just explain it live rather than using writing because I prefer talks than write! haha