Media Statement - Fresh policy strategies needed to remedy skills deficits in school leavers

Media Statement by Penang Institute in Kuala Lumpur on the 28th of October 2016: FRESH POLICY STRATEGIES NEEDED TO REMEDY SKILLS DEFICITS IN SCHOOL LEAVERS

KUALA LUMPUR – Although the government has invested in numerous skills education policies since the 1980s, these policies have failed to address the entrenched patterns that hamper the cultivation of flexible cognitive and interpersonal skills among Malaysian students, says a new study from the Penang Institute.

These policy failures will become increasingly costly as global demand spikes for workers equipped with the complex, non-routine skill sets that complement advanced technologies.  According to the World Bank’s World Development Report 2016, 49 percent of jobs in Malaysia are susceptible to replacement by new technologies, even after accounting for low local wages and time lags in adopting automation.

Over the last several years, the Ministry of Education has introduced a few major policies aiming, among other things, to enhance skills development among Malaysian students. However, these policies—Pentaksiran Berasaskan Sekolah (School-Based Assessment, PBS), Pentaksiran Tingkatan 3 (Form 3 Assessment, PT3), higher-order thinking skills (HOTS) questions in public exams, and i-THINK mind maps—have not succeeded in transforming teaching and learning to facilitate skills cultivation. Moreover, all of these policies have been significantly altered since they were introduced, forcing students and teachers to scramble to keep up with the changes.

The new Penang Institute study found that these policy failures can be traced to three long-standing, counterproductive patterns among Malaysian education stakeholders: an overemphasis on exam results; an excess of paperwork-heavy directives that consume teachers’ time; and pervasive blame and cynicism among education stakeholders, heightened by policy flip-flops.

“With these factors distorting education policy implementation, ‘more of the same’ is not enough,” says study author and Penang Institute Fellow Hwa Yue-Yi. “Instead, we need policy solutions that can cultivate students’ skills despite these adverse conditions, while simultaneously working to replace these adverse patterns with productive interactions among Ministry officials, teachers, students, and other stakeholders.”

In the study, titled “From drills to skills? Cultivating critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration through Malaysian schools”, Hwa proposes a set of fourteen policies for cultivating skills among Malaysian primary and secondary school students.

The detailed proposals—which span student assessment, instructional tools, school organisation, and the teaching profession—fit together as a coherent package, with several compulsory policies supported by a range of opt-in policies. If all fourteen proposed policies were compulsory throughout the school system, they would simply fuel the cynicism, blame games, and fabricated paperwork that constrain skills cultivation in Malaysian schools. Instead, some of the proposed policies should be optional, as they would not successfully cultivate students’ skills unless they are executed by highly motivated school leaders, teachers, and students who have adequate resources and time, and who believe that the work entailed in implementing the change is worth the potential gains.
“I am optimistic about our public education system,” Hwa says. “We have solid infrastructures and tremendous public support for education reform, and we can draw on a wealth of empirical research from scholars around the world.

“However, we also have a national fixation on exam results, a demoralised and overworked teaching corps, and toxic blame games throughout the system. The Ministry of Education must urgently acknowledge and learn from previous policy failures. Our children’s and nation’s futures are at stake.”

The fourteen policy proposals are listed in the table below, along with details on which skills each policy targets, and whether the policies are compulsory or opt-in.

For further details, refer to the working paper, executive summary and presentation slides on the Penang Institute website – www.penanginstitute.org. For any questions, please contact Hwa Yue-Yi – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Kenyataan Media oleh Penang Institute in Kuala Lumpur pada 28 Oktober 2016: PENDEKATAN POLISI BARU DIPERLUKAN UNTUK MENGATASI KEKURANGAN KEMAHIRAN KOGNITIF DAN INSANIAH DALAM KALANGAN LEPASAN SEKOLAH

KUALA LUMPUR - Walaupun kerajaan telah melancarkan pelbagai dasar pendidikan untuk membangunkan kemahiran aras tinggi sejak tahun 1980-an, namum dasar-dasar ini gagal untuk mengatasi beberapa pola negatif yang menghalang pemupukan kemahiran kognitif dan insaniah dalam kalangan pelajar Malaysia, menurut satu kajian baru daripada Penang Institute.

Kegagalan dasar tersebut mendatangkan risiko yang makin besar kerana teknologi yang kian canggih meningkatkan permintaan global terhadap pekerja yang mampu menguasai kemahiran kompleks. Khususnya, Laporan Pembangunan Dunia 2016 yang dikeluarkan oleh Bank Dunia menjangka bahawa 49 peratus daripada pekerjaan di Malaysia mungkin terjejas akibat teknologi baru dan automasi.

Sejak beberapa tahun yang lalu, Kementerian Pendidikan telah melaksanakan beberapa dasar yang bertujuan untuk memupuk kemahiran kompleks dalam kalangan pelajar Malaysia, sama ada secara langsung atau tidak langsung. Walau bagaimanapun, dasar-dasar ini, termasuk Pentaksiran Berasaskan Sekolah (PBS), Pentaksiran Tingkatan 3 (PT3), soalan kemahiran berfikir aras tinggi (KBAT) dalam peperiksaan awam, dan peta minda i-THINK, tidak berjaya mentransformasikan bentuk pengajaran dan pembelajaran bagi memupuk kemahiran kognitif  dan insaniah pelajar.

Kajian baru Penang Institute ini mendapati bahawa kegagalan dasar tersebut berpunca daripada tiga pola negatif yang timbul dalam kalangan pihak berkepentingan dalam sistem pendidikan Malaysia seperti: penekanan yang keterlaluan terhadap keputusan peperiksaan, bebanan tugas dan kerja perkeranian yang melampau bagi para guru, dan sikap sinis serta amalan salah-menyalahi antara semua pihak berkepentingan. Malahan, kelemahan-kelemahan ini makin serius dengan kekerapan perubahan dasar pendidikan yang dilakukan oleh pihak Kerajaan.

“Kekangan-kekangan ini merintangi pelaksanaan setiap dasar pendidikan yang diperkenalkan,” kata Hwa Yue-Yi, penyelidik kajian dan felo Penang Institute. “Oleh sebab itu, kita memerlukan pendekatan polisi yang mampu memupuk kemahiran pelajar dalam keadaan yang terbatas ini, di samping memangkin perubahan dalam pola yang tidak produktif dalam kalangan pegawai-pegawai Kementerian, guru, pelajar, dan pihak berkepentingan yang lain.”

Dalam kajian ini yang bertajuk “Daripada latih tubi kepada kemahiran aras tinggi? Memupuk pemikiran kritis, daya kreatif, komunikasi, dan kerjasama melalui sekolah-sekolah di Malaysia” (“From drills to skills? Cultivating critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration through Malaysian schools”), Hwa mencadangkan empat belas pendekatan polisi untuk memupuk kemahiran pelajar sekolah rendah dan menengah di Malaysia.

Cadangan-cadangan terperinci ini merangkumi penilaian pelajar, alat pengajaran, organisasi sekolah, dan profesion perguruan. Kesemua cadangan ini merupakan satu pakej yang bersepadu, dengan beberapa dasar wajib yang disokong oleh pelbagai dasar pilihan (opt-in). Jika kesemua dasar yang dicadangkan ini diperkenalkan secara wajib, ia hanya akan menyumbang kepada sikap sinis, amalan salah-menyalahi, dan bebanan kerja guru yang kini menghalang pembangunan kemahiran kognitif dan insaniah. Sebaliknya, sesetengah dasar dicadangkan sebagai dasar pilihan kerana dasar-dasar ini hanya akan memupuk kemahiran pelajar dengan jayanya sekiranya dilaksanakan oleh pemimpin sekolah, guru, dan pelajar yang mempunyai motivasi, sumber, dan masa yang mencukupi.

“Saya berasa optimis tentang sistem pendidikan kita,” kata Hwa. “Infrastruktur pendidikan di Malaysia telah kukuh, dan orang awam amat menyokong pembaharuan pendidikan. Di samping itu, terdapat pelbagai penyelidikan empirik daripada cendekiawan di seluruh dunia yang boleh dimanfaatkan dalam perancangan dasar pendidikan.

“Namun demikian, kami juga terlalu menekankan keputusan peperiksaan. Guru-guru kita dibebankan dengan pelbagai tugasan sampingan. Amalan salah-menyalahi menular dalam sistem pendidikan. Kementerian Pendidikan perlu mengakui dan belajar daripada kegagalan dasar sebelumnya, supaya masa depan anak-anak dan negara kita tidak terjejas.”

Cadangan dasar-dasar disenaraikan dalam jadual di bawah, dengan butir tentang kemahiran yang disasarkan dalam setiap dasar, dan sama ada dasar itu yang wajib atau menurut pilihan.

Untuk maklumat lanjut, sila rujuk kertas kerja (Bahasa Inggeris), ringkasan eksekutif (Bahasa Melayu dan Bahasa Inggeris), dan slaid pembentangan di laman web Penang Institute - www.penanginstitute.org. Untuk sebarang pertanyaan, sila hubungi Hwa Yue-Yi - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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