By Karen Bong and Lian Cheng
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 19: There is no need to rush the abolishment of streaming in secondary schools for Form Four students by next year as there needs to be an in-depth look into the implications of changing the education policy on students and human capital development as the country heads towards a technology driven era.
Assistant Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapaee agreed there are pros and cons concerning the recently announced proposal by Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik calling for the end of subject streaming after students receive their Form Three Assessment (PT3) results.
“We need to look at the current situation in Malaysia, notably the extremely low workforce in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at only three per cent compared to developed countries like Japan, Singapore, Germany and the United Kingdom at over 30 per cent. We are 10 times less,” he said.
“We have to look into whether non-streaming (to differentiate students into arts and science streams in secondary schools) will have implications on the future of the number of people in this high technological field,” he added.
Dr Annuar highlighted his concerns on the push to abolish streaming in Malaysian secondary schools starting next year during the Sarawak Dialogue on ‘Reimagining Education: Equity Through Equal Opportunity’ at Lan Berambeh Sarawak held at Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition (Mitec) here today.
“I am a bit sceptical because without streaming, will it affect the enrolment into science stream as the rate is already dropping? You can do arts after finishing Form Five but you cannot turn back to do science,” he shared.
“Furthermore, there will be a lot of changes in schools including that of teachers and infrastructure as many schools are still without science labs at the moment. We only have two months left — are we ready or not?,” he asked.
Dr Annuar, who was one of the panelists in the dialogue session, stressed that if the change in policy has negative effects, it will be a disaster for the development of the country and the education system.
“But if it does not affect, then by all means (implement). But there should be no rush in changing the policies of education,” he said.
“What is good should be maintained and from there, enhance the good rather than change something ‘white into black’ which is very bad,” he added.
Recently, Maszlee commented on the absurdity of the stream system that was applied to Form Four students, which led to a mismatch of students who could excel in the field of Science ending up in the Arts stream, and vice versa.
“So next year, Science and Arts student can choose and combine the subjects they like. I am pushing for it,” he was quoted as saying.
Maszlee also explained that big data will be implemented to help guide students in choosing their courses at the higher education level.
Meanwhile, the Sarawak Dialogue session was moderated by former UKEC chairperson Faizal Zuraimi. The dialogue panel included Closing The Gap founder Ida Thien and SK Ulu Lubai, Limbang headmaster Jaul Bunyau. — DayakDaily