Sarawak to set up ‘21st century classrooms’ next year

By Geryl Ogilvy

KUCHING, Oct 24: The state government is setting up ‘21st century classrooms’, modelled after the school environment in Finland, to promote innovative teaching and learning using digital technology.

Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong said a model classroom would be set up in all 12 divisions across the state, with Batu Lintang Teachers Training Institute (IPG) selected for Kuching.

The model classrooms, targeted to begin operations next year, will be placed at a school or educational institute depending on its accessibility to others. It will be open for other schools to learn from and experience, so the concept could be adopted in their respective institutions.

“If we want the students to be creative, encourage innovation in their learning process, we cannot use the present classroom set up. The ideal classroom for the 21st century is that boys and girls will be grouped in four to six clusters.

“The 21st century classroom encourages creativity, critical thinking and is not subjected to conventional learning, where students only receive input from the teachers. There will be more interactions, allowing room for students to communicate.

“In this advanced classroom model, the teacher’s role is more of a facilitator,” he told reporters after opening the inaugural International Conference on Education Transformation (i-CET 2018) here today.

Manyin has led a delegation from his ministry to visit Finland and Beijing in China to learn the classroom set up and learning processes there.

Manyin speaking to reporters after the opening of I-CET 2018 at a leading hotel here,

The state education ministry is working on a budget for the project, which will include desks, furniture, computers and other amenities.

“As the state leap-frogs its economic transformation to Industrial Revolution 4.0, there is a need to provide a learning environment that prepares students for the future job market.

“Teachers need to start thinking of how to educate students of today so that they can come out and be prepared for the future job market and meet industrial demands in the next five to 10 years,” Manyin said.

He cited how Finland, through its 21st century classrooms, had successfully transformed the country from being an industrial-agrarian society into an innovation-based knowledge economy.

Singapore, Manyin added, had an education policy in place that required teachers to teach less in order to allow room for students to learn more.

Conventional teaching and learning methods must be changed for the state to meet future demands of the Industrial 4.0 environment. Schools in Sarawak must discover ways to promote creative and innovative thinking.

SMK Agama Sibu students Fatin Filzatunnafsi Mohd Hamsani (left) and Nurul Amirah Abdul Rahim setting up their diorama, depicting steps and the process to perform the umrah or haj in Mecca.

The two-day conference that ends tomorrow (Oct 25) features over 70 research papers from teachers, lecturers and several invited academicians from around the globe.

i-CET 2018 aims to facilitate the exchange of ideas, input and learning of the latest teaching methods as well as to promote embracing digital technology in the teaching and learning environment.

An exhibition on innovative projects by schools and learning institutes is also being held during the conference. — DayakDaily