Kisah Inspirasi

Vocational College: A Catalyst for the Development of Skilled Workers

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Vocational Colleges (KV) was introduced by the Ministry of Education to increase the number of students in technical and vocational fields, and open wider opportunities for the school leavers in the job market. KV o ers vocational education and skills training with 30% academic component and 70% practical component. The vocational stream leads to Malaysian Vocational Certificate (Sijil Vokasional Malaysia, SVM) and Malaysian Vocational Diploma (Diploma Vokasional Malaysia, DVM), while skills training o ers the Malaysian Skills Certificate (Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia, SKM). There is high demand from the industries for semi-skilled and skilled graduates from KV. Some KV graduates have also started their own businesses and become young entrepreneurs after completing their TVET. Four graduates from KV have proven that the technical and vocational education received have benefitted them thus enabling them to contribute towards our nation’s progress.

Mohd Qayyum Bin Mohd Shaimi, a graduate of Kolej Vokasional Muadzam Shah, Pahang, was confereed the DVM in Construction Technology in 2016, and currently is a young entrepreneur in the construction field. Qayyum’s interest in the construction field was nurtured by his father, a building contractor, since he was 13 years old. Not to delay his ambition, this young man started his company, Qsam Trading in his final year at the KV with financial assistance from his family. To date, his company has managed to employ ten workers, and he also employed two of his friends from the same KV to work with him. Currently, he is undergoing an intensive training at Tilista Feruni Tiling Academy to enhance his skills in professional tiling services.

Mohd Qayyum was grateful that he had managed to realise his ambition at a very young age with the knowledge and skills learnt during his four-year study in KV. Qayyum highly recommended TVET and stated, “TVET is good for those who are interested in skills training. In KV, I learned to tie bricks, do tiling and various aspects of the construction techniques. TVET has changed me a lot; from knowing nothing about tools and construction to knowing a lot about the construction world. Without KV and TVET, students will not be able to increase their skills and interest.”

Mohammad Khalilbari bin Mohd. Sunainibari was one of the pioneer graduates from Kolej Vokasional Dato’ Lela Maharaja, Rembau, Negeri Sembilan in the field of agro-industrial ruminat farming. Now, Khalil is managing his own breeding farm. Khalil stated, “I learned a lot of things in KV on animal husbandry. Among the knowledge learned was on the rearing of bu aloes, cows, oxen, goats and deers. What I had learned previously in KV, I have managed to apply them now. The experience during KV is the same with what I am doing now in the world of work. Whatever I have learnt in TVET during my KV years is beneficial in my current work.”

The two following female graduates from Kolej Vokasional Sg Petani 1, Kedah were the best students in the welding field. They had proven that female students could compete with male students and become skilled blue-collar workers in the oil and gas industry by joining the welding technology field. Both passed the Vocational Education Training Academy (VETA) leadership course during their study. The VETA certificate is recognised by the Ministry of Human Resource and the Department of Skills Training and also the industrywide renowned professional certification by Lloyd’s Register, an international professional body.

Nurul Fatin Atikah binti Mohd. Zuljabar had previously worked for Sapura Kencana Berhad and was immediately introduced to the field of TVET after registering at the KV Sg Petani 1, Kedah. Fatin informed, “My father was the main motivator who had encouraged me to enrol in the TVET field. My father taught me that success is not only achieved in the field of academics but also in the skills area. Working in the industry is very challenging as I am among the only five female workers in the welding field.”

Siti Sarah binti Mohd. Samsuri, who was also a graduate of Kolej Vokasional Sg Petani 1, Kedah stated, “KV can guarantee my future. Among the main challenges I faced during my study was having to compete with the boys. What I did was to familiarise myself with the workshop environment and the classes. Sarah’s career in the welding field started when she passed the Lloyd’s register test and was subsequently placed in Sapura Kencana Berhad. Sarah advised students who wanted to enrol in TVET, “When you have free time, go to the workshop and do your own training as we only have time during our study. Use the time that we have wisely.”

A Father’s Commitment Changed the School Landscape

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To see this particular figure of a man walking around SMK Putrajaya Presint 8(1) is not something strange for the students. En. Mohd Zaini bin Mohd Said, a father of two students in the school made the school his second home starting from March 2016 when he was appointed as the committee member of the PIBG, headed by Tuan Hj Roslan Abu Hanif. The PIBG committee often collectively discusses in meetings or via Whatsapp group on ways to help the school improve students’ knowledge and build their character.

The school and the PIBG decided that school and discipline were the two pressing issues which needed immediate attention. Convinced that these two issues were inter-related, En. Zaini and a few fathers took proactive measures to patrol the area around the school after school started each morning to identify students who often skipped school or were involved in discipline problems. After two months of continuous monitoring, truant students were identified and a discussion with the parents was held. Collective e orts were carried out to ensure the students reformed academically, while the school counsellor with consent from their parents, counselled the students to turn over a new leaf. Positive punishments were meted out and these were to assist En Zaini and a few fathers to repair the school toilets, to beautify the school landscape and to do minor maintenance work.

According to En Zaini, “We found that students who were involved in disciplinary problems such as smoking or truancy were those who craved attention. When we involved them in physical activities such as maintenance and landscaping, they were able to apply what they have learnt, and we give our undivided attention. When we provided guidance and spent time with them or prayed together, they were encouraged to make positive contributions to the school. I am thankful that now they voluntarily work with me to carry out some maintenance work in school. Thus, we were able to overcome both problems – maintenance issues and discipline.”

“My experience and work as a contractor allow me to help the school in doing minor maintenance work. I am thankful that I have the time with the PIBG to implement various activities, whether academically or character building, for the sake of our children,” he added.

Pn Nor Hayati Ishak, Senior Assistant (Student Affairs) expressed her gratitude for the unwavering commitment of the PIBG, especially to En Zaini who was willing to help the school at all times.

“Out of 80 teachers in the school, 72 are ladies. So, we appreciate the help of the fathers to instil discipline especially in our boys. En Zaini’s commitment and willingness to come to school at night, sometimes at 2.00 am when required is invaluable to us. He could encourage the surrounding community to monitor the students’ activities outside the school. As a result, we were able to instil the love for the school among students who were previously involved in discipline problems, to the extent that some of these students were willing to help the school while waiting for their SPM results. En Zaini also helped to organise academic improvement programmes with the help of volunteers from institutes of higher learning to support the students who have the potential to pass the exam. This e ort is a testimony of how the cooperation among the school, parents and the community can help ensure a conducive learning atmosphere and make the school as a place for character building.”

“In my 33 years of experience as an educator, I have never met a father who has such a high commitment for a school like En. Zaini. He is the runner, he is the maintenance o cer, he is the disciplinarian, he is the gardener… he is the ‘McGyver’ of the school.”

Datin Norbaya Mansor,
SMK Putrajaya Presint 8(1), Putrajaya

Inclusive Education: Raising Confidence Among Students with Special Needs

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Inclusive education aims to provide equitable education opportunities for students with special education needs (SEN) in the same classroom as their mainstream peers. Interactions between SEN students and mainstream students are beneficial to all as the mainstream students will increase knowledge about the needs of SEN students besides inculcating positives values such as cooperation and helpfulness. SEN students will also be able to build self-confidence and have opportunities to carry out numerous school activities alongside their peers.

SK Changkat Larut, Taiping, Perak and SK Long Jaafar, Kamunting, Perak are in the District of Larut, Matang and Selama in Perak. The two schools were among the five schools chosen to be the pioneer schools for the Holistic Inclusive Education Programme (HIEP), which is a new model for inclusive education. The programme was a collaboration between the Ministry of Education and the University of Science, Malaysia.

SK Changkat Larut has five special education classes with six teachers and four teacher assistants. Most SEN students in the schools are in the learning disability category who had yet to master the 3R (reading, writing and arithmetic). Students from the special education classes were screened to ensure their mastery in basic literacy and numeracy and achieve the appropriate skills level to enable them to join the inclusive education programme and study together with their mainstream friends.

Senior Assistant for Special Education, En. Mohd. Azaini Sham bin Mohd Ali, informed that SK Changkat Larut implemented a comprehensive special education programme. Students’ learning was based on students’ ability. For those who were not academically inclined, they were enrolled in inclusive programmes in sports and co- curricular activities, and uniformed bodies.

Puan Jasmiah binti Abu Bakar, a mainstream teacher informed, “As a mainstream teacher, I help the SEN students individually. We will teach the SEN students together with the mainstream students to ensure they do not feel left out. We treat them the same as their normal friends. Their learning becomes better and they will have more confidence in themselves.”

Senior Assistant for Special Education at SK Long Jaafar, Puan Faridah binti Ghazali informed that SEN students were sensitive children. She firmly stated, “Teachers must be patient and encourage their interest to learn. SEN students are more attracted towards learning methods which use visuals  and games…. The Inclusive Education Programme greatly helped the SEN students conduct themselves and adapt to their friends, and the classrooms.”

A father, Ustaz Affendy, had a son who was enrolled in the inclusive education programme in SK Long Jaafar. His son had dyslexia and following the advice of a specialist, he sent his son to SK Long Jaafar. He informed, “Alhamdulillah, to date, I have met with his English Language teacher and was told that my son has showed improvement.”

Headmaster of SK Long Jaafar, Tn. Hj. Mohd Nasir bin Abu Bakar notified that inclusive education in his school was well received by parents with SEN children. He suggested that parents with SEN children identify their children’s ability as early as possible. Parents need to contact special education schools or schools with inclusive education and see a doctor for confirmation or get support from relevant parties so that the children could be registered at special education schools or schools with a special education programme.

Affini was happy to be in the inclusive education programme as she could interact with many friends and had a teacher who was caring and understand her ability. “My teacher and friends are good to me. My friends help me in my studies and my needs.

The school has provided a toilet specifically for me which makes things easier. My teachers are helpful and always encourage me to study.” Affini’s advice to other SEN students, “Keep up with the good efforts, do not give up and always say your prayers.

Nur Affini binti Muhammad Nasrun
SEN student with physical disability, SK Changkat Larut

Irfan voiced his feelings of being in the inclusive education programme, “I like the school as it is a fun place to be in. I have many friends, the teachers are kind, and the food in the canteen is good. My teacher teaches us to write and read, and it is fun. My friends also teach me to write.” Irfan is also one of the football players for his school.

Muhammad Irfan Hakimi
SEN student with learning disability, SK Long Jaffar

Early identification of SEN children and providing them with the right education programme are essential towards developing their potentials and raising their confidence to become productive citizens. This action can contribute towards the development of a caring and inclusive nation.

Instilling Unity Through Co-Curricular Activities

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Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Bukit Jelutong

SMK Bukit Jelutong is in the Guthrie housing area in Bukit Jelutong, Shah Alam. The school started operations on January 6, 2003. The school is a co-ed school with students from various background and races. With more than 1,000 enrolment, the school encourages unity among the students in all activities organised by the school. All students are given the opportunity to participate in the numerous co-curricular activities within the school.

One of the co-curricular activities which made the school proud in 2016 was the participation and victory achieved by the school team in the STEP Sunburst Brain Camp International Competition which was organised by the National University of Singapore (NUS) in Singapore. The school team comprised four Form 4 students namely, Muhammad Adam Jefri bin Johan, Yew Wan Hu, Mohamad Mukhzuhayr bin Mohd Rashid and Barghavi a/p Visualingam. The teacher/chaperone was Pn. Seow Sek Ling. The team won first place in the Research Paper category and second place in the Research Presentation category.

The preparation for the school team participation in the Sunburst Brain Camp had successfully instilled the unity values and helpfulness among the students of di erent races. Cikgu Seow Sek Ling, the team coach, stressed on the cooperation among the team members and their friends, “the co-curricular activities can really develop students to be dedicated, trustworthy, and enhanced their self-esteem……From this, it clearly shows that through co-curricular we can really inculcate the spirit of unity and the spirit of togetherness among students.”

“The Sunburst Brain Camp was an eye opener. Everyone was open minded, shared information from di erent countries. Everyone was friendly and it was not a problem when we made friends.”

Barghavi a/p Visualingam
SMK Bukit Jelutong

“It took us one month to prepare. First, we started with our research paper. We did a lot of research online and after the four of us combined our work.”

Yew Wan Hui
SMK Bukit Jelutong

“We posted a huge questionnaire session. Everything went well, regardless of our races. For this particular science event, I woud say that passion, hardwork and cooperation helps a lot. If you know your team mates you can be close to them and spend a lot of time. If you don’t have connection with each other, it will be hard to communicate and deliver the information.”

Muhammad Adam Jefri bin Johan
SMK Bukit Jelutong

St. John’s Institution

St. John’s Institution is a public all-boys’ school and one of the oldest schools in Kuala Lumpur. Various co-curricular activities are run with student participations from the lower secondary to the post-secondary levels. One of the co-curricular activities which becomes the school’s pride is the school band, the Naval Cadet Band, which consists of members from Form 1 to Form 5. In 2016, the St John’s Institution marching band continued to make the school proud at the international arena when it became among the top five band in the 2016 World Championship of Marching Showbands. The involvement of students from di erent races and levels of education had established a high level of unity and teamwork among them.

“The secret of success for the band is discipline…..The closeness shown by the students in the band reflected the harmonious surrounding of our school of various races. I am really proud to watch the tolerance and united attitude displayed by the students even though they came from different races and cultures.”

Mohamad Fakrul Abadi bin Abdullah
Music Teacher,
St. John’s Institution

“Initially, my elder brothers taught and help me, teach me discipline and the way to play the instrument. They were firm with me and sometimes I have fun and I enjoy.”

Max Khoo Yan Jie
Band Member,
St. John’s Institution

“Usually, the senior Form 5 students will teach and fasilitate ways to play and read note to the juniors who just entered the band. In the band, teamwork is most important as the band need to sound harmonious and not individual. Teamwork is the most important for the band.”

Amin Haidir bin Abdul Malek
Band Member,
St. John’s Institution

“What is most important to succeed in competition is cooperation between the seniors and the juniors and communication among them.”

Callitus Jeriah Chew
Band Member,
St. John’s Institution

SMK Cheras, Kuala Lumpur

SMK Cheras is a school located in Bandar Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur, which is five kilometres from Kuala Lumpur city centre. The school is within a 14.6 acres of land which enables it to cater to the boys and girls of various ethnicity around Cheras. The student composition of the school varies – 55% are Malay, 35% are Chinese while the rest comprise Indians and other ethnicities. About 50% of students is in the urban poor category. The school has 42 units of cocurricular bodies, which include sports and games, societies and clubs, and uniformed bodies.

Cikgu Jamail Kaur stressed on the importance to enhance unity among students, “We really encourage unity. For example, the seating arrangements in the classroom are mixed among the races and not arrange according to a particular race. Group activities, doing experiments, which is the teaching and learning process advocated unity among the different ethnicities……When students are comfortable with each other, the Malay, Chinese and Indian students, it is common for them to interact, it will be a normal practice in their daily life.”

Gamelan, one of the co-curricular activities, managed to unite students of different ethnicities in SMK Cheras through the training sessions and musical presentations.

“I was interested in Gamelan when I saw my seniors playing it. Even though the Gamelan is the Malay traditional musical instrument, I still want to try and play it.”

Devisha a/p Punithakumar
Gamelan Player, SMK Cheras

“We work together everyday, stay back and go for practice and we always help each other if we really do not understand.”

Wong Li Wen
Gamelan Player, SMK Cheras

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE): Fun Learning at the Fingertips, No Matter Where You Are

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Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is a web-based online learning system which is easy, fun and interesting. Schools in Malaysia are provided with Frog VLE free of charge. Frog VLE is an easy to use learning platform and a gateway for numerous education resources and interesting applications from innumerable websites. VLE is also a platform which enables teachers, students and parents to access information on learning and current education news.

SK Meru 2 is one of the examples of a school which successfully leverages on VLE for students’ learning. SK Meru 2 is in Meru, a small town in the District of Klang, Selangor. This town in now booming due to the development of new townships around it. The school, with 2.3 hectares of land and surrounded by palm oil estates and Malay villages continues to flourish in terms of quality education o ered to the local children through using internet for learning.

VLE-based learning in SK Meru 2 is championed by Cikgu Mohammad Azmi bin Hj. Muda. Cikgu Azmi is motivated to make teaching and learning using VLE fun and easy for students and teachers in the school. Azmi firmly stressed, “VLE is a platform which is safe and not limited to certain groups. In fact, it is a shared platform which can be generated by all education fraternities in Malaysia free of charge. VLE makes learning more fun for the students.” Students became excited with the use of technology as learning was fun and interactive. Teachers too found it beneficial as assessments and the scoring process was automated and e cient. The use of VLE in SK Meru2 managed to strengthen communication and the discussions between teachers and students. Teachers discovered that it was helpful in the sharing of learning materials and providing group assignments. To sustain the integration of technology in learning, Cikgu Azmi implemented various learning activities including online competitions and online quizzes among classes. Due to his dedication and determination in supporting the use of virtual learning, Cikgu Mohammad Azmi was awarded the 1BestariNet Teacher Awards (1BNTA) in Communication in 2016.

“Learning using the computer is something new for me and the best thing is I like to use it as it is one of the new ways which is the 21st century learning using technology.”

Mohamad Akbal bin Hazim
Student, SK Meru 2

“I like VLE as it enables me to be totally involved. Through VLE, I can monitor my children’s development. For example, I can monitor my children’s assignment, exercises and the fun thing is as a parent, I am provided with an ID by the school and I can log in to the VLE and see for myself my children’s learning progress.”

Puan Zuriati binti Zakaria
Student’s Mother, SK Meru 2

SMK St Mary, Kuala Lumpur is an all girls’ school with more than 1,000 students. SMK St Mary, situated in a dense area with many public amenities, started to use VLE since 2013. All teachers use VLE in teaching and learning in the classrooms. The principal, Puan Chee Poh Kiew informed, “All teachers in SMK St Mary are encouraged to build learning sites on the Frog VLE platform, and preferably each learning site or VLE sites are interactive.”

“My experience in using is fun as my students are interested in it. Before this, students only see their teacher in front of the classroom but now they can watch videos. I teach Mathematics, and there are videos to make Mathematics easy and make my teaching more interesting… Students too can play games which stimulate their minds to learn.”

Cikgu Puan Siti Zarina
Mathematics Teacher, SMK St Mary

“When VLE was first introduced, I wasn’t too sure about Frog as I thought it sounded a bit weird. Our teachers give us notes and fun videos to watch but we also get quizzes and exercises and also sometimes games…..With conventional learning, we need books and more reference books to help us but with Frog VLE all you need is a working internet connection.”

Levin Low
Student, SMK St Mary

SJKT Ladang Sungai Sebaling, Bahau, Negeri Sembilan is an under-enrolled school located in Sungai Sebaling Estate. Even though located quite far in the rural area with a handful of students, the school is not deprived from internet connection and virtual learning is highly encouraged.

“I like using VLE as it is interesting and easy. It helps to increase my learning. Frog VLE makes it easy for me to communicate with other students and teachers.”

N. Nitya Sri a/p Murulee
SJKT Ladang Sg. Sebaling

“All my subjects use Frog VLE. I do my homework and find information in the Frog VLE. For example, sending assignments and asking questions to teachers.”

M. Pavithra a/p Muganeswaran
SJKT Ladang Sg. Sebaling

En. Manisekaran a/l Kuppusamy, a teacher in di SJKT Ladang Sg. Sebaling stated that there were many benefits from the use of VLE. “Before we mostly use chalk and talk, but now it is more advanced. Learning using the VLE enables us to show something more realistic… catches students’ interest and students can learn anywhere they want. Teachers can prepare exercises and notes and upload in the VLE… makes teaching and learning easy for teachers.”

En. Manisekaran a/l Kuppusamy
SJKT Ladang Sg. Sebaling