Thursday, August 15, 2019

Mahathir and his Cabinet should resign

Khat lessons subject to PTA approval, to be referred as 'Jawi lessons'

The government will press on with its plan to introduce khat lessons for Year 4 students in national-type schools, although a reduced lesson plan failed to appease critics.
However, the lessons will be made optional and would only be taught if approved by parent-teacher associations, parents, and pupils.
The Education Ministry (MOE) said this in a statement today, following this morning’s cabinet meeting.
“In the latest discussions, the cabinet has decided to maintain last week’s decision to proceed with the introduction of Jawi script, but it would only be implemented if agreed upon by PTAs, parents, and pupils of national-type schools. National schools will continue as before […]
“The cabinet has also decided that the Jawi script would continue to be used and would be introduced as ‘Jawi script’ instead of ‘khat’, and would only be introduced optionally at a basic level to Year 4 students beginning 2020, Year 5 students beginning 2021, and Year 6 students beginning 2022 at national-type schools.
“The MOE hopes that following the cabinet decision, the issue of introducing Jawi script in national-type schools would no longer be raised inaccurately such that it causes confusion,” it said.
Khat is a Malay word referring to calligraphy in general, whereas Jawi is one of several scripts that had been used to write the Malay language. The Jawi script had been adapted from the Arabic script with some changes made to suit the Malay language.
The government had planned to introduce six pages of Jawi calligraphy lesson in the Year Four Bahasa Malaysia textbook beginning next year.
Following backlash from Chinese and Tamil education groups, however, the cabinet decided to reduce the lessons to three pages and make it an optional subject.
Nevertheless, the compromise failed to appease critics. The United Chinese School Committees Association (Dong Zong) in particular had opposed the move, which it claims uses khat lessons as a medium to spread Islam and forcing it upon non-Muslim students. 
For the record, Education Minister Maszlee Malik had denied allegations that the new lessons are meant to ‘Islamise’ vernacular schools, but to help students recognise Malaysia’s heritage and identity.
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Never trust PTA to do anything for your children.
Parents are chosen base on one's connection or easily influence by Teachers and the school Principal.
Most of the parents chosen are Malay and one will be Non Malay.
The teachers in the association will be represented mostly by Malay and maybe one or two non Malay and they must follow what is instructed by the Principal.
My ex husband was involved with PTA for a total of 8 years and I know how the Principal manoeuvre into getting her way.
In today's school, all Principal are very political minded and racist in their action.  Principal have no respect for parents and concern for students.  Most Principal wants to achieve their KPI only.  Anything further is for the cause of their political party like PAS or UMNO and now Bersatu.
So do not be surprise when 90% of the school's PTA will opt for the teaching of Jawi.
Those in the Cabinet should not clap and pat themselves thinking they got their way with Mahathir on Khat/Jawi.
Mahathir had 22 years of experience in how things work and right now he is laughing at those Cabinet fools.
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A partnership of parents and teachers


PTAs are about getting parents and teachers to cooperate in the best interest of the schools and their students.
FOR many Malaysians, the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) also known by its Malay acronym PIBG (Persatuan Ibu Bapa dan Guru), is a school-based organisation responsible for jogathons, walkathons and various other activities to raise funds.
However, these associations do much more than just generate additional income for schools.
The scope and functions of PTAs are set out in the Education (Parent-Teacher Associations) Regulations 1998, derived from the Education Act 1996.
The principal of every school is obliged to set up the association and all parents, guardians and teachers are considered members.
At the AGM, between five and 15 committee members are voted in. This is done in accordance with the constitution of the respective PTA. Meanwhile, the principal acts as an ex-officio and adviser to the association.
For practical reasons, the positions of treasurer and secretary are usually held by teachers.
As one former headmistress shares, “A teacher from the school is not likely to run off with the funds, and generally it is easier for them to keep records and file the minutes.”
Each PTA is tasked with keeping adequate financial records and preparing a yearly financial report; the account must be annually audited by two non-committee members who are elected by the committee.
Through an AGM consensus, the records may even be audited by a professional auditor.
The regulations also allow for the appointment of not more than two non-PTA members onto the committee by the relevant district education office.
Although PTAs are permitted to introduce curricular and co-curricular activities in schools, there are clauses indicating that they cannot interfere with a school’s administration or use the association as a means to air their dissent over the school’s principal, staff members or even the Education Ministry itself.
The rules also stipulate that a PTA is not allowed to form alliances with political parties, unions, societies or associations, including PTAs from other schools.
Productive partnership
Having attended his first PTA meet in April, Muhammad Ashraf Rahman reckons that the effort was well worth his time.
“My daughter has just started schooling, and I attended the AGM to get a feel of the school and meet her teachers,” he says.
“It was also good to network with other parents who are enthusiastic about supporting the school’s activities.”
He adds that parents should not be quick to blame teachers, and sees the PTA as an ideal avenue for him to share his ideas.
“We all need to play our part in combating social ills among youth, such as school gangsterism; it is not enough to simply sit back and say that teachers should do more.
“By showing up and discussing problems, we may find novel solutions to help our children do better in schools,” he says.
Puvaneswari Lingam agrees with this sentiment, although she admits that she usually only shows up for meetings once a year.
“I don’t have the time to attend meetings other than the AGM, but I stay updated with the other parents via email.
“That way, I can still volunteer my time at school events or functions that we hold for the children,” says the mother of two.
Parent Ling Su Lin says that apart from raising funds and responding to problems, PTAs can also serve to foster a sense of community within schools.
“By organising fun events during festivals or throughout the year, students and parents will start to identify themselves with the school.
“As many schools lack funds to pull off such activities, this is where PTAs can step in,” she says.
Meanwhile, teacher Ros Adibah says that the parental support at her primary school in Kelantan has made her job easier.
“It was hard work at first, convincing parents to take an interest in their children’s education,” she explains.
“Now that the school has managed to build a good rapport with them, it’s easier to talk to them about school issues such as discipline and helping motivate students to do better in their studies.”
Ros stresses that schools should take the time to develop bonds with parents and encourage them to be proactive.
“If you approach them only when you need funds, they will be turned off.
“It’s far more productive to continously engage them by asking for their ideas and opinions,” she says.
Poor attendance
Even so, it is no secret that many PTAs are riddled with poor attendance; most of the teachers interviewed for this article say that turnout is usually less than 30%.
Senior teacher Lee* says that with over 700 students at his primary school, only around 50 parents turned up for the AGM.
“On the first week of school, we can’t seem to get rid of the parents, but after that initial burst of effort they are nowhere to be found.
“We cannot force the parents to take an interest, but when problems arise out of PTA decisions, it is these ‘non-attendees’ who are the first to complain,” he says.
Lee adds that when the numbers are too low, the PTA is obliged to postpone its AGM because the quorum is not met.
“If we have to keep delaying the meeting, it’s hard for us to make decisions and plan out the activities for the year,” he says.
In a bid to attract parents to show up, some schools have even resorted to having lucky draws and holding student prize-giving ceremonies during the scheduled annual general meeting (AGM).
Even so, the allure of winning a toaster or watching their children receive trophies may not be enough.
“It’s not that I don’t care, but every meeting so far coincided with my daughters’ dance or tuition classes,” quips one parent.
Another parent says he is not concerned with PTA activities because “as long as my child is doing well in school and does not get into trouble, there is no reason for me to be involved ... what’s the point?”
A few parents have claimed that if they voiced their views, teachers will then victimise their children.
Secondary school teacher Khairul Ariffin says there is no real basis for these fears.
“As long as disagreements are expressed with civility, I highly doubt teachers will take their anger out on students,” he says.
“Unfortunately, although these claims are not true, the growing mistrust and disdain for teachers means that parents rather not take their chances.”
Legal adviser Eric Leong says that he has stopped attending meetings for more sedate reasons.
“They drag on for too long! With unnecessary speeches by the principal and the PTA chairman, there is barely enough time for actual discussion.
“I would rather meet-up with my son’s form teacher during report card days to find out what’s going on,” he says.
Similarly, Mawar* says that despite being a PTA committee member in a primary school in Kuala Lumpur, she does not find the association relevant to student needs.
“We are still organising jogathons and motivation camps even when students are not receptive to these events,” she says.
“When some of us try to make a suggestion to mend school problems, the headmistress shoots us down by saying that we cannot meddle with the school’s administrative affairs.
“What makes me really annoyed is that most of the committee members are more interested in ‘beautifying’ the school, rather than equipping classrooms with better learning materials.”
Hisham*, who is also a PTA committee member at a secondary school in Kedah, says that schools need to be more receptive to ideas from parents.
“The principal at my son’s school takes all of our suggestions as personal attacks, when we just want the best for our children.
“The mentality of school administration is to reject all ideas that are not in sync with its own.”
Going by secondary school teacher Ainon’s* experience, such frustrations can lead to some ugly situations.
“At the last PTA meeting, there was plenty of swearing and table-thumping — even my students do not behave that way!” she exclaims.
“There has been some friction between parents and the principal, but we should work on trying to solve problems, not create new ones.”
Ainon adds that while she and her colleagues are open to feedback, parents should avoid trying to micro-manage schools.
“The issue is when parents want to exert control over the way we do our jobs - will they like it if we told them how to raise their children?” she says.
Going the extra mile
Despite the various reasons for apathy and frustration, parent Wati* believes that more parents need to make themselves heard.
“A dynamic PTA can make a world of difference to a school’s environment.
“It is the best way for us to ensure that welfare of the students are looked after,” she says.
Relating the tussle between the school administration and its PTA, Wati claims that there is no proper record of how the school manages its donations.
“An example is when we held a fund-raiser for the less advantaged students,” she explains.
“A total of RM12,000 was collected, and the headmistress had informed the PTA committee that about 70 students each received RM20, a packet of rice and other food items. “To this day, we don’t have a detailed report on where the money went.”
Retired headmaster Mohan* thinks that while instances of fraud are rare, mismanagement and skewed priorities are serious problems within PTAs.
“While a donation of RM25 per student may not seem like much, it can accumulate to a substantial sum in a large school.
“Under the previous principal at my former school in Pahang, the PTA had used donations for lavish school dinners and buying door-gifts for parents at their meetings.
“As the school was in dire need of basic classroom facilities, these indulgences were a waste of resources,” he says.
For parent Teoh*, any misgivings between parents and teachers are set aside for the well-being of the school.
“The school’s allocation barely covers its utility bills,” says the PTA committee member of a school in Perak.
“With no budget this year for replacement teachers, to take over those who are on maternity leave, the PTA has to work together to raise funds and remedy the situation.
“At the end of the day, that’s what PTAs are for — to ensure that students receive the education they deserve.

The Star

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