Sunday, May 27, 2018

English, let's not go straight to the "Finnish"

I am a Malaysian principal in an international school where English is the medium of instruction.

One would assume that, and I would be the last person to oppose the teaching of Maths and Science in English, especially in our national schools. However, this is exactly what I must advocate.

The teaching of these important subjects in English is an excellent move but, I am a firm believer that, a sustainable evolution is always preferable to a revolution. A sudden shift would result in curriculum misalignment (we teach the wrong thing), talent mismatch (we don’t have the talent to teach in English) and operational inefficiency.

I would suggest a steady shift, resolving one issue at a time with a 3-pronged approach. Firstly, deploy resources to ensure our teachers have a suitable level of proficiency in English. Deploy a performance based pay training project tender where companies are paid only on the success of their programmes. Have all teachers to sit the IELTS independently and then allow companies to train teachers, with payment subjected only to the increase in IELTS score improvements obtained. If we aim for an IELTS score of 7 and above, that should be sufficient. 

Secondly, conduct a curriculum review to translate the national curriculum into English so that the operational language for Science and Math teachers is English. Thirdly, use grants or other incentives to encourage the private sector to develop educational resources like textbooks in English. 

After a year, begin the transition by implementing English as the medium of instruction and examination in Standard one, Form one and three, progressing upwards as the years go by. 

Finally, to really make the use of English relevant, make industry connections by developing a programme where students are able to gain work experience during holidays by “interning” at English medium work environments that have an international outlook on their business.

By approaching the situation steadily, developing solid supporting structures based on solid fundamentals and creating a sense of relevance I am absolutely confident that the shift will be successful. 

Someone once told me, we need to look to the Finnish way of education to guide us. I don’t believe so, we have everything we need right here, right now.

So, let’s just do this for Malaysia!!!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Made in Malaysia but....

"My parents could not afford to send me to college, much less the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), but this great American educational institution took a chance on me, by giving me a scholarship to pursue the American dream," said Tan Hock Eng.

Who is Tan Hock Eng?.  Penang born, Hock Eng, is currently the highest-paid Chief Executive Officer in America, according to The Wall Street Journal.

 Tan, who heads Broadcom, an international supplier of semiconductor technologies,  made a US$103.2 million (RM406.9 million) last year – that is about 2,039 times more than the average US worker!.
Malaysia spends about RM60 billion a year on education. 

 Sadly, much of that budget invested into growing our young minds is lost to the brain drain. Today’s world is characterised by international mobility and our brightest will not pursue their dreams in a country where opportunities are not given to the most able, but by race or relationship.

The pursuit of good education must be colour blind. The Government of the day, should implement a system where the brightest minds, are given the opportunity to develop themselves to their fullest potential.

Simultaneously, implement a quota system, which is not based on race but rather  on the disposable income of a family to enable social mobility by allowing them to pursue a higher education in local or in universities abroad.

Let’s just not be made in Malaysia, let’s show the world, that once we get our act together, there is no stopping the Malaysian Dream

Thursday, May 10, 2018

A Fairview For Malaysia

49 Years ago, this nation was soaked with bloodshed and hatred. A young Lim Kit Siang, was almost everything, that defined an angry Chinese men. A young Dr Mahathir Mohammed, was everything that defined an angry Malay youth.

Fast forward, 49 years, and we have an aging Lim Kit Siang and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammed, standing together,  saying let's do this for Malaysia.
We can never erase what happened on May 13, 1969. But on the night of May 9 2018, we  buried these ghosts. Yes, we are an educated nation, and have always been one. But today we are a united nation.

This is not a DAP victory, a PH victory or even a BN defeat. This is a victory for Malaysia, secured by Malaysians. We can now dare to dream, as a nation.

 In Mahathir Mohammed, we have a 92 year old who has been called a racist, a dictator, a pharaoh. Whatever he was, is a matter for history to decide and debate.

Because, today, just days short of May 13, Mahathir Mohammed is the undisputed father of a new Malaysia.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018


Come May 9, Malaysians who are eligible to vote, will be casting their constitutional rights. As an educationist, what fascinates me about the whole election process is the aspect of equality. 

In  my school, we have a policy, where no child is left behind. I can see the same spirit in the spirit of the election itself.
No man is above the other. All are equal in terms of the law. You can be a billionaire or a pauper. You may contribute millions to the political party of your choice or you may have contributed nothing at all. All things, being equal. We all have only one vote.

So make your vote count. Vote in peace. Vote for the dark blue, light blue or the green. It is your choice to make. Our collective choice is to ensure that the voting is done in peace, and the will of the majority is respected.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Wonder Years

DICIPLINE is a word, which evokes a range of emotions.  Many people assume, discipline means to punish, an act which means we're going to go and hurt someone when they misbehave. 

Most people associate the word discipline, with either corporal punishment or harsh words inflicted on a child. Discipline for me though, is what schools and teachers should and must be doing at all times.

Discipline is a way to positively guide behaviour.  If you look up the ‘etymology’ of the word, where it came from, it comes from the word 'disciple', which means to teach, or to guide, or to instruct.
Children growing up in their “wonder years”, those in the pre-teen years, are the ones require the most guidance as they are at the most impressionable stage in their life.

So how do you discipline your child without hitting them? For starters, one should raise their children with kindness and empathy, considering what they are going through, rather than focusing on performance and outcomes.

Secondly, consider the concept of restorative discipline where the traditional destructive focus on fear, exclusion and control is shifted to a positive culture of belonging, connectedness and the wilingness to change because people matter to each other.

So the next time your child makes a mistake, instead of punishment and sanctions, consider the questions “what is my child going through?”, ”How can this be a learning opportunity?” and “How can my child regain his dignity in his community?”.

A happy child with proper guidance will help make their  wonder years” a memorable and disciplined one.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Bon Voyage

For most teenage students, going abroad to study is the ultimate experience. Finally, free from the watching eyes of their parents. I can resonate with that feeling as I too had studied abroad, in Manchester.

With the freedom, though comes responsibility, and with that maturity. Malaysians, naturally take many different paths to reach their university destination abroad.

Some of them do it via the NCUK international foundation year, which is the speediest foundation year in the market place. The NCUK is a six months, foundation year programme, which gurantees students a place in one of  the 12 member of universities in the United Kingdom.

Those using, this path, can also make their way to universities in Ireland, New Zealand and Australia.  Most students, prefer the NCUK, because it offers them a guaranteed access to some 12 universities in the UK, once, they pass their foundation course.

The safety net factor has seen more than 4,000 Malaysians rush into this foundation course.
Then, we have the international baccalaureate diploma programme (IBDP), often described as a challenging programme.

 I have some experience, running the IBDP at Fairview International School. I can tell you, that this programme   is for those who are looking to go to the top universities in the world, for those who are willing to challenge themselves to be all they can be.

The IBDP is indeed the “A team” of all foundation year programmes, as it develops the same knowledge depth as the toughest or pre-university programmes and couples this with advanced university level skills that are all put together in the examinations. 

To put it plainly, this is not a programme, in which you can memorise yourself to success.  This programme has spunk!!.

The IBDP, though is not the only route to a university abroad. They are thousands of twinning programmes in Malaysia, which could also help you, to someday study abroad in a foreign university. Each pathway, have their plus and minus points. At the end of the day, you have to settle for what fits you, only then saying bon voyage, will be worth the time and effort spend.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

8 mile

Is a 2002 American  hip hop drama film, which won  Eminem an academy award. The film is based loosely on Eminem's actual upbringing, and follows white rapper B-Rabbit (Eminem) and his attempt to launch a career in a genre dominated by African-Americans. 

Odd as it, may seem, I found myself in the same situation as Eminem on August 2009, when I joined Fairview International School. Here, I was in an international school, which was and still is facing the same set of prejudices, faced by the rapper B-Rabbit.

How do we break stereotypes? International Schools been dominated by owners from Western Europe and the United States. The teachers meanwhile were often always native English speakers, with Asians slid in between, for the schools to have an international outlook.

 Today, the prejudice still continues; even though, the test scores show that, students at Fairview, outperform the global averages. Take for example, our international baccalaureate diploma average score of 35.5 points, equivalent to four A*s in the A levels.
Yes, it’s a good school, and having watched 8 mile several times, I have come to realise, there is nothing wrong in being white, yellow, brown, black or even green. Each face their own demons. 

At Fairview, everyday, I know, that I am in a race   to breakdown these walls, to ensure that everyone regardless of race will access a quality of education that doesn’t prioritise to the current political, national or social agendas present in our world today. Perhaps my tenth mile is to provide an educational opportunity that is accessible to all, that is blind to colour.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

What is the In-Crowd Don’t Convey to You will Approximately Should the Education Suspend Students right from Having Smartphones in order to Class

You should cooking scholars ahead of wondering individuals to utilize smartphones to be certain everybody has an important in a position unit, he / she states. Because it helps should certainly become financing, trainees must manage little only a 2.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Typically the The right way to Produce Chicago Design Works Gameplay

In the event that coming up with some sort of essay looks like an overwhelming practical experience, after that discovering the way in which to destroy accomplishing this on to several clear steps is going to supply you with the particular confidence you will want to earn a useful, the best quality section of work. In particular, that small sample five sentences try could possibly terminate with this manner”assessment bad practice isn’t a thing anyone should really involve with specifically this valuable human being wishes to often be amazing and then well known subsequently on.

The Sacrificed Hidden knowledge regarding Easy methods to Be able to write MLA Works

In case you have printed your own seek, you will likely be rude to any individual what individuals perceives different. Consequently, you may have last of all seated due to write your composition which usually is most probably anticipated especially soon. Can include the class term not to mention number that may is all about this essay. Eventually, this kind of utilizing this process, it’s always challenging effectively attend to one of a kind varieties of overall costs essays. Financial aspects analysis works are often looked on the hardest diagnosis elements of this IB Overall costs program.