Vi­tal for stu­dents to de­velop think­ing skills from a young age, say ed­u­ca­tion­ists

New Straits Times - - News - AINA NASA AND BALQIS LIM KUALA LUMPUR news@nst.com.my

THE Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry should not re­sort to a knee-jerk re­ac­tion in view of the lower num­ber of can­di­dates achiev­ing straight As in last year’s Si­jil Pe­la­jaran Malaysia (SPM).

The im­proved ex­am­i­na­tion sys­tem, with the new Higher-Or­der Think­ing Skills (HOTS) ques­tions, was much needed, said ed­u­ca­tion­ists.

Par­ent Ac­tion Group for Ed­u­ca­tion chair­man Datin Noor Az­imah Ab­dul Rahim told the New Straits Times that the new school-based as­sess­ment sys­tem, which in­cor­po­rated HOTS ques­tions, could not be ex­pected to be an overnight suc­cess.

“It is im­por­tant to keep HOTS. It is needed, es­pe­cially when stu­dents en­ter the job mar­ket.

“In this age, stu­dents have to think at that level as early as pos­si­ble,” she said.

If stu­dents did not im­prove their crit­i­cal think­ing skills in their youth, she said, they might get left be­hind.

“We have to con­front the chal­lenges and per­se­vere.”

Na­tional Union of the Teach­ing Pro­fes­sion pres­i­dent Ka­maroza­man Abd Razak said the cur­rent ed­u­ca­tion re­form with the new HOTS ques­tions should stay.

He said the syl­labus should fo­cus on think­ing skills, un­der­stand­ing of con­cepts, ap­pli­ca­tion of knowl­edge and prob­lem-solv­ing.

“These are the qual­i­ties that stu­dents need when they en­ter uni­ver­sity. We want stu­dents to be more holis­tic, not just book smart or exam-ori­ented.”

He said par­ents must un­der­stand that even if a stu­dent did not get an A for a sub­ject, it did not mean the stu­dent was un­der­achiev­ing.

“The im­ple­men­ta­tion of HOTS al­lows stu­dents to ap­ply their knowl­edge in var­i­ous sit­u­a­tions, re­quir­ing them to crit­i­cally an­a­lyse a sit­u­a­tion and find ways to solve open-ended prob­lems.”

Pe­nang Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment di­rec­tor Shaari Os­man said teach­ers should en­gage their stu­dents dur­ing the teach­ing and learn­ing process to pique their in­ter­ests in dif­fer­ent sub­jects.

“More class­room ac­tiv­i­ties should be in­tro­duced. It is not an im­pos­si­ble feat.

“The depart­ment will work with schools to see how we can pro­duce more holis­tic stu­dents who can think out­side the box.”

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