Mak­ing Form Six at­trac­tive again

Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry to set up at least one Form 6 col­lege in each state

New Straits Times - - News - RE­PORT BY AINA NASA AND MARDHIAH KHUSAIRI

BY 2020, ev­ery state will have at least one Sixth Form col­lege.

The Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry hopes this mea­sure, along with the mod­u­lar ap­proach to teach­ing and learn­ing, will ar­rest the down­ward trend in Form 6 en­rol­ment.

THE Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry aims to es­tab­lish at least one Form Six col­lege in each state by 2020. This is one of the ini­tia­tives that the min­istry has rolled out to en­cour­age Form Six en­rol­ment, which has dwin­dled from 51,697 can­di­dates in 2012 to 43,235 can­di­dates last year.

School Man­age­ment Di­vi­sion di­rec­tor Amin­udin Adam said lo­cal col­leges had been de­vel­oped ex­clu­sively for the pro­gramme un­der the Form Six Trans­for­ma­tion ini­tia­tive since 2014.

“We have 14 Form Six col­leges in nine states that ap­ply the Mode 1 Pro­gramme ,” he said, adding that the Mode 1 Pro­gramme al­lowed col­leges to have their own premises and ad­min­is­tra­tions, sep­a­rate from main­stream schools. Amin­udin said Mode 2 and 3 Pro­grammes were lo­cated in main­stream schools, dif­fer­ing in the num­ber and lo­ca­tion of classes — 12 or more in sep­a­rate school blocks (Mode 2), or fewer than 12 in the same block (for Mode 3).

Mode 2 and 3 Pro­grammes have been ap­plied in 620 schools.

“The coun­try caters to 634 schools for the Form Six pro­gramme,” he said.

He said Si­jil Tinggi Perseko­la­han Malaysia (STPM) re­sults had also im­proved since the trans­for­ma­tion be­gan, a tes­ta­ment to the suc­cess­ful use of the mod­u­lar ap­proach in the teach­ing and learn­ing process.

“We use the mod­u­lar ap­proach, just like in uni­ver­si­ties, where stu­dents com­plete re­quired course­work and sit the fi­nal ex­am­i­na­tion at the end of each se­mes­ter.

“Th­ese will be ac­cu­mu­lated by se­mes­ter, and make up their STPM re­sults,” he said, adding that the mod­u­lar ap­proach was first put in place by the min­istry in 2012.

In com­par­i­son with the pre­vi­ous sys­tem where stu­dents had to sit only one main ex­am­i­na­tion at the end of their two-year pro­gramme, the mod­u­lar ap­proach made it eas­ier for stu­dents to per­form well and im­prove, he said.

“Stu­dents are more in­ter­ested and per­form bet­ter when it in­volves re­search and projects.

“Apart from gain­ing knowl­edge, they learn sci­en­tific, ma­nip­u­la­tive, in­ves­tiga­tive and presentation skills.

“This ap­proach quashes claims that STPM is a dif­fi­cult exam to ob­tain good marks.”

He said Form Six ed­u­ca­tion should also at­tract stu­dents and par­ents as it was fully sub­sidised by the gov­ern­ment.

“The Form Six pro­gramme is free as it is en­tirely sup­ported by the gov­ern­ment.

“Even the STPM ex­am­i­na­tion is free, except for stu­dents sit­ting re­peat pa­pers.”

Stu­dents choose four or five sub­jects through­out their three­semester pro­gramme, and the ab­sence of any kind of pay­ment al­lows for more vol­un­tary con­tri­bu­tions by par­ents to the school’s par­ent-teacher as­so­ci­a­tion.

This, he said, would make Form Six ed­u­ca­tion more at­trac­tive to poor fam­i­lies.

“We have main­tained Form Six ed­u­ca­tion pri­mar­ily to sup­port low-in­come fam­i­lies, but it also wel­comes those from high- or mid­dle-in­come fam­i­lies.

“In line with the Malaysia Ed­u­ca­tion Blueprint 2013-2025, we want to increase ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion.

“We do not want money to be an ob­sta­cle to ob­tain good ed­u­ca­tion.”

STPM, he added, was recog­nised by Cam­bridge As­sess­ment, al­low­ing cer­tifi­cate hold­ers to be ac­cepted by al­most all in­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing, na­tion­wide or across the world­wide.

“The recog­ni­tion of STPM also means that it can be ac­cepted as a qual­i­fi­ca­tion to join the work­force.

“If STPM grad­u­ates choose to work right after fin­ish­ing Form Six, they can use the cer­tifi­cate to re­quest an STPM-level salary.”

Petaling Jaya Form Six Col­lege prin­ci­pal Ghu­miat Kamdi said Form Six ed­u­ca­tion had many ben­e­fits that many were not aware of.

Other than the fact that it was free, he said, Form Six stu­dents would ben­e­fit from its mod­u­lar aca­demic ap­proach.

“Form Six stu­dents learn based on mod­ules.

“At the end of each se­mes­ter, they sit a ma­jor ex­am­i­na­tion and sub­mit course­work, which will be ac­cu­mu­lated as their STPM per­for­mance.

“This ap­proach helps stu­dents per­form bet­ter (in STPM) be­cause it pre­pares them ear­lier in the pro­gramme and not at the end.

“Stu­dents who are in­clined to­wards aca­demic study will find Form Six a breeze,” he said.

Stu­dents are also given the choice to re­peat the sub­jects they did poorly in the year be­fore, im­prov­ing their per­for­mance in STPM.

Ghu­miat said char­ac­ter de­vel­op­ment would be in­cluded in the pro­gramme.

“Stu­dents will have a plat­form to make de­ci­sions and or­gan­ise their own pro­grammes and other char­ac­ter-build­ing ac­tiv­i­ties through the Form Six Stu­dent

Coun­cil. From this, they can de­velop lead­er­ship and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills to pre­pare them for univer­sity life.

“We make it a point to en­sure every­one has a chance to be a leader, build self-es­teem and de­velop lead­er­ship skills,” he said.

The smaller num­ber of stu­dents in schools, un­like most pre­uni­ver­sity in­sti­tu­tions, he said, would en­sure that in­tro­verted and re­served stu­dents were not cast aside.

Form Six teacher Noor Ashikin Mawardi, who has more than 20 years of ex­pe­ri­ence un­der her belt, said the re­brand­ing of Form Six ed­u­ca­tion by al­low­ing them to have their own col­leges was timely as it would help to increase the num­ber of stu­dents in the pro­gramme.

“The re­brand­ing has sparked an in­ter­est in stu­dents.

“Many have ex­pressed high hopes in the sys­tem that is pro­vid­ing them with the ed­u­ca­tion they need.”

Noor Ashikin said the re­vamped lec­ture sys­tem made it com­bined classes pos­si­ble.

“The small num­ber of stu­dents in classes al­lows them to re­ceive the in­di­vid­ual at­ten­tion they need, if nec­es­sary,” she said.

SMK Pu­ter­i­jaya Form Six as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal Rose­farieda Ab­dul Sa­mat said most Form Six stu­dents did well in their ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion after com­plet­ing STPM.

“STPM stu­dents are ex­posed to more course­work and oral ex­am­i­na­tions, sim­i­lar to the­sis presentation in uni­ver­si­ties.

“Most of our stu­dents choose to fur­ther their stud­ies in en­gi­neer­ing, biotech­nol­ogy, ac­coun­tancy, eco­nomics and law cour­ses,” she added.

SMKA Maa­had Hamidiah Form Six as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal Sha­harud­din Abu Kas­sim echoed the same ob­ser­va­tion, say­ing many for­mer Form Six stu­dents achieved a cu­mu­la­tive grade point av­er­age of 3.50 and above in in­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing.

This, he said, was due to the ex­pe­ri­ence they had gained in Form Six, where they learned skills that were ap­pli­ca­ble in their ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion.

Form Six Mathematics teacher Lee Sai Kim said the re­vamped sys­tem al­lowed stu­dents to learn in a much more in­ter­ac­tive en­vi­ron­ment com­pared with how it was 30 years ago.

PIC BY SUPIAN AH­MAD

Four­teen Form Six col­leges in eight states and Kuala Lumpur have the Mode 1 Pro­gramme.

Ghu­miat Kamdi

Amin­udin Adam

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