Sunday, October 2, 2011

DPM: Don't sideline the weak

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (second from left), accompanied by Pontian Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Hasni Mohammad (left) and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Ahmad Maslan (second from right), trying his hand at frying kuey teow at a Hari Raya open house at Dataran Majlis Daerah Benut, Johor, yesterday.

PONTIAN: Teachers must not sideline students for the sake of pursuing high academic scores for their schools, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
He said teachers should not prevent academically weak students from sitting for their exams.

"In trying to obtain high scores for their school's education National Key Result Areas (NKRA), teachers must not compromise on the rights of students.

The negative effects of a student being barred from taking an examination is much greater," he said at a meet-the-rakyat session at Masjid Jamek Kampung Sungai Buaya, here yesterday.
Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, was responding to claims made by five Year Six pupils from a school in Baling, Kedah, that they were barred from sitting for their Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) exam on Sept 13.

The boys of Sekolah Kebangsaan Telok Sira said their teachers asked them to sit out the UPSR as they would affect the school's performance in the exam.

Muhyiddin said his ministry was waiting for a report on the allegations from the school and the Baling district education office.

"We will leave it to the district education office to look into the findings based on investigations," he said, adding that they will monitor the situation.

Meanwhile, deputy education minister Datuk Wee Ka Siong said the ministry "has never issued any order to schools asking them to exempt students from taking the exam".

"If there is a medical problem, then, yes. But once they have registered as candidates for the exam, no one can stop them.

"We will find out who really gave the instruction," he told the New Straits Times.

This is the second case after three 12-year-olds were told to do the same in Bintangor, Sarawak.

Wee said that the ministry developed the Literacy and Numeracy (Linus) programme, which screened Year One pupils three times a year -- in March, June and September -- to help pupils with learning disabilities.

The programme identifies those who do not meet the required reading, writing and counting standards and these children would be placed in the Linus programme or into a special education programme.

"This assessment tool is different. Every year, we have 4,000 to 5,000 students who need attention.

"It is about one per cent of the total cohort who cannot cope (with mainstream education).

"So, the parents have to face the reality sometimes, that their children are not ready to go through the normal stream and we have to use special techniques and technology."

The National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) president Hashim Adnan said students with learning disabilities could not follow regular classes despite the teachers having tried hard to teach them.

He said the union did not allow teachers to bar students from sitting for an exam but said teachers, too, faced problems when trying to teach a child with learning disabilities.

He said remedial classes were available upon the request of the principal but only when there were at least two or three students who needed coaching.

"The country has 10,000 schools and definitely we have this problem in every school where there are children who simply cannot read and write and this will become a burden to the school."

He said the alternative assessment, best prepared by the school itself, should also allow them to proceed to Form One.

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