| Azlan Othman |
THE Ministry of Education has put into motion various initiatives as it eyes an 85 per cent pass rate in the Primary School Assessment (PSR) examination which is two weeks away.
In relation to this, Minister of Education Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awg Abu Bakar bin Hj Apong met with leaders of primary school at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) Chancellor Hall yesterday for a sharing session.
With the objective set on achieving the 85 per cent pass rate target, the Ministry of Education places a great deal of focus on the national education system.
Towards strengthening achievement in education, particularly at the PSR level, efforts have been made at the ministerial level and at schools, seeing also the involvement of stakeholders such as parents and guardians.
The minister spoke of the PSR Catalyst School Programme, which has, since its introduction, showed an increase in the learning achievement and in strengthening the percentage of student attendance at school.
One of the approaches include the placement of 85 students (43 males and 42 females) from 15 schools, who required assistance and guidance, at the Maktab Duli Pengiran Muda Al-Muhtadee Billah hostels, allowing them to undergo intensive learning sessions, including religious education (under the supervision of Islamic Education Institute of the Ministry of Religious Affairs) at Maktab Duli ever since August 10, 2014.
To enable such approach, the Ministry of Education has set up an ‘interim primary school’ at the college under the supervision of a temporary headmaster, and assisted by an assistant headmaster and a group of teachers and support staff.
Other approaches include the PSR Catalyst School Programme, which takes on a school transformation approach; disseminating the Compulsory Education Act, Chapter 211 to parents; enhancing school capacity; providing autonomy to catalyst school leaders to implement more flexible curriculum period; maximising existing resources at schools; temporary placement of Year 7 and Year 8 teachers for Maths and Science subjects at catalyst schools; as well as transportation assistance both on land and at sea.
The implementation of a more flexible curriculum period provides an avenue for the total teaching period for Maths at all catalyst schools to be extended from four hours a week to 12 hours on average per week.
The teaching period for the Science subject has also increased. The extension of teaching period enables teachers to pay greater attention to a student’s needs, be it through smaller group teaching sessions or one-on-one. Intervention in accordance with a student’s need could also be implemented more effectively.
The placement of secondary school Year 7 and Year 8 Maths/Science teachers at primary schools has allowed teaching and learning to be carried out in smaller groups and team-teaching style.
Additionally, educators who teach non-core subjects were also engaged in the teaching and learning session so as to help the core subject teachers.
Preliminary findings from the PSR Catalyst School Programme have shown a positive impact with an increase in student achievement at all 15 catalyst schools after one month. It also showed that two schools that had previously recorded a below 60 per cent pass rate in Maths had later achieved an over 90 per cent pass rate.
Joining the 354 headmasters and their assistants in the sharing session yesterday were Permanent Secretary (Core Education) at the Ministry of Education Dr Hj Junaidi bin Hj Abdul Rahman, Deputy Permanent Secretary (Core Education) at the Ministry of Education Dr Hjh Romaizah binti Hj Mohd Salleh, Acting Director-General of Education Datin Dr Hjh Asmah binti Hj Morni, directors and senior officers from the ministry.