Minister calls for 21st Century classroom

Azlan Othman

Innovation in education has emerged as an important topic in preparing students for the Industrial Revolution 4.0 and Society 5.0. As such, differences in learning, personalisation, interpersonal skills and educational technology are crucial in transforming students into innovators, creators and lifelong learners.

This was said by Minister of Education Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman during the virtual Teacher’s Day Conference yesterday.

The minister added that it is “equally important to make visible where and how innovation is happening in the classroom” while emphasising on the role of the teachers as key designers of classroom environment.

Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah believes that there is a need “to shift from teacher-dominated classroom environment” where there is a perception of “teaching is talking and learning is listening” to a 21st Century classroom which “focusses on the students’ level of understanding or mastery”.

“The key message is that there is a paramount need to deliver applied and inquiry-based learning in the classroom,” he said. “Thus, it demands our teachers to be more creative and innovative in their teaching and learning delivery to our students.”

The Ministry of Education (MoE), he said, is committed to “supporting teachers’ professional development to deliver pedagogy capable of meeting the demands of the Industrial Revolution 4.0, particularly the development of students’ 6Cs – critical thinking, collaboration, communication, creativity, citizenship and connectivity” as well as “the ability to remember, understand, apply, analyse, evaluate and create knowledge within and across subject domains”.

Minister of Education Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman delivers a speech at the Teacher’s Day Conference yesterday. PHOTOS: AZLAN OTHMAN
Senior officials from the Ministry of Education during the virtual event

“There is no doubt that inculcating creativity and innovation in our education system will be a complex task,” he said. “However, given the quality of our teaching workforce, school leaders and leadership across all levels of the education system, we can work together in developing the pedagogical authority to our teachers while providing them with clear guidelines and support.”

The minister noted that education around the world is facing disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“More than 1.57 billion students, or 90 per cent of the world’s student population, as reported by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), have been affected by the temporary closure of schools and universities,” he said. “This forced education institutions around the world – almost overnight – to switch to remote learning platforms and other alternative teaching and learning methods.”

The crisis prompted the MoE to swiftly respond by “deploying measures to facilitate continuity in learning through online platforms, home-learning television programmes and social media as well as home-pack learning for students with no access to Internet connectivity or computers”.

He added, “This stimulated innovation within our education sector requires teachers to be dynamic, resilient, adaptable, innovative and creative, as shown during the time of COVID-19.”

The minister said the impact of the pandemic is likely to leave a lasting footprint.

“It has accelerated our on-going efforts to reinvent our ways of doing business,” he said.

“Hence, we must seize this opportunity to strengthen, accelerate and increase our capacity in the areas of innovation and technology by continuing to develop high-quality teaching and learning resources and make them accessible to teachers and students; continuing with the training of teachers and students on how to organise and use remote learning platforms and tools; and reinforcing our support to students who do not have access to technology.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Education Datin Seri Paduka Dr Hajah Romaizah binti Haji Mohd Salleh also participated in the virtual conference yesterday, which saw discussions, such as the effects of IT and communications and their impacts on the Industrial Revolution 4.0 and teaching and learning in the 21st Century.

Thirty-six working papers and 15 e-posters have also been put up on the official website

Over 1,600 teachers attended the conference that featured a keynote paper presented by Andria Zafirakou from the United Kingdom (UK), the winner of Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Award 2018.

She touched on the need of innovative teaching to transform the landscape of education and the call to redesign curriculum, pedagogy and assessment in the sector.

Other speakers at the conference included Dr Marie Ye from the Southeast Asia Ministers of Education Organization Regional Language Centre (SEAMEO RELC) and Dr Sherlyne A Almonte-Acosta from the Southeast Asia Ministers of Education Organization Regional Centre for Educational Innovation and Technology (SEAMEO INNOTECH).