Bandar Seri Begawan - With some members of the public still unclear about the Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) subject in the school curriculum, the Weekend Bulletin talked to the Director of Curriculum Development Department at the Ministry of Education, Awg Hj Abdul Rahman bin Hj Nawi to get a better picture of what has become a core subject since the introduction of the National Education System for the 21st Century (SPN21) in 2009.
However, MIB was introduced as a subject in school way back in 1992.
Awg Hj Abdul Rahman said a committee has been set up to draft a framework highlighting the objectives, learning outcomes, and activities, among other aspects, in order to create the content of the MIB subject.
Stakeholders and teachers also become part of the committee in deciding the MIB curriculum.
For endorsement, it will be presented by the Head of Department and presided by the Minister of Education.
Under SPN21, there are changes that involve curriculum and assessment. We are moving away from the traditional domain to best practices such as on pedagogy where it is more student-centred. Students are engaged in the activities and teachers become the activator for students learning.
Based on research, student-centred learning gives a bigger impact to them. It was also found that the two top high impacts of student-centred learning are self-directed learning and quality feedback from the teachers relating to the strengths and weaknesses of the students, what the school could do to improve and efforts to engage the students' parents.
Student-centred learning is also self-directed learning whereby students are tasked to find their own information from the Internet or library and thereafter to present their findings. It is like moving towards independent learners.
SPN21 also encourages quality feedback such that when the students are presenting their findings, their peers offer their opinions, comments and feedback on the findings. Previously only teachers would present the findings.
On assessment changes, Awg Hj Abdul Rahman said previously it was based on the end of year test or written tests. "But now, we are giving a comprehensive assessment to the student such as in knowledge, practical skills and values. We are now focusing more on thinking skills and creativity," he added.
Meanwhile, the Head of MIB Unit ofthe Curriculum Development Department at the Ministry of Education, Pg Hj Mohamed bin Pg Hj Damit said MIB is taught from primary, through secondary and up to tertiary levels of education.
"MIB has undergone changes since the introduction of SPN21. Previously, it had only four themes: community, culture, nationality and religion, and focussed more on knowledge and less on inculcating moral values," he said. "But since the introduction of SPN21, we are focussing more on moral in education such as inculcating and nurturing decent values to the students.
"How we change it? Well, we change the themes from four to various aspects such as responsibility and attitudes to oneself, to one's family, neighbours, community, religion, nation and to the environment," said Pg Hj Mohamed.
"An example of this can be demonstrated through the decent attitude of collecting rubbish. We should not just leave it to the authorities to collect but to inculcate to oneself and play the role jointly to pick up the rubbish for our healthy environment.
"Furthermore, we are raising awareness to one self (student) in the primary level. In the upper primary, it would be expanded and link its relations to the peers and neighbours. This process takes in developmental stages and spirally," Pg Hj Mohamed added.
"We are engaging them to take part in community activities and with the neighbours and the nation and eventually to contribute to the family, neighbours, community in accordance with their capabilities, and to educate their mentality with knowledge and skills."
Awg Hj Abdul Rahman, meanwhile, said MIB has been uplifted as a core subject from primary to tertiary level of education in SPN21.
And to find out the effectiveness since its introduction three years ago, a major survey will be carried out next year whereby local consultants comprising UBD experts have been appointed to analyse the effectiveness of MIB teaching and learning in primary and secondary schools and to gain feedback on ways to improve it By January next year, they will go to schools to interview and carry out questionnaires, which involves -students, teachers, parents and other stakeholders.
Awg Hj Abdul Rahman also stressed that another change in the MIB curriculum is that it is not 'a one size fits all' but more of a differentiated instruction to suit the student's capability, for instance for Primary One students who have no Kindergarten background and with differentiated development.
The concept and content of MIB are introduced in stages according to the appropriateness of the target class level and age group.
Apart from offering MIB as a subject, the MIB philosophy is also infused across the curriculum in all subjects. Additionally, MIB values are also inculcated as a culture in schools in Brunei.
The teaching of MIB is not solely based on textbooks. Learning also takes place through various activity-based approaches such as role-play: projects, research, discussion and drama related to the MIB context.
As MIB is introduced according to age group and class level, the concept and content are spread throughout the primary, secondary and tertiary levels, with some content consistently covered to reinforce fundamental values. MIB is not just available as a school subject but also across the curriculum, and is also incorporated as part of school culture, like reciting Doa and singing of the national anthem.
"What we hope in this SPN21 for MIB is the active engagement of parents," said Awg Hj Abdul Rahman. "Thus, school leaders play a crucial role to initiate programmes and activities." (To be continued next week with interview with students and teachers on MIB)
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin