Bandar Seri Begawan - The Minister of Education, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awg Abu Bakar bin Hj Apong, said SPN21 is different from the old education system, which was the Dwi-Bahasa System that emphasised Malay and English Languages. The SPN21 focuses on student-centred learning.
The other difference is SPN21 dropped a lot of examinations. For example, in the past, for primary education, we had Primary Three assessment/examination before sitting for PSR. Now PSR is dropped. In the past, we had PMB (lower-secondary school examination), now it is also dropped, where students directly learn for their 'O' Level from Year 7.
For the general programme, students will learn five years for their 'O' Level. In the past, Form 1-3 were for PMB and Form 4-5 were for 'O' Level.
Another difference is technical and vocational educations have been strengthened and have been brought or incorporated into the mainstream education system.
"We have actually started technical and vocational education in 2009 before our neighbouring country" the minister said.
"Our secondary school system provides multiple pathways to higher education. With the multiple pathways, students can complete their secondary school in four years (express programme), or in five years (general programme), or what we called Special Applied Programme, where the programme is for those less inclined to academic. In addition to language and Mathematics, they can choose subjects such as Design and Technology, Business, Arts and Hospitality
"Therefore, the subjects (for those who are in the Special Applied Programme) will be different, and their syndicate of examination is also different, which is EDEXCEL, where the students have the capability to enter or enrol into technical and vocational institutions. Therefore only after completing their secondary school can they pursue further in the technical and vocational institution, which is different from the past," the minister said.
"Another path is Special Education for special need students," the minister added.
The ministry will continue to reassess SPN21.
In regards to the query on the development of soft skills in schools, the minister explained that it is actually included in the SPN21 as learning skills in the 21st century.
Through LEAP 21st century, we also take into account best practices in other countries in inculcating 21st century skills in our students.
In regards to the query on the development of problem-solving skills to be included in schools, the minister explained that SPN21 also includes this, adding that the problem-solving skills is not actually a new thing. In the past, the problem-solving skills have already been integrated or incorporated in the English Language subject, known as CORP (Critical Thinking), which is closely related to problem-solving skills.
In regards to the query from the LegCo member for the improvement in the Malay Language subject not to be left behind in the SPN21 education system that also emphasises the English Language. The minister said efforts have been implemented by the Ministry of Education.
"However, based on the 'O' Level results in 2012, for the general secondary education, students that were enrolled in the five-year programme, 74.94 per cent achieved Grades A-C (credits) in the Malay Language as compared to English Language where 42.96 per cent achieved Grades A-C (credits).
Therefore, the percentage of students achieving Grades A-C for the Malay Language is higher than that of the English Language, the minister said.
"For the percentage of students that achieved Grades A-E (total passing rate), the Malay Language was 97.5 per cent compared to English Language 81.81 per cent," the minister said.
"If we look into the four-year secondary schooling programme (Express Programme), Malay Language passing rate was 94.65 per cent while English Language was 88.07 per cent. If we based on this results, this can be used as a measurement where the achievement of Malay Language is more prominent than the English Language. We hope to monitor this situation from time to time," the minister added.
The Ministry of Education will monitor the matters concerning those who are bonded to be teachers and will be given a place in teaching under the Ministry of Education.
This was assured by Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awg Abu Bakar during the ongoing LegCo meeting yesterday.
The minister said the ministry will reassess the procedures relating to this.
The minister also addressed an issue a LegCo member raised during the meeting on teacher's long waiting time going from daily pay to permanent monthly pay.
The minister said, "This will take two years. As I have explained, the process is normal, where they respond to advert, apply and there are test and interview."
"Alhamdulillah, the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has consented for the establishment of 'Lembaga Pejawatan' (Recruitment Board or Posting Board) to be organised by the Ministry of Education," the minister said.
"Therefore, we hope that with the establishment of this board in the Ministry of Education, such processes can be speed up," the minister added.
In regards to the suggestion by the LegCo member for the daily paid teacher to be posted for training during school holidays, the minister said as explained in last Thursday's LegCo meeting, one of the Ministry of Education's plans is to set up Brunei Darussalam Teacher Academy, which aims to provide in-service training from time to time to improve skills and capability of teachers.
The minister also took the opportunity to answer another query, where the minister said in term of regulation for school bus, it will be loosen up for those who truly need it.
"If there is a case of less-fortunate family, the case can be submitted to the district education officers," the minister said.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin