IMPLEMENTATION of the new National Education System for the 21st Century began yesterday with the introduction of eight new textbooks and workbooks for the new academic year, during the meeting between officials of the Ministry of Education and bookstore managers.
The new education system, which was first announced November last year, envisions changes in the education structure, school curriculum, as well as vocational and technical education in different phases.
As the full SPN21 will not reach secondary level until 2012, the Minister of Education has approved a plan to implement an interim curriculum starting with Form 1 in January 2008.
Hence students who have just completed their Primary School Assessment (PSR) will have to undergo two years of lower secondary studies, instead of three years.
Hj Abdul Rahman Hj Nawi, Head of Business and Entrepreneurship, at the Unit Curriculum Development Department told The Brunei Times in a telephone interview: "The aim of the new curriculum is to start training students for the 'O' levels straight from Form 1. Therefore the syllabus for lower secondary students will lay more emphasis on GSCE 'O' levels course contents."
Hj Abdul Rahman also said that under the new curriculum Form 2 students will be evaluated by their schools according to the standards set by the ministry.
This is to determine their ability to appear for the fast track 'O' level programme.
Under this programme, students can complete their 'O' level within four years of their secondary education rather than the standard five years.
The new education system will also be implemented for Primary 1 students in 2009, he said, whereby more interesting subjects will be added.
"We will also start some of the changes next year by introducing Information Communication Technology as a subject for Primary 1 students," he said.
He added that the medium of instruction to teach Mathematics will also be changed from Malay to English.
This initiative is also part of the education ministry's strategic plan, dubbed "Quality Education towards Excellence", which aims to provide students with quality books and a better pathway to succeed in accordance with their interest and ability.
Speaking at the 34th Unesco General Conference in Paris, France, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Lela Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdul Rahman Dato Setia Hj Mohamed Taib said that the new system would be broad-based and can provide multi-pathways for the nation's children to further and higher education.
During a dialogue session held in November last year, the minister also stated that in comparison to the existing educational system, the new system will put forward an idea of change in the assessment system and create various pathways and opportunities to strengthen English language acquisition and upgrade performances in Mathematics and Science, while maintaining and enhancing students performances in Malay.
"This will enable all learners to reach their full potential with skills to survive in a highly evolving world," he said.
"Such reform or improvement in the educational system is actively implemented by countries like Singapore and Malaysia."
Also under discussion is the introduction of IGSCE as an alternative to the current GCSE. IGSCE is a high profile qualification, and has exactly the same value in admitting students to institutes of further education and employment as its UK equivalent (GCSE).
The Brunei Times
Sunday, December 9, 2007
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