I heard a briefing on the new education system, the SPN 21 this morning. SPN 21 is an acronym for Sistem Pendidikan Negara Abad ke-21 or the 21st Century National Education System. It was launched yesterday by the Honorable Minister of Education. The system is now being implemented in stages. It will come into full force by 2011.
From what I understand, the system will be much better from the current one.
- As from this year, secondary classes is now known as Year instead of Form, so Form 1 is Year 7;
- PMB, the Penilaian Menengah Bawah – the public exam for Form 3 will be scrapped as from 2011;
- At the end of Year 8, students who achieved an overall result (academic and extra-curricular activities and projects) of 70% and above will have an option to do their ‘O’-level in four instead of five years;
- Gifted students have the chance to be sent to Singapore to go to specialized schools there to do their ‘O’-levels. Brunei has only the Sports School as a specialized school but still, its students have to take public exams. This will change with SPN 21;
- Those who pass with 5As in their PSR will enter the prestigious Science College;
- After Year 10 or 11, students can go to a specialized stream such as Art & Design, Nursing or Vocational;
- Students will be encouraged to develop their creativity and interest;
- Reading will be emphasized as from Year 1. A study requested by the Ministry of Education on pupils in the country with difficulties in reading was carried out and the result was quite alarming. I didn’t catch the figure as the briefing was fast but I gathered that about 40% of those studied were ranked 5 and below. 10 is the highest and 1 the lowest. According to the SPN 21 presenter, in last year’s PSR (Primary Six Evaluation examination) there were pupils who failed all subjects because they could not read very well; and
- (I think this is the best) There will be no repeaters, subject to the students achieving an 80% and above for their school attendance.
Newspapers today reported mixed feelings among teachers on the SPN 21. Some are confident about the system while others said they are not ready as some of the subjects offered in the new system are specialized such as music and design. Others said that promoting the students to proceed to the following year will make the students lazier as they know they will still be promoted.
Parents that I talked to said its about time. The system should be implemented years ago as there are many young (and healthy) people who are jobless, they said. I think so.
I mean, previously those who failed their PMB twice will have to leave school. They became jobless at a young age and had difficulty to find job because lack of qualification. This is another story – I will talk on unemployment next.
The other benefit I can think of the SPN is the number of years of studying being cut; the gifted you are the shorter time you spend at school. I agree on this. I know my brother who went through a lot. His was the time when the Pre-School started, he was already over six years old that time. At one stage, there was also a Primary 7. So he spent a total of eight years in primary school.
Then came to the introduction of the ‘N’-level. Remember that? As his PMB was not good, he had no choice but to take three years of ‘O’-level instead of two. So in total he spent 14 years of schooling. With the SPN, the ‘normal’ aka the not-that-gifted one have a total of eleven years of schooling. See the difference?
I hope that the system will work and would deliver results it hoped for. Amin
More on SPN 21 here.