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SPN 21

January 6, 2009

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 and students checking the classes. Year 7 students start their first day today.

Parents and students checking the classes. Year 7 students start their first day today.

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.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Parent permalink
    January 7, 2009 8:50 am

    Thanks for this and sorry to hear about your brother. I remember the ‘N’ level. I think its a disaster. This happened to my son. I admit he is not academically bright and I know that doesnt mean he is not good. I accept him as who he is. One of his teachers even called him s*****. My son and us, his parents, were sad to hear this.
    Luckily he went through his O level and now he is abroad taking a diploma in Sports Science and Recreation as he is very good in sports. He has plans which include studying right up to PhD.
    I hope our future generation will get all the benefits of this SPN21.

  2. Abu permalink
    January 7, 2009 12:42 pm

    As a parent myself, I dont think I would like to ‘pressurize’ my children. Let them be. If they are gifted, Alhamdullilah, and if they feel they can cope to do ‘O’ level in four years, I have their backing and support. Of course if they have their own interest, so by all means. I know one of them is interested in French and the other in Art, so this SPN 21, I am welcoming it with open arms. Embrace it.

  3. H.I.A permalink
    January 12, 2009 3:41 pm

    I only wish this plan implemented when i still study at secondary school… sigh.. oh well at least my nephew and niece have good chance :)…

    • Brunei Lifestyler permalink
      January 14, 2009 8:07 am

      I also wish this same HIA. All the best to your anak buah.

  4. February 3, 2009 7:19 pm

    if you want the spn 21 is good give the question to me tomorow so igot pass and i dont understand if i pass like 60% above is it go to form 4


  1. Global Voices Online » Brunei: A New Education System
  2. SPN 21 « Brunei Lifestyle | Brunei Today

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