Tough syllabus? Don’t underrate your kids


PETALING JAYA: Students who face challenges tend to excel in their studies and in life, according to the Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE).

Following the recent uproar about the alleged difficulty of the Year One syllabus, PAGE chairman Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said challenges served to mould children into good thinkers.

Speaking to FMT, she urged parents to encourage their children to push the limits.

“Kids learn fast and they need challenges,” she said. “Discouraging them from the beginning will not help them in their studies or in their future.”

She noted that according to the Programme for International Assessment (Pisa) survey in 2012, the academic performance of 15-year old Malaysian students was three years behind the rest of the world.

It showed that students in Shanghai were performing as though they had four or more years of schooling than a 15-year-old Malaysian.

The result also showed that Malaysian students had scored below the global average score of 494 in Mathematics, 496 in Reading and 501 in Science.

Pisa is an international survey done every three years to assess the competencies of 15-year-olds from 65 countries in key subject areas. It is organised by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Azimah urged parents to spend time with their children and assist them in their studies instead of putting all the responsibility in the hands of teachers.

“Parents should not expect miracles,” she said. “They should spend at least an hour a day assisting the children in their studies rather than depending solely on the teachers.”

She also said society should avoid treating their children as victims and start empowering them to take up challenges.

Of late, the issue of the Year One syllabus has been a hot topic on social media. Some, including teachers, say it is too difficult for the students.

However, Mohd Fadli Salleh, a teacher at Sekolah Kebangsaan Gombak, supports the syllabus, saying parents should never underestimate the capability of students.

In a Facebook post, Fadli suggested that parents could help their children understand their lessons.