KUCHING: Next year's new Secondary School's Standard Curriculum (KSSM) is quite tricky because it offers many elective subjects, said Welfare Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah.

She said the new education curriculum for Form 4 students required clear-sighted and long-term planning to ensure that it could be implemented properly in the years to come.

Interviewed by reporters at her office in Bangunan Baitul Makmur here yesterday, Fatimah recalled her experience as a school principal and said one of the main issues that was often touched on was the role of teachers.

Next year, under the new curriculum, there will be 36 subjects under the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) package and 59 under Arts and Humanities to replace the old Arts and Science streams system.

Fatimah said that not all teachers were capable of teaching STEM or Art and Humanities elective subjects.

Fatimah Abdullah

“Not all teachers can teach Additional Maths or History.

“Like myself, I cannot teach Additional Maths although I graduated from the science stream.

“Some teachers who graduated in the Social Science field can't teach History because they were not offered History.

“During my days in education, the previous system offered courses based on the ability of the schools. Some schools provided science stream only while some offered integrated course.

“The new curriculum is nothing new. It is just that more elective subjective are offered to the student.

“It sounds good on paper, but they (education ministry) did not think about the impact, especially on schools in Sarawak," she commented.

Fatimah proposed that a survey be conducted among Form 3 students to indicate students' response to certain packages.

“This will help schools to provide enough classes for the subjects they choose. In my opinion, the survey should be conducted prior to implementation of the curriculum, that is, before schools reopen next year.

“With the survey, schools can take the necessary action," she pointed out.

“If a certain package attracts more students, then the schools need to open more classes to accommodate them. There must be enough teachers for the subjects to ensure they are given enough time to rest.

“In short, what the system needs is a constructive plan," added Fatimah.

On the transfer of the teachers from schools in Dalat to other areas, Fatimah explained that often, the replacement of teachers to schools in Dalat would take months.

“Sometimes, the teacher only arrives in the middle of the year. This can affect students' learning progress when schools do not have enough teachers," she pointed out.

>Sources: New Sarawak Tribune