Monday, January 17, 2011

Recent policy developments designed to boost educational achievement.


Assignment Topic
Recent policy developments designed to boost educational achievement.

1. Introduction

Schools serve the needs of the present and the future. They have a crucial role to play in the lives and learning of pupils now and as they inherit the daunting and exciting tasks that face them as citizens in the twenty-first century. Schools also have a responsibility for their future students. Roland Barth (1988) summed this up when he described schools as ‘four walls surrounding the future. Significant developments have taken place in the UK and on a global scale that have a direct bearing on the future of education. The Conservative Administration (1979-1997) introduced many keys elements in the The Education Reform Act (ERA) of 1988. The Conservative Administration summarized its policies for schools in terms of ‘five great themes’-quality, diversity, parental choice, greater autonomy for schools and greater accountability (DfE,1992) The ERA of 1988 is regarded as the most important single piece of education legislation since the 1944 Education Act and it was claimed it would shape the nature of the education system for the rest of the 20th century and beyond.

The MOE also faces an increasing demand for residential schools to cater for the growing number of qualified and excellent students. At the same time, many hostels at teacher training colleges are underutilized due to the reduction in teacher trainee intakes for pre-service training. The overall cost of managing and operating these hostels have also risen with the increasing number of hostels and boarders as well as escalating prices of materials and services. The operational costs for the text-book loan scheme (SPBT) have also increased. Furthermore, if the plan to replace the present printed text books with electronic books or e-book is realized, the MOE will need a bigger allocation to supply these e-books to students; train teachers and personnel in managing, maintaining, and storing such books; and provide for a systematic and effective e-book distribution system. For the Integrated School Health Programme ( PBSS), the MOE has to ensure that all schools receive the services provided under the programme and to increase the frequency of these services. For the Supplementary Food Programme (Free Meals) for primary schools, the challenge is to increase its allocation in order to expand the services to more poor students and ensure that the meals provided are nutritious and well balanced. (Ibid.,p.12 )

10. ICT in education
The globalization and expansion of information availability and storage is almost beyong our comprehension. By 1996 the knowledge base was doubling every four years ( Watkins, 1996).At the time of writing, seven years later, this is probably a modest figure given the significant technological changes that have been taken place in the UK. (MacGilchrist, Myers, Reed, 2004). The new century has brought a rapid expansion in the applied use of ICT throughout the curriculum. Most secondary schools have seen how interactive whiteboards can transform lessons- when used, it should be said, by an effective teacher. Video-conferencing, combined with broadband technology which all schools are supposed to have by 2006, is making this possible, just as some schools can expand their curriculum with technology, offering masterclasses provided by universities or lessons delivered from public offices, museums, galleries or zoos.( Taylor and Ryan, 2005b)

In Trinity School, we met Chris Marvin, Director of ICT and find out the school used advanced in ICT based learning especially in administration under SIMs; Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) using fronter , and using dreamweaver to create a website. This school having 55 interactive smart boards. The smart board improved the quality of teaching and learning. The advantages of smart board are lesson can be saved in the computer for future reference, interactive lesson, faster getting feedback on objective tests, immediately getting items analysis, can store all the resources – pictures , lessons , examination questions and formative tests .The back up done every night. We also noticed that 20 staff efficient in using the smart board. The number will be increased by next year. They have a meeting once a week with the department’s staff. The school offered IGSCE syllabus because it is more challenging to the students. The aim is also to prepared students for the A level syllabus. The ‘Console’ software is very useful in managing computer class. The software easily detect students who are not paying attention in the lesson. Every junior student will sit for ECDL (European Computer Driving License) test. They do not need to sit for GSCE test. However, problem faced is the staff easily gets frustrated in using the smart board especially the older one. The advance development in ICT based learning encourages us to improve our smart school facilities in Malaysia.

11. Education Development Plan For Malaysia 2001-2010
The development plan for ICT in education within the next 10 years .The aims to intensify the development of ICT infrastructure; expand access to and equity for ICT facilities; expand ICT-based curriculum; improve on the assessment and evaluation systems using ICT; emphasise ICT integration in teaching and learning processes; improve on ICT knowledge and skills among students, teachers and personnel; intensify ICT usage in education management; improve on the management and maintenance of ICT equipment; increase R&D efforts in ICT; and increase cooperation between educational institutions and the community towards expansion of ICT in education.(Ibid.,p.17)
One of the challenges faced by the MOE is to provide sufficient and the latest ICT facilities with internet to all levels of the education organization in order to expand the usage of ICT in teaching and learning as well as in education management. To meet this challenge, the MOE has to provide sufficient and the latest facilities to all levels of management in order to strengthen the ICT infrastructure in education. The MOE has to continuously provide more effective training programmes to the teaching staff and personnel concerned.(Ibid.,17)
In the EDMP: Thrust 3- Strengthening National Schools. One of the main aim was to equip national schools with sufficient and quality facilities including clean water, electricity and ICT infrastructure.(Zulkarnain,2006) In addition, one of the strategies expanding the Smart School concept nation wide and also to improve acquisition and application of ICT skills among teachers and students.
The Blueprint also plans to strengthen ICT knowledge and skill among students by improving ICT based learning methods, enhancing the knowledge and skill of ICT integration in teaching and learning among teachers, increasing the number of courseware
development and usage that contains indigenous and international content, and upgrading the basic skill of computer installation and maintenance.(Ibid.,p.19)
12. Malaysia Smart School Program
Smart Schools would act as the catalyst for the massive transformation of Malaysia educational system. The Malaysian Smart School is a learning institution that has been systematically restructures in terms of teaching and learning practices and school management to prepare children to face globalization era. The most distinctive feature of the Smart School is that the teaching and learning environment is built on the best international practices.
The tasks of the school leaders in managing the Smart Schools involves working with information and building on ideas collaboratively. The efficiency and effectiveness of this management task can be enhanced significantly through the use of ICT based learning. The headteacher for the Smart Schools were carefully selected based on their performance and were given intensive training to equip them to manage the new facilities, technologies and methodologies deployed in their schools.
13. Catering for the brightest
In order to give pupils who needed extra support, program such as mentoring, to link school learning to life outside school and summer schools in literacy and numeracy were introduced. A sum amounting to 350 million Pounds was allocated over a period of three years to develop the aptitudes and arrest the underachievement of secondary pupils in 25 councils in a program which Blunkett referred to as ‘Excellence in Cities’. One of measures in the program ‘Excellence in Cities’ (DFEE, 1999a) includes support for gifted pupils – master classes linked to specialist schools, extra teaching, study support, partnerships with independent schools, weekend activities for the most able 5-10% and university summer schools.
Taylor and Ryan (2005) stated that,” Bright youngsters have not always been encouraged to use their talents and abilities to the full in the state system. They have then switched off from lessons they regard as too easy. Until recently, many schools felt that providing extra provision for their most able students was elitist. But times have changed. Most secondary schools now regard catering for their brightest students as being as important as ensuring that those with learning difficulties are given the chance to succeed. The ‘gifted and talented’ programme, which was launched five years ago as part of Excellence in Cities, a government-funded scheme for urban schools, now runs in over 2,000 schools.”
Mr Lee Flanagen, the co-ordinator for gifted and talented children, Trinity School, East Croydon describes that this is a government agenda to produce gifted and talented children. This school produce a Gifted and Talented Policy a year ago. Giftedness refers to high potential. While talent refers to high performance. Departments use data from a variety of sources in identifying giftedness.. There include performance in subject tests and examinations, observation of classroom performance and the continuous assessment of class work and homework. The sports, music and drama departments use their own criteria. There is no labelling on gifted and talented students in this school. All the head of departments and the subject teachers will identify those in this categories. Gifted and talented students work at a faster pace, at a greater depth, more broadly and independently. They were working together in flexible group, do peer teaching and work together outside the classroom on specific extension and enrichment activities.# These are lessons to be learned from this experience in UK because in my country, Malaysia this gifted and talented programme is not yet implemented.


Through the above arguments, it is clear that recent policy developments designed by UK and Malaysia to boost in educational development in both countries. It is became clear that education was placed at the top of agenda. However, the policies’ success or failure dependent on leadership qualities. Successful schools depend on a strong leadership, good team work, excellent information and a willingness to challenge some aspects of conventional wisdom. Hopkins (2007) says ‘system leadership is regarded as an elite practice, but, if the aim is to improve learning by professionals working more closely across schools to lead reform, the system leadership must turned into a national movement.’

School leaders will need to know good pedagogical practices and be innovative and creative while implementing the school’s curriculum policy. They must ensure that their teachers are inducted or trained in the skills and equipped with the professionalism to teach in a self-managed school. Both Malaysia and UK have their own approachers and strategies in educating its population with the hope that at the end of the day the people of both nations will be torch bearers of the future ajd brings success to the nation. Caldwell(2007) says that ‘There is a need to build up four kinds of capital- finantial capital, intellectual capital, social capital and spiritual capital-and secure their alignment through outstanding governance at all levels. Every individual, organization and institution becomes a stakeholder. Researchers, policy makers and practitioners work more closely in networking knowledge. Programmes for school improvement are important, but it is time to raise the stakes and move from satisfaction with improvement to accepting the challenge to transform.’ Through this cooperation and collaborative strategic planning, we do hope will shed light on worldwide best teaching practices and education reform. May this ties stimulate and contribute to positive changes for education system and bring forth more effective strategies to repattern and redesign our past efforts for greater future successs.


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