Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Varsity links up with schools via Whiz Kids Programme

IT'S OFFICIAL: Dr Japar (left) exchanges documents with the headmistress of SK Convent Muar Johor Rohana Selamat after the signing of the Letter of Intent

GRACEFUL: Students of SK Convent Muar Johor perform a dance at the opening ceremony

BINTULU: Universiti Putra Malaysia Bintulu campus (Upmkb) embarked on a national level linkage programme with high performance schools via ‘The Putra Whiz Kids Programme’ being held at the university from March 11 to 17.

Dean of its Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Professor Dr Japar Sidik Bujang said the programme attended by high performing primary schools from five states aimed to promote integration and cross-cultural understanding and recognition.

“We have been practising the 1Malaysia concept since 1987 so it’s not new to us. Communication is not just language but dialect of other people,” he said when officiating at the programme last Monday night.

He said the programme was also to enhance English language proficiency among school students and Upmkb staff who need to communicate in English.

Japar said it was also hoped that participating in the programme would develop strong communication skills and give awareness of the importance of a clean and safe natural environment.

The programme witnessed the signing of a Letter of Intent between Upmkb and its two adopted schools; SK Convent Muar Johor and SK Ulu Lubai Limbang. SK Convent Muar was represented by its headmistress Rohana Selamat while SK Ulu Lubai by its headmaster Jaul Bunyau. The collaboration was a benchmark for better future performance.

“It is the hope of the university that each carefully designed and artistically implemented programme is able to shape the future generation into a generation of respectable, smart and creative young people. Hopefully these whiz kids trained by UPM will one day be training other people,” he said.

The linkages with educational institutions and cluster schools were one of its Key Performance Index (KPI) programmes.

“We will continue with these particular linkages in the near future,” he assured, hoping more schools would join the programme.

Putra Whiz Kids programme director Joyce Morris Kapong said the programme was creatively designed to
enhance English Language proficiency, develop effective communication skills, create awareness on the importance of a clean and safe natural environment and, most importantly, promote integration and cross-culture, understanding and recognition among young participants.

“We want all children regardless of race, creed or circumstance to achieve their full potential. This year we are blessed by the presence of the beautiful children of Malaysia. We have a total of 68 young learners from seven primary schools across the nation, accompanied by their dedicated teachers,” said Joyce.

Various creative and interesting theme-based programmes are designed to instil these objectives in the young learners.

Among these programmes is the ‘Little English Pirates’ which consist of team building activities, treasure hunt and science and technology related activities.

During the Putra Cultural Camps, students were taught local traditional dances.

“They also learned about nature awareness and conservation through tree-planting activities, jungle-trekking as well as camping activity,” Joyce said.

In early 2010, the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences embarked on a journey of discovery and adventure by establishing a professional relationship with SK Ulu Lubai (Skul).

The affiliation began a lasting bond between two of the most successful educational institutions.
The faculty was assigned the task of planning and implementing various programmes for a team of talented and creative lecturers, teachers and students.
Seven schools are participating in the programme, of which five are high performance schools.

They are SK Convent Muar Johor, SK Ulu Lubai Limbang Sarawak, SK Seri Gaya Kota Kinabalu Sabah, SK Perempuan Methodist Kuantan Pahang, SK Jalan Tiga Bangi Selangor, SK St Joseph Kuching Sarawak and SK Kampung Luak Miri Sarawak.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Oldest primary school in Bintulu needs rebuilding

IN CELEBRATION: Zaiedy (centre), flanked by Abidah (second left) and other guests, launches OKMS 100th anniversary opening ceremony.

BINTULU: The first and the oldest primary school in Bintulu, SK Orang Kaya Mohammad (OKMS) needs to be rebuilt.

In the school’s 100th year anniversary celebration yesterday, political secretary to Bintulu MP, Zaiedy Nor Abu Nassir who graced the function said a turn of event which should not have happened had terminated the rebuilding plan.

In a visit 2 years ago, Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing and a minister concerned agreed that the best solution for the dilapidated school was to rebuild it instead of just making improvements to it to ensure the safety of students and teachers.

A 5-acre site had been identified which is adjacent to the current school, at the old Bintulu Airport.

However, as the community waited for the announcement of the good news, a turn of event took place and a company, Naim Cendera, showed an interest in acquiring 50 acres of land in that area, of which the 5-acre land was part of it.

Zaiedy said this should not have happened as acquisition should be on a first-come-first-served basis and expressed unhappiness on the way the state government handled the issue.

The government, he said had come up with initiatives by giving allocation for repair works but maintenance alone was not enough for an old school like OKMS.

For a solution, Zaiedy proposed the company to put the school’s reconstruction plan as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project.

“Let them build the school as part of their contribution to the local community, I speak like the opposition but this is the fact, this is the rights of the people here, 5-acre, a school is nothing for this big company and instead they can contribute something,” he explained.

Another solution, Zaiedy proposed was to build the new school on the current 5.3 acre site, adding that “We can (even) preserve its historical value, on how it has contributed significantly in producing great leaders for the locals.”

Zaiedy. however, pointed out that for the rebuilding of the school, certain legal technicalities needed to be ironed out first. 

Foremost, for the project to be enlisted and implemented under the 10th Malaysia Plan, the status of land ownership, he said, needed to be changed under the federal government instead of the state government to ensure the project does not take years to complete, citing the rebuilding of SK Kampung Baru as an example of delay.

The school’s Parent-Teacher Association chairman Khalidi Dahiri also urged the authorities concerned to take immediate action on the rebuilding of the school.

“As you can see, the environment is not conducive to teaching and learning, not safe, thus I appeal to the relevant authorities, politicians and non-governmental organisations to come forward and assist us,” he said.

Meanwhile, in her welcoming speech at the school’s 100th anniversary celebration, headmistress Abidah Semail said being the first formal school in Bintulu in 1912, OKMS will continue to provide and improve its services for the country’s educational system to produce quality human capital.

“This quality human capital is an important asset to the country and the school has proven it in the past in producing great leaders,” she said.

Various activities were also held by the school and its alumni committee in celebrating OKMS’ 100th anniversary.