KUALA LUMPUR: Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik did not say that the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) case would be part of the new History syllabus, said his press secretary Shahrul Aman Mohd Saari. [...]
Students from different schools raise placards during a protest rally at Martin Place in Sydney. — AFP photo
SYDNEY: Thousands of Australian students skipped school yesterday to join nationwide protests demanding government action on climate change.
The demonstrations were held as more than a hundred bushfires blazed in scorching temperatures in the northeast and a day after Indian mining firm Adani vowed to go ahead with a massive and controversial coal mine.
Primary and secondary students rallied in state capitals and rural areas across the country, in defiance of Prime Minister Scott Morrison who earlier said kids should stay in the classroom.
“Our prime minister thinks we should be in school right now and maybe you should be,” 13-year-old student Siniva Esera told a crowd of more than a thousand in Sydney.
“But how can we sit by and not do anything to protect the future of this planet,” she added, to a rapturous applause.
Morrison told parliament earlier in the week that the government was committed to tackling climate change, “but I’ll tell you what we are also committed to: kids should go to school.”
Students creatively rebuked the prime minister, who goes by the nickname ScoMo, with humorous banners saying, “I hate ScoMo more than I hate school”.
They also carried placards calling for the government to block the Adani mine project, a day afater the Indian mining firm had announced it would go ahead with a scaled-back version of the coal mine in northern Queensland.
“If we don’t stop temperatures going over two degrees we won’t have the Great barrier reef, Antarctica will melt and there will be no such thing as polar bears,” 11-year-old Lucie Atkin-Bolton told the crowd.
“My life will be so much more complicated than my parents’ life, because of one simple thing: climate change.”
The protests capped off a week of brutal weather in Australia.
More than a hundred fires continued to blaze Friday across Queensland state amid an unprecedented scorching heatwave.
The crisis forced hundreds to flee their homes Wednesday at its peak.
On the same day, in the neighbouring state of New South Wales, Sydney was hit by severe thunderstorms and heavy rainfall forcing the cancellation of flights, closure of rail lines and leaving motorists stranded on flooded roads.
Scientists this week also launched the largest-ever attempt to regenerate the endangered Great Barrier Reef, where large swathes of coral on the 2,300-kilometre reef have been killed by rising sea temperatures linked to climate change. — AFP [...]
A North Carolina school where a high concentration of families claim religious exemption from vaccines is facing the state’s worst chickenpox outbreak in more than 20 years.
The chickenpox outbreak has affected 36 students at Asheville Waldorf School, health officials with Buncombe County said. The outbreak ranks as North Carolina’s largest since a chickenpox vaccine became available more than 20 years ago, the Asheville Citizen Times reports.
The Asheville Waldorf School has one of the highest rates in the state of families who opt out of vaccines based on religious beliefs, according to data from North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human services. Of the 28 children enrolled in kindergarten at the school during the 2017-2018 school year, about 19 claimed religious exemption from vaccines — a higher rate of exemptions than all but two other schools in the state, according to the Citizen Times.
Buncombe County medical director Dr. Jennifer Mullendore drew a link between the widespread chickenpox update and the low records of immunization.
“We want to be clear: vaccination is the best protection from chickenpox,” Mullendore said in a statement. “Two doses of varicella vaccine can offer significant protection against childhood chickenpox and shingles as an adult. When we see high numbers of unimmunized children and adults, we know that an illness like chickenpox can spread easily throughout the community — into our playgrounds, grocery stores, and sports teams.”
While North Carolina requires immunizations for all kindergarten-age students, including the two-dose chickenpox vaccine, it does allow for medical and religious exemptions. Parents who want to claim religious exemptions for their children have to describe their religious objection to immunization in a written statement given to schools and other child care programs in lieu of an immunization record.
A statement from Asheville Waldorf said the school follows immunization requirements.
“Our school strictly follows immunization requirements put in place by the North Carolina State Board of Education. As an associate member of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North American and like all other Waldorf Schools, we are compliant with national, state and local laws,” the statement said. “We also recognize that a parent’s decision to immunize their children happens before they enter school. At Asheville Waldorf School we support our families, we love our students, we love our city and we are grateful that our community is strong during challenging times.”
School officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The chickenpox outbreak comes amid a startling growth of the number of unvaccinated children. Anti-vaccination sentiments have taken off among some communities in recent years, spurred by the myth that vaccines are linked to increased rates of autism that dates back to a now-debunked and retracted 1998 study. Despite evidence pointing to immunizations as an effective way to protect against diseases like chickenpox, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said this year that the percentage of children with no vaccinations under the age of 2 quadrupled since 2001.
The CDC also found an overall increase in exemption rates for kindergarten-age children, with Oregon holding the highest median rate. [...]
The PM revealed today that he met Maszlee to discuss the issue a few days ago. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
SINGAPORE, Nov 12 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad revealed today that he has asked Education Minister Maszlee Malik to overhaul the school curriculum.The prime minister told a high tea with the Malaysian diaspora here that he met Maszlee to discuss the issue a few days ago.“The current education system is bad. It needs to be revolutionised. What they learn is not what they should learn.“We need to change the curriculum and timetable of what they learn in school,” Dr Mahathir replied when asked by an audience member for his opinion on the state of Malaysia’s education system.Dr Mahathir was previously named as the education minister of the Pakatan Harapan government, but he stepped down following public backlash over the pact’s election pledge that the prime minister cannot hold another portfolio.However, the prime minister did not elaborate further on what aspect of the curriculum needs to be changed, and what the alternative would look like.Both Dr Mahathir and Maszlee visited Tokyo last week, where the latter met with Japan’s Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Technology, Masahiko Shibayama, and visited the Itabashi Daiichi Elementary School, in Itabashi-ku, Tokyo.Following the visit, Maszlee said that Putrajaya will look into providing free nutritious breakfast for children from families in the bottom 40 per cent (B40) group. [...]
Education Minister Maszlee Malik’s proposal to give free breakfasts to low-income students was mocked by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today. — Picture by Farhan Najib
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 7 — Malaysia has had a food aid programme for school students since 1979, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak reminded the education minister today.Seemingly mocking Education Minister Maszlee Malik’s proposal to give free breakfasts to low-income students, Najib highlighted that funding for the existing food aid programme in schools was reduced under the Pakatan Harapan government.Najib said Maszlee appeared to have overlooked the existence of the Supplementary Food Programme carried out by the latter’s own ministry.“We give RM2.50 per person daily for peninsular Malaysia and RM3.00 per person daily for students in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan.“Maybe he is too busy with the colour of students’ school uniform that he did not realise that the PH government itself had already cut allocations for the Supplementary Food Programme in Budget 2019,” Najib wrote in a Facebook post today, seemingly alluding to the education ministry’s previous announcement regarding the change in the official colour of school shoes from white to black.Najib said there was no need for a trip to Japan to learn about matters such as the food programme or to “Look East”, saying that more time should be spent on understanding the operations of the Education Ministry.Malay Mail’s checks of the government’s 2019 federal estimated expenditure showed that the allocation for the Supplementary Food Programme — categorised as a special programme under the Education Ministry — has gone down from an estimated RM299,974,900 this year to RM289 million for next year.Maszlee, who is with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on a three-day working visit to Japan, had yesterday visited an elementary school in Tokyo.Following the school visit, he said his ministry plans to study the provision of free nutritious breakfast to children from B40 families or families in the lowest 40 per cent income group, as well as cultivate a culture of cleanliness and discipline from kindergarten up to tertiary level.Malay Mail’s checks of the education ministry’s website showed that its Supplementary Food Programme implemented since 1979 sees the provision of additional food to poor primary school students, especially those in rural areas.The Supplementary Food Programme only provides food aid to students from hardcore poor households where the head of the household’s income level is below the national poverty line, or for students who are disabled or study in Orang Asli or Penan schools.Students who are in boarding schools are excluded from the scheme, which lasts up to 190 schooling days with a daily allocation of RM2.50 (peninsular Malaysia) or RM3.50 (Sabah, Sarawak, Labuan) per student.The programme is aimed at improving the health, physical conditions and eating habits of poor students, as well as to increase their attendance and academic performance, the ministry’s website states.Malay Mail’s checks of the Dewan Rakyat’s Hansard showed that then education minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid had on March 21 told Parliament that around RM250 million had been allocated for the Supplementary Food Programme involving over 400,000 students in national schools. [...]
Mohd Izwan said there was a rise in the LGBT community in recent years as Internet has become easily available. — AFP pic
GEORGE TOWN, Oct 29 — Mohd Izwan Md Yusof from Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) today blamed the internet and boarding schools as part of the reason for the rise in the number of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT).He said there was a rise in the LGBT community in recent years as the internet has become easily available.“Youths now have easier access to the internet, social media and mobile apps on LGBT, they are watching videos they are not supposed to watch about LGBT,” said the social and community director.Mohd Izwan said parents should be more vigilant and monitor their children’s online activities especially when they are hiding in their rooms.“Parents should be more aware of their children’s activities because gay tendencies can be developed at a young age due to LGBT influences,” he said during a seminar on LGBT awareness at the Caring Society Complex here.He also blamed boarding schools as potential places for students to develop homosexual tendencies.“These same-sex boarding schools meant the students spend a lot of time with the same sex and they might be unaware of the inappropriate influences they are exposed to especially at a young age,” he said.He suggested that boarding schools be open only for students above 16 years old as at that age, they can differentiate between bad and good.Mohd Izwan warned the society against using derogatory terms against the LGBT groups such as “sotong” (Malay for cuttlefish).“We should stop calling them sotong, instead, we should take them in, talk to them and pray for them,” he said.Mohd Izwan said the use of such derogatory terms against the LGBT community might backfire and cause them to be more daring in promoting their lifestyle.He said homosexuality is a sin according to Islam but Muslims must not hate the LGBT community.“In Islam, we don’t support the LGBT lifestyle but we have to take a different approach to counsel them instead of hating them,” he said.He said the LGBT community should be counselled so that they can “go back to the right path”.He said Jakim has the “Mukhayyam” programme to rehabilitate those in the LGBT community.“We have helped 1,450 people under the programme where some have went on to get married, some have changed their dressing and some are practising control from going back to that lifestyle,” he said.Mohd Izwan had earlier revealed that there were 173,000 homosexuals in Malaysia back in 2013 but the numbers have almost doubled to 310,000 this year.“Studies have shown that the transgender population, consisting mostly of sex workers, is at about 30,000 this year compared to 10,000 in 1988,” he said.Another speaker at the seminar, Dr Janizah Abdul Ghani, claimed homosexuality between men have caused a spike in sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in the country.The doctor, from Penang Health Department, said this included HIV cases.She claimed that 80 per cent of the homosexual patients who sought treatments for STD in hospitals used dating apps for homosexuals. [...]
JOHOR BARU, Oct 24 — A five-year-old girl was run over by her school van in Jalan Temenggung 4, Taman Tun Aminah here at noon yesterday.Johor Bahu Utara ACP police chief Mohd Taib Ahmad said the accident happened after the van had dropped off Janiss Yeoh Zi Xuan,a kindergarten pupil, at her grandmother’s home.“The van, driven by a woman, ran over her as she was crossing in front of it to get to her grandmother’s house,” he said in a statement here today.He said the 48-year-old driver on realising what had happened rushed the girl to the Sultanah Aminah Hospital (HSA) but she succumbed to her injuries about an hour later.The driver was detained and later released on police bail, he added.A 13-second video clip which captured the incident has since gone viral on social media.Meanwhile, Johor Baru Selatan police chief ACP Shahurinain Jais said police detained a 15-year-old boy for driving a lorry laden with sand without a licence along the Pasir Gudang Highway early today.He said in the 4am incident, in trying to escape police, the boy drove the lorry into a patrol car and that even though police fired three warning shots in the air for him to stop, he sped away.He added that a high-speed chase ensued over 45 kilometres and the boy was finally caught in Jalan Angkasa Mas Perindustrian Tebrau 2. — Bernama [...]
SEREMBAN: Fifty-two pupils of a religious school here are down with food poisoning, believed to be due to a turmeric chicken dish they had for dinner on Thursday (Oct 18). [...]
PUTRAJAYA: The black shoe ruling for government schools will only be fully enforced in 2021, giving all relevant parties plenty of time to prepare. [...]
KOTA KINABALU: Police are on the hunt for two former teachers of a religious school in Keningau suspected of rape, sodomy and also molesting some of the pupils. [...]
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad arrived in Fukuoka yesterday for a four-day working visit to Japan. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 7 ― Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has delivered his keynote address at the Japan Future Leaders School in Fukuoka, Japan this morning.The annual lecture series is now into its 15th year. Dr Mahathir was one of its main speakers when it was first held in 2003, according to his official Facebook page today.The caption that accompanied the photograph said Dr Mahathir, in his message, reminded the students as future leaders to embrace peace and avoid conflicts, which had proven to be costly to mankind and to enjoy a better quality of life. It added that among the students at the lecture were four Malaysians. Also accompanying the prime minister to the lecture was his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali. Dr Mahathir had arrived in Fukuoka on Monday for a four-day working visit to Japan. ― Bernama [...]
Dzulkefly said Selangor recorded the highest number of HFMD cases at 11,669, followed by Kuala Lumpur (4,552) and Sarawak (4,551). — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
KOTA KINABALU, Aug 1 — There is no need to order a nationwide closure of schools because of the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD), said Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad as the number of cases rose to 40,198 today.The minister said the number reached 39,408 yesterday, with more cases in Sabah, but said the ministry is not considering shutting down more schools yet. “At this stage there is no need to do an aggressive intervention like shutting down schools and nurseries, prevention and pre-emptive measures suffice to put this outbreak under control.“What’s important is to uphold gatekeeping procedures like at the point of entry of premises.“It is important for teachers in pre-schools and nurseries to make sure everything is properly cleaned and sanitised, and parents refrain from taking their children to public crowded areas,” he told a press conference here today.Dzulkefly said Selangor recorded the highest number of cases at 11,669, followed by Kuala Lumpur (4,552) and Sarawak (4,551).Sabah recorded a total of 2,200 cases, up from 2,173 last week, with an average of 73 cases detected weekly.“To date, all Sabah districts have recorded HFMD, but Kota Kinabalu, Beaufort, Sandakan and Penampang recorded higher number of cases than the others,” he said.Out of the nine schools which have been ordered for total closure, seven are in Sabah, while Pahang and Penang have one each. [...]
The announcement on the ministry’s official Facebook page.
KUCHING: The Education Ministry said the new ruling on black school shoes will be implemented in stages.
This is so that parents and students will not be burdened by it, said the Education director-general Datuk Dr Amin Senin in the announcement made on the ministry’s official Facebook page today.
“We (the ministry) would take into account all factors to avoid burdening parents and students.
“Some of them may have already bought white shoes in advance, while others might not be able to afford new shoes,” he said.
On Thursday, Education Minister Maszlee Malik said schoolchildren would be allowed to wear black shoes from next year. [...]
COMMENT | Perhaps the education minister needs a reminder to prioritise his responsibilities. [...]
KUALA LUMPUR, July 20 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed that there has been no closure of schools or classes in Selangor due to the outbreak of the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD).Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the ministry viewed the claims that 51 schools in a Selangor district had been closed, as serious."There were only two HFMD clusters reported in two schools but both the schools were not closed.“The schools or classes involved were not closed because checks by a health department team found no risk of HFMD infection to other students," he said in a statement, here today.He urged the public to check HFMD news with the ministry instead of relying on information spread on the social media platforms.He was responding to claims on the social media that HFMD in Selangor was at danger level and 51 schools in the state had been closed due to the disease.HFMD is a viral disease caused by the Coxsackie A16 and Enterovirus 71 virus which spread through saliva, blisters and faeces.Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham advised the public especially parents, nursery and kindergarten operators as well as teachers to teach children the importance of good personal hygiene including proper handwashing techniques.Apart from screening children at the entrance of nurseries, kindergartens, preschools and schools, he said parents should also examine their child every morning before sending them off to the centres. — Bernama [...]
White school shoes will be a thing of the past from 2019.
KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — Teachers and parents supported today the government’s move to switch from white school shoes to black ones.Speaking to Malay Mail, National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) president Kamarozaman Abdul Razak said that there are some schools that are already using black shoes, particularly in Form Six and boarding schools.“There will be many positive impacts, among them, parents will no longer have to purchase cleaning items for the shoes (kapur kasut). Teachers no longer need to enforce discipline on shoe cleanliness.“This might also curb a little truancy as there are students who refuse to go to school because they have dirty shoes,” said Kamarozaman.Education Minister Maszlee Malik said earlier today that students will be asked to wear black shoes to school from next year onwards, noting that white shoes get dirty easily.Parents Action Group for Education (Page) honorary secretary Tunku Munawirah Putra pointed out that generally, many students already own a pair of black shoes due to their co-curricular activities.She said Maszlee’s proposal, which will come into effect next year, was in line with what many schools and students were already doing.“It is a good idea when you think about cleanliness, but some kids already have black shoes because they use it for co-curriculum. The only thing is the affordability. There’s no price cap on white shoes, so there shouldn’t be a price control for black shoes.“But this can make white shoes go out of business,” said Tunku Munawirah with an amused chuckle.Both Tunku Munawirah and Kamarozaman were slightly concerned about affordability and hoped that shoe companies will not take advantage of the situation to jack up prices once the ruling comes into effect.They believed it would be prudent for the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to allow parents a grace period to make the switch from white shoes to black ones.Kamarozaman also added that students should be given the freedom to choose whether they want to wear black leather shoes or black canvas shoes, since both have their own advantages and disadvantages.“I think leather shoes are more durable but they require more maintenance, and therefore, are costlier. Canvas shoes are cheaper but might not last as long. The ministry guidelines on the shoes should give some freedom of choice to the students,” he said. [...]