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With a new government installed after the 14th General Election, it is natural to expect massive overhauls and changes from bottom up. The Education Ministry, led by Dr. Maszlee Malik, is one of the most-scrutinised portfolios that will undergo substantial changes, starting from schools.

Here are some of the policy changes that are set to take place from 2019 onwards:

1. No more exams for Standard One to Standard Three students

Yes, you heard us right. The little ones will be spared from exam stress this year, much to the relief of parents. The decision to abolish mid-year and final exams was purportedly to allow schools to focus more on teaching and help pupils discover the joy of learning. Parents who are fretting about the method schools will use for monitoring their children’s progress in place of exams should not worry. This is because the exams will be replaced with objective assessments in 2019. Education director-general Datuk Dr. Amin Senin said continuous assessments will take place as part of teaching and learning through Classroom-Based Assessment (PBD).

2. No more class streaming

Primary schools will no longer be segregating students based on their academic performance.  This is a big change as streaming has been practised for a long time, and this will mean pupils with mixed abilities will be put in the same class. Proponents say this will allow children of different abilities to help each other. Opponents say this will be tougher on lower-ability children, and is a challenge for teachers, who will have to vary their teaching methods in class and may not be able to focus on progressing the higher-ability children to the best of their potential.

3. No more LINUS programme

Beginning this academic year, there will be no more Literacy and Numeracy Screening programme (LINUS). The LINUS programme was first introduced in 2009 under the Education National Key Results Area (NKRA) to tackle the problem of primary school pupils who are weak in reading, arithmetic and writing skills (3Rs).

Education Ministry Director-General Datuk Dr. Amin Senin has said in place of LINUS, schools will now determine their own ways to tackle learning difficulties faced by their students.

4. Black shoes

The Education Ministry is implementing a gradual transition from the traditional white school shoes to the black version beginning 2019. What that means for parents who send their children to national schools is they can opt to buy black shoes for them or remain loyal to the white version. Well, at least until 2021, when the ministry is expected to fully enforce the policy.

5. Civics subject back in schools

If you remember, Civics was one of the subjects used to be taught in schools but it was removed from the school syllabus in November 2014. However, Dr. Maszlee reportedly said that the Civics and Citizenship Education (CCE) will be reintroduced in all primary and secondary schools in the middle of 2019 as a compulsory subject. He had also said that anti-graft related education will also be introduced through the CCE subject.

6. Lighter school bags

A study by the Education Ministry found that 28 percent of a school bag’s weight consists of textbooks, while the remaining 72 percent consists of stationery, uniforms and food, among others. Following the study, the Education Ministry had issued guidelines last year to help pupils lighten their school bags. The guidelines include rearranging the timetable so that there are between three and four subjects a day and setting up lockers in schools for books storage purposes. Teachers are also instructed to tell students clearly about the books they need to bring each day, as well as to reduce the number of exercise books for each subject.

7. Stateless or no documents? No problem!

Beginning this year, all stateless and undocumented children will be able to go to school just like any other school going children. There will be a move to simplify the registration process for children without citizenship into government schools. Parents with these children only need to provide relevant documents such as the child’s birth certificate, adoption papers or court orders.

 

Are you a parent with government school-going children? What are your thoughts on these new policies? Share your thoughts by writing to [email protected]

Kick off the year with fun activities for you and the family. Check out our list below for the month of January.

1. My Baby Expo 2019

My Baby Expo 2019 (MBE’19) caters to the needs of parents, with baby and kids’ products and services, as well as talks and presentations.

Dates and time: 4 – 6 January, 10AM-9PM
Venue: Setia City Convention Centre (SCCC), Setia Alam, Shah Alam

2. Our Sanrio Times

Hello Kitty and her friends are at Quill City Mall. The exhibition features 13 Sanrio-themed zones where visitors can take photos of 100 adorable Sanrio characters in a variety of colourful settings. More information here.

Dates: Until January 6
Venue: Quill City Mall

3. Mandarin for Kids

Mandarin for kids at the library at the School. For ages 5 to 12. Limited to 15 kids, call to book: 017 613 7787, 012 324 8018. Details here.

Date and time: 5 January, 2.30PM
Venue: PPAS, Jaya One

4. Nostalgia of Anak Kampung exhibition

Highlights of collections from Department of Museums Malaysia will bring back nostalgic memories of the life in the kampung from the 1960s to 1980s. Details here.

Date and time: Until 10 January
Venue: Central Hall, Muzium Negara

5. Coleman Bring Your Own Tent

Bring your Coleman tent and your family to enjoy camping and outdoor activities in Batang Kali. Registration required by 5 January here. Only 10 tent spots available, first come first served! Details here.

Dates: 19 and 20 January
Venue: Ontok-Ontok Chalet & Camp, Batang Kali

6. Backyard Birding for Kids

To-be ornithologists and other avid birdwatchers should join this event at FRIM. A bird expert from Malaysian Nature Society will guide the participants in the use of binoculars and identifying bird species. More info here.

Date and time: 19 January, 6.30 – 11.30AM
Venue: FRIM-MNS Nature Education Centre, FRIM Kepong

7. Little Ms. Qipao & Mr. Samfu Contest

Mark your calendar and watch these kids rocking the runway in our traditional costumes! Exciting prizes to be won. Get your dress ready, be bold and register now! Event info here.

Date and times: 19 January, 11AM to 3PM
Venue: Main Place Mall, USJ

8. A Chinese New Year Story

A pre-Chinese New Year celebration and storytelling session on some of the legends behind CNY – Nian the monster and the animals in the Chinese zodiac. A family activity for parents and kids aged 3 to 12. Details here.

Date and time: 26 January, 5PM
Venue: The Story Book, Arkadia, Desa Parkcity


Photo credits: My Baby Expo, Quill City Mall, PPAS, Muzium Negara, Coleman, Nature Education Centre FRIM, Main Place Mall and The Story Book.

This post is a collaboration between makchic and Happy Go KL.
Happy Go KL is the go-to site for fun family activities in KL and kid-friendly travel in Asia. It is written by a bunch of KL parents who want to share what they know and love about their hometown and this beautiful region.

 

Being a mom with work and social engagements, I rely on help from family to look after my two sons. Unfortunately, a day came when an emergency meant I was left to care for them on a week-long school holiday.

I had flexibility, but I needed my children to be looked after while I took a few hours to focus on work. In light of a recent infant’s death under the care of an unlicensed babysitter, it was important I find someone trained and certified.

It so happened I chanced upon Kiddocare, Malaysia’s first babysitting mobile platform. They provide professional and qualified babysitters to care for your children at the comfort of your own home, office or even hotel room. Having read rave reviews, I decided to give their services a try.

Registration and Booking

Parents must register and book using one of two methods depending on your mobile operating system. For Android users, it is via their app, and iOS via an online form. They are currently working on an iOS app.

The booking form for iPhone users did not have an option for reserving multiple sessions. I contacted Kiddocare for assistance. Despite being outside of their operating hours, I was tended to almost immediately. A solution was to submit my details and preferences via Whatsapp in which they processed my request manually.

Selection of Carer

Within the hour, a potential babysitter was identified based on my requirements. The team forwarded her profile and photo in a Whatsapp group chat initiated between Kiddocare and me. Chat groups are monitored closely by the team and are the medium of communication between carers and parents.

Once I made my decision, Kiddocare sent payment instructions. As soon as the transaction is complete, the babysitter, Amalina, was then added into the chat for formal introductions.

D-day

Babysitters are told to arrive 15-20 minutes ahead of schedule for formalities, familiarising themselves with your home and most importantly, your children.

Amalina arrived as expected and I filled in a form providing details such as emergency contacts, allergies, and house rules. I kissed my boys goodbye and left for work, confident that they were in good hands.

When I returned 10 hours later, I found my sons fast asleep with Amalina sitting by their bed. She handed her report, and I signed it off as she ended her shift.

Reaction from family and friends

I received mixed reactions from family and friends when I told them I used Kiddocare. The thought of having a person you’ve just met look after your children while you are away can be daunting to some.

I told them Kiddocarers have had their backgrounds screened, health checked and undergone psychometric tests. Kiddocare also reassured me that they also take safety seriously. All carers are CPR-trained and First Aid-Certified.

Reaction from my children

My children with Amalina

Like most children, my sons are slow to warm up to strangers. It was a surprise they bonded easily in such a short time. She was the first person they looked for upon waking up, and to me, that was a sign of a job well done.

I needed a babysitter again the day after, and my children insisted on Amalina. Requesting specific carers are possible but subject to availability. Most do not babysit on a full-time basis. Luck had it that she was available, and I hired her three times in total that week.

Points for parents

Kiddocarers do not cook or perform any household chores. Parents must provide meals for their children and carers will reheat accordingly.

A minimum of 2 hours booking is required, with an 8-hour notice provided in advanced. Their services are currently available in Klang Valley only though they are looking to expand in more locations in the future.

These are just general guidelines. Based on their Facebook and Instagram reviews, Kiddocare has been known to be accommodating to parents’ needs.

Photo: Kiddocare Facebook Group

Points for improvements

Their booking system for iOS does not cover multiple sessions. Parents need to fill the same form multiple times or contact the team for manual processing.

Payments are accepted only via online banking and Boost wallet. Credit card facilities have yet to be set up at the time of writing. The payment instructions could also use some enhancements as it is not as direct as other booking platforms.

Kiddocare is now my current go-to for babysitters. The professionalism of the team and carers went beyond my expectations. If you ever find yourself without help like me, or just wanting to take a break, I feel hiring a babysitter from Kiddocare is a great choice. To me, it means your children will be in safe hands.

Rating: ★★★★☆