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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Starting Early To Plan Beyond SPM




Today we attended the scholarship interview for 2020 sessions at Sunway College. 

Here are examples of some of the sponsorship interview questions asked for A levels sponsorship at Sunway. 

"Tell me about your family and yourself
Tell me about your extra co-curricular activities and leadership positions
Tell me about something that is happening in Malaysia
Tell me about something that is happening outside of Malaysia right now. Please give specifics.
What will you change if you were the Prime Minister of Malaysia and why" 

There were two interviewers to each candidate. Besides A levels, interviews were also being held for other pre-u courses like MUFY, AUSMAT etc.
When your child is in Form 5, you have to start exploring their tertiary education pathways. You explore everything and apply for some (scholarships) so that your window of opportunity is wider. Nowadays it is quite competitive among the private colleges so they start offering scholarships not only on trial exam results but also on mid term exam results. Today's crowd for the scholarship interview was about 400 approved out of over 1000 which applied. The interview is to try to get a higher quantum. 

The Sunway scholarship has no bond and can be transferred to other pre-u courses if you change your mind about A levels. If you are not particular about studying locally, try to encourage your child to have the best results possible so they can apply for matriculation as well and apply for that too. 

If your child is in Form 3, it is time to expose them to different jobs and careers to find their interest. By Form 4, it is time to start attending higher education fairs. It is not too early to start visiting a few open days to have a better idea of what is available and what you can afford etc. 

With hindsight, we realize that planning for tertiary education should be long term and worked backwards. Look ahead at what you think might be a good career path for your children and then work backwards by guiding them even from primary school. Your school choices will depend on your tertiary education level choices too. 

In any case, children should be taught to work hard so that they will be able to go for academically heavy courses should they choose to. They should be given opportunities to lead, to interact socially with peers, to work in teams, to think out of the box so that the doors open to them will be wider with more opportunities.

Many children, even at secondary school level do not know what they really want so it is up to parents to guide them and give them the support they need for the next most important journey in their academic lives before starting work.

Hope this sharing is useful to some of you with children in secondary school.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Where To Get The Latest Information About the Haze and API Readings


With the haze back, we are suddenly watching API numbers go up and down like stock market prices. We have no choice because we need to know whether schools will be closed so we can plan our schedules. This is even more so for homes where both parents are working.

So, where do we go for the latest information about the haze and API readings and the latest announcements on school closures?

The KPM (Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia) has already stated that schools may be closed once the API goes above 200.  So naturally the very first thing we should look at are the API numbers.



Where do you get the latest API numbers? There are so many sites and apps. We suggest looking at APIMS (Air Pollutant Index of Malaysia) by DOE (Department of Environment) Malaysia, which gives an hourly reading of the API so you can see the trend ie whether it is on the rise or going down.
The APIMS has mobile apps as well for iOS as well as Android phones for those who are prefer using their mobiles. the APIMS app is called MyIPU.

The APIMS hourly readings on desktop looks like this



The mobile app of APIMS by DOE Malaysia is called MyIPU. It looks like this. At this point of writing which is 9am, 20th September 2019, you can see that the API reading or 24 hours Air Pollutant Index for Sri Aman, Sarawak is on the rise again and has reached a harzadous level of 414.


Next, you should visit the KPM Facebook to find out the latest press release. The press release will be one step behind the APIMS because it will take time to update the names of schools affected.

Finally, you can read the online newspapers if you wish to read some extra articles. 

The reason is because the newspapers wait for the KPM's press releases while the KPM prepares the release after checking the API readings. 

Do not confuse yourself looking at various websites, Facebook pages, online newspaper portals etc trying to find the latest info.

Check for the latest information in the following order:

1. Check latest API readings from APIMS by DOE Malaysia (Department of Environment)
- on iOS Apple devices MyIPU app (on Apple app store)
- on Android devices MyIPU app (on Google play store)

2. Check latest press release from KPM Facebook page (Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia FB Page)

3. Read online newspaper portals if you wish to read articles pertaining the haze situation

Let's hope that the wind and rain comes to blow away the haze soon. Not only for the sake of our health but also to get back to normal routine as quickly as possible. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

10 Things You Need To Know About The Free Breakfast Programme

Yesterday, the Ministry of Education, Malaysia announced that starting January 2020, free breakfast will be available for all children in primary school all over the country.

The Free Breakfast Programme is called the Programme Sarapan Percuma or PSP and will be referred to as PSP in later parts of this article.

As soon as we shared this news with parents in the Malaysian Primary School Parents on Facebook group, we had a flurry of questions including


- What time will the children need to be in school for the free breakfast?
- How long will the breakfast be?
- How will they cater to the different dietary restrictions, vegetarian etc?
- Our school has so many students that we have to split the recess into two sessions. How will everyone be able to have the free breakfast at the same time?
- What about afternoon session kids?
- Will they feed our children with nutritious food?
- Who will monitor the food being distributed?


As usual, parents are split on their opinion regarding this. Some welcomed it as it will be good to help the needy. Busy working parents also welcomed it as they don't have to rush to prepare breakfast while there are others who said they prefer to provide their own homemade breakfast at home.

Today, the ministry came up with a FAQ on the Free Breakfast Programme, also called the PSP (Program Sarapan Percuma). You can read the entire FAQ here.






We summarize some of the points that parents have been asking below:

1. What is the Objective of the PSP?

- to provide a balanced and nutritious meal and encourage healthy habit of eating breakfast

2. Who is the PSP for?

- 2.7 million students in all government and government-assisted primary schools

3. What about preschool and secondary school students?

- preschool and secondary school students are not included in the PSP

4. When will the PSP be implemented?

- starting from the academic year 2020

5. How will the Free Breakfast Programme be managed and who will be responsible for providing the food?

- the PSP will be managed in the same way as the existing Supplementary Food Programme (RMT) and the food will be prepared by the school's canteen operator.

6. What time will the students have their breakfast under the PSP?

- 30 minutes between 7.00 am - 8.30 am for morning session and 12.00 pm - 4 pm for afternoon session

7.  How much does the breakfast cost for each student?

The Education Ministry is studying the right cost to ensure that all students can enjoy good and quality dishes.

8. How will the Education Ministry determine the menu and guarantee the quality?

- through continuous discussion with the Malaysian Ministry of Health and nutrition experts in a few local universities

- the Ministry of Education  is in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry and nutrition experts in local universities to ensure the quality of breakfast provided.

9. Was there a pilot project conducted for the PSP?

- a pilot project was conducted in a few schools since early August and expected to end in October 2019. The Ministry of Education will take the appropriate approach to implement a better and comprehensive PSP

10. What about the funds allocation for PSP? Is it coming from the sugar tax?

A Special Committee will be established to discuss in detail the allocation that will be used for PSP. The use of funds from sugar tax is part of the proposals that will be looked at by this committee.

While this is a good initiative to feed the needy as well as to establish and encourage good habit of eating breakfast, we hope that the implementation of it will run smoothly so that there is no wastage and that there will be proper quality assurance on the cleanliness of the meals and that the meal provided will be a good and well balanced one.

Perhaps there should also be some sort of form for parents to complete for those who would like to take up their allocation so that there will be no wastage since there are some who either prefer to make their own food or because of the timing, prefer not to participate in the PSP.







Monday, August 19, 2019

Sunway Putra Mall is Malaysia's First Autism Friendly Mall



Did you know that Sunway Putra Mall is Malaysia's First Autism Friendly Mall?

What does "Autism Friendly Mall" mean? 

It means the mall provides an inclusive shopping experience for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The mall has an autism –friendly initiative, called ‘Autsome’ which was introduced to address the needs of the autism community, especially parents with autistic children as this
allows them to enjoy a stress-free day.

At Sunway Putra Mall, every Tuesday is designated as Autism Friendly Shopping Day with dimmed lights and lowered volumes at common areas, reserved parking and shopping assistance for its 1000 Autsome members registered with the mall.

Calm Room At Sunway Putra Mall

Recently the mall completed its second Calm Room.  The Calm Room is located at a private area away from the hustle and bustle of the shopping mall. The room uses a facial recognition system exclusively only for Autsome members. 

The Calm Room is equipped with calming elements that help to ease stress when one’s sensory is overstimulated. The room also provides a sense of security and warmth. The Calm Room is painted in blue to set the tone for a calming experience and since individuals with autism are sensitive to bright lights, fibre optic. Warm lights are used in cloud shapes to soften the ambience in the room.
Essential oil is diffused into the room with a gentle scent which leads to a deep sense of relaxation. Bean bags, throw pillows and weighted blankets are provided for individuals with autism to relax.


Those who prefer to do quiet activities on their own can go to the  Art & Reading Corner that gives a cozy nook for one to read books, play jigsaw puzzles, doodle and more. The Calm Room includes a Sensory Wall, a tactile collage with a selection of textured materials on the wall. There’s also a Sensory Play Area that provides intriguing toys and musical instrument.




Go here to find out more about "Autsome" and how to become a member.



Monday, July 01, 2019

Goodbye Frog VLE, Hello Google Classroom


Recently the Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia (Ministry of Education Malaysia) announced the cessation of Frog VLE to be replaced by Google Classroom with effect from 1st July, 2019. 


The press release by the Ministry of Education below gives you more details about this changeover from FROG VLE to Google Classroom



What is Frog VLE?


Frog VLE was introduced in 2011. It is 2019 now yet many parents still ask this question "What is Frog VLE? To this day many parents are still unfamiliar with it. Not only parents but schools, teachers and students too. Many parents do not even know or have forgotten the one-time password provided by the school to "hop in". Its okay now because parents no longer have to "hop in" as Frog VLE is "hopping out" from Malaysian schools.

It is not the system which was flawed but the lack of education on how to use. At the end of the day, it became a white elephant.

From personal experience, I found the page to be filled with too many irrelevant advertisements. Our kids were told to surf into the page every now and then, I suspect to fulfil some KPIs. That was during primary school. Their secondary school utilized it better as they do get assignments where they have to go to the system to retrieve and complete.  Schools deferred in their usage of the services offered.

In fact there are e-textbooks available for free at a time when e-textbooks could not be found anywhere else but many parents did not know how to use them.

The learning curve for teachers on how to use the system to give out homework and quizzes and for students to learn how to use it was not overcome for some schools. A few schools managed to cross the hurdle and make the most of it and it is those schools which benefited from it but sadly it was not utilized by all schools in this manner.

That's in the past now and parents no longer have to worry about What is Frog VLE. Instead, lets look forward to Google Classroom.

What is Google Classroom?



Google Classroom is a free web service, developed by Google for schools, that aims to simplify creating, distributing, and grading assignments in a paperless way. The primary purpose of Google Classroom is to streamline the process of sharing files between teachers and students. Read more in Wikipedia. It is free to use for anyone with a Google account to use. If you have a google account, you can go to Google Classroom and sign in to see the interface for yourself.

The interface is simple and clean. Teachers can assign homework, comment on and grade student's work online. It utilizes several of Google's other service including Google Drive for assignment creation and distribution, Google Docs, Sheets and Slides for writing, Gmail for communication, and Google Calendar for scheduling. Teachers can also add YouTube videos in their content for students.

You can read more about the Google Classroom FAQ here and do watch the video below on Google Classroom 101 for a quick understanding of What is Google Classroom.

If you wish to know even more about the progress and status of teacher training on Google Classroom, you can join the telegram group set up by the Ministry for teachers. Anyone with a telegram messenger account can join the group and view the discussion here: https://t.me/googleclassroomtraining  Currently there are 14436 members and 3,531 members online as we write this post. There will be more to come so be prepared to have lots of notification from it if you are interested in following what the teachers are saying about the system.

Are you looking forward to the change?



Thursday, June 27, 2019

Sri Emas International School Tour and Free Trial Classes



Over the weekend, Sri Emas International School took part in the 2019 Private and International School Fair (PISF) held at MidValley Exhibition Centre.

In the span of 2 days, they were delighted and inspired to be able to meet and interact with so many like-minded families, who believe in providing the best of future education to their children.




Didn't manage to catch them? Never worry! Their doors are always open to you so feel free to drop by the school for a tour and a chance to experience their teaching and learning environments through their FREE 3-day trial classes! 

All you need to do is schedule an appointment with them through: tel (03-7865 5787)  or email: enquiry@sriemas.edu.my 




Monday, June 24, 2019

Teaching Kids To Say No To Sexual Harassment Video Series by KPWKMTV

Today the KPWKM (Kementerian Pembangunan Wanita Keluarga dan Masyarakat) or The Women, Family, and Community Development Ministry launched a series of educational videos on sexual harrassment of children on KPWKMTV.

The videos can be used by parents, guardians and educators to educate children on sexual harrassment and teach them how to say No including how to react in situations where sexual predators try to take advantage of them.

Currently there are 5 videos depicting different situations which children may encounter with people whom they know or even relatives. The videos are aimed at preschoolers and are useful for primary school going kids too.

The 5 videos depict the follow 5 possible sexual harrassment situations

  1. Sexual harrassment by private tutor
  2. Meeting a flasher in the park 
  3. A relative taking inappropriate photos of child
  4. Inappropriate touching by friends while playing together
  5. Sexual harrassment by teacher or tutor
All of the videos teach the to say No to Bad touch. They teach children to shout, run and inform a trusted adult or their parents, ending with their parents or guardian calling up the Help Line numbers provided and the perpetrator being caught.


This is a very good initiative. By watching the videos together with their children, parents can more easily explain the different possible sexual harrassment scenarios and teach their children what to do. At the end of each video, contact numbers of Talian Kasih 15999 (for guidance) and Help Line 999 (for emergencies) are included. These are help line numbers to contact for assistance.

Below are the first 3 videos. You can go to the KPWKMTV YouTube channel to watch the rest of the videos. Let's make this campaign a success by subscribing to the channel, sharing and making use of the videos!


Subscribe here: KPWKMTV YouTube Channel




Sexual Harrassment by private tutor scenario


Flasher in the park scenario


Relative taking inappropriate photos scenario

Watch more videos here.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Visit the 13th Private & International School Fair in Kuala Lumpur this June!




There are over 150 international schools in Malaysia today. Approximately 100 international schools have opened in the last decade, reflecting the demand of international education by local and expatriate parents alike. The number of schools started to catapult when the requirement of having a quota for local students in international schools was lifted in 2012. Parents today have more options than ever before when it comes to their children’s education.

However, the search for the right school can be overwhelming for parents who are new to the international school scene. Each school operates independently and differ from one another in terms of curricula offered, location, fee structure, teaching staff, ethos and learning environment. Settling for a suitable school is a time consuming process involving research, school visits and financial planning.

Organised by Mint Communications, the Private & International School Fairs aim to help parents with the search for schools by connecting them to leading international schools in Malaysia all under one roof. The upcoming 13th Private & International School Fair in Kuala Lumpur will be held on 22 & 23 June 2019 at the Mid Valley Exhibition Centre, Kuala Lumpur. Opening hours are from 11am to 7pm, and admission is free.

Visitors will have the opportunity to speak to representatives from international schools, preschools, learning centres, pre-university providers and special educational needs centres from all over Malaysia.

Exhibitors at the upcoming fair include Dwi Emas International School, HELP International School, Kingsgate International School, Kingsley International School, MAHSA International School, R.E.A.L Schools, Sayfol International School, St. Joseph’s Institution International School Malaysia, Taylor’s International School and Tenby Schools. A number of schools exhibiting at the fair also offer boarding facilities such as Epsom College in Malaysia, Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar and Westlake International School.


Click here for the full list of exhibitors and sponsors. 

A number of exhibitors are also offering special discounts, fee waivers and scholarship offers exclusively for visitors of the fair. View the latest list of special offers here

In addition, the fair will feature the 2nd PISF Poetry Slam 2019! Students from both national and international schools will perform original poems in front of a live audience and stand a chance to win attractive cash prizes. Visitors can also attend exciting workshops over the fair weekend to learn about the art of performing poetry, robotics, app designing and brush lettering, among others.

View the latest workshop schedule here

The 2019/2020 edition of the Education Destination Malaysia guidebook will be sold at the fair at a discounted price. The guidebook is an in-depth and comprehensive guide to international education in Malaysia. It contains detailed information on schools, useful articles, infographics and insightful advice to help parents decide on an international school for their children.

Register at www.pisf.asia to receive the latest updates on the fair via email!

Event details at a glance:

13th Private & International School Fair in Kuala Lumpur
Date    : 22 – 23 June 2019 (Saturday and Sunday)
Time    : 11:00am – 7:00pm
Venue  : Mid Valley Exhibition Centre

For media enquiries, please contact the following:
Caron Lai
MINT COMMUNICATIONS SDN BHD
(Company No. 701835-T)
TEL: +603-7986 0070 FAX: +603-7986 0072
Email: caron.lai@mint-communications.asia



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