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Monday, July 30, 2018

British Council Year-End Holiday Courses 2018

Learning English Through Science

Confident Speaking and Writing through Science and Technology

The theme for British Council Year-End Holiday Courses 2018 is Confident Speaking and Writing through Science and Technology. Science and Technology are broad and fascinating subjects which give children the chance to be creative, do experiments, get messy, make crafts, and learn more about the world around them. When children are engaged, motivated and having fun, English learning happens without them even noticing!

This holiday programme is excellent for students to be exposed to learning English in a fun way instead of the conventional textbook way they learn at school. ‘Confident speaking and writing through science and technology’, use a wide-range of topics to get students excited about using English to solve problems, present ideas and be creative. The course is focused on both speaking and writing skills.

Students are split into 4 age-groups, and each group will take part in experiments, make crafts, research, give presentations, and write about their discoveries, giving them opportunities to practice their public speaking skills as well as developing their writing skills.

Below are the course details for the different levels.
For 5 – 6 year olds

Students will explore topics such as ‘The Animal Kingdom’ and ‘The Solar System’ using English as the medium of instruction. They will take part in interesting activities such as
  • mysterious and fun science experiments, 
  • making crafty and colourful posters, and 
  • building the tallest tower. 
At the end of the workshop, they will write about their creations and have the opportunity to practice public speaking by presenting their projects to the group.

For 7 - 10 year olds

Students will learn about science, engineering, and computing, and write about and present their ideas. They will conduct exciting experiments with volcanoes, waves and wind power. They will tap on their higher order thinking skills (HOTS) and analytical thinking as they work in teams to complete different challenges in English. Students will achieve confidence in speaking by presenting their findings to the class.

For 11 - 13 year olds

Students will become "researchers" using technology to find answers to scientific problems. They will develop confidence in speaking by interviewing their classmates, and develop their writing skills by being journalists for a day, investigating and writing about natural disasters, living in zero gravity, and medical mysteries.

For 14 - 17 year olds

Students will work on scientific challenges such as building the strongest bridge, producing a detailed plan for an expedition, and recording a presentation about living on Mars. They will strategise, plan and collaborate with classmates to complete their assignments. This will drive them to fluently use English in speaking and writing, priming them for college readiness.

Course Details:

Confident Speaking and Writing through Science and TechnologyDate: 3 - 7 December 2018

Time: 6 1/2 hours per day including 1 1/2 hours of breaks (total of 25 hours classroom time)
Fee: RM940 *Early bird discount of 5% if  you register by 31 October 2018
Pax: Limited to 20 students per age group 

Venue: British Council @ Kuala Lumpur, The Curve and Penang centers
Contact: For more information or registration details, visit www.britishcouncil.my/holidays or call 03-2780 3894 (Kuala Lumpur / The Curve) or 04-202 0014 (Penang).

The following is also available at British Council, The Curve only

Confident Speaking and Writing through Art and Culture 
(available only at British Council, The Curve)
Date: 10 - 14 December 2018
Time: 6 1/2 hours per day including 1 1/2 hours of breaks (total of 25 hours classroom time)
Fee: RM940 *Early bird discount of 5% if  you register by 31 October 2018
Pax: Limited to 20 students per age group 

Venue: British Council @ The Curve
Contact: For more information or registration details, visit www.britishcouncil.my/holidays or call 03-2780 3894 (The Curve)
  • 7 – 10 year olds - making a musical instrument, planning a model town and writing a comedy script
  • 11 – 13 year olds - reinterpreting classic paintings, participating in a movie award show and giving a live performance of a self-written story
  • 14 – 17 year olds - writing a dialogue for a movie script, pitching an idea for a sculpture project and writing a limerick 
This post was brought to you by British Council Malaysia.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

10 Pencil Selection And Handwriting Tips For UPSR Candidates

When Is USPR 2018?

UPSR 2018 is just round the corner. It will be held on  20, 24-27 September 2018. You can get the full UPSR 2018 schedule and examination guidelines from the official portal of the Lembaga Peperiksaan Malaysia.

One of the most important preparation you need to do for your UPSR test is to get the right pencil for your exam. We have compiled 10 Tips to help you choose the right pencil for your UPSR exam below. These tips can be used for school term tests too.

1. Use The Right Pencil For Multiple Choice Or Objective Questions

Below is the screenshot of the exam guidelines or directive on pencils required for the UPSR exam. "Use only 2B or BB pencils"

Make sure you use the right pencil as prescribed in the exam guidelines. Avoid pressing on your pencil too hard or making holes on the answer sheet.

2. Use A Pencil That Can Give Wide Coverage For Fast Shading

When answering objective questions, make sure you shade the entire space. More importantly make sure you shade the right space. Sometimes candidates get the correct answer on the question paper but make a mistake of shading the wrong space when transferring their answers to the answer sheet.

3. Get A Pencil With Better Smudge Resistance For Cleaner Handwriting

In recent years, the introduction of HOTS questions and the newer UPSR format has seen a move towards more subjective questions which require a lot of writing. This is true for all of the subjects including the language papers.

It is important to get a better smudge resistance pencil to achieve cleaner, clearer handwriting. For example, the candidate below has nice handwriting but it is hard to read due to the smudge which makes the writing look thick and unclear.

4. Choose An Ideal Exam Lead Grade Pencil For Longer-Lasting Fine Writing

When writing English Essays, BM Karangan, or 作文, it is important to get exam grade writing pencils that won't become blunt easily compared to normal pencils. You want to keep writing, not sharpening or changing pencils which can be distracting and make you lose your train of thoughts

Here are some common handwriting mistakes to avoid during essay writing.

Wordings too close together 

Writing too small and alphabets too close together

5. Choose A Long Lasting Pencil With Strong Tips That Won't Break Easily 

It is important to get a pencil that does not break easily and last longer. As time is of the essence, you do not want to spend your time sharpening pencils during the exam. However, just in case, you should also make sure you have a few spare pencils at hand. Inspect and sharpen the pencils the night before the exam.

Tip Strength Test: Do the lead wear test by using your pencil during your trial examinations and school tests. Don't wait till your UPSR exam to use it.

6. Don't Forget To Do An Eraser Smudge Test

Good pencils should not leave a smudge or dark mark when you erase.

Smudge Test: Test your pencils out by writing your homework or school essays and erasing as you normally do. It is a good idea to do this test before and not at the exam hall.

7. Choose A Pencil With A Comfortable Grip

Does your pencil give you a comfortable grip?

Comfort test: Remember to get used to the grip by using your pencil before your test. Practice using your pencil during school tests or homework to get used to it. Do you feel comfortable or do your fingers hurt after using the pencil for some time.

8. The Outer Wood Should Be Smooth And Not Brittle

Good quality pencils should be smooth and not splinter easily when sharpening.

9. Use A Transparent Pencil Case For Your Pencils

The last tip is an exam tip rather than a tip on choosing pencils. During UPSR, candidates are not allowed to bring in their normal pencil cases. Pencil cases need to be transparent or see-through. It is allowed to tie the pencils and other stationery together using a rubber band.

10. The Importance Of  Clear Handwriting Should Not Be Underestimated

Make sure your script is legible. When the examiner has to mark hundreds of papers, clean, clear handwriting really stands out and makes it easier for the examiner to read and award points. Make sure you write neatly and evenly spaced out.

Good Luck to all UPSR 2018 Candidates!

This post was brought to you by STABILO Malaysia.

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Monday, July 23, 2018

Complete List of DLP Schools in Selangor

One of our biggest pet peeve is the difficulty in finding a proper list of all the schools doing the DLP (Dual Language Programme) including which school is doing it school wide and which school is doing it for selective classes only. We are into the 3rd year of DLP now and yet, this list is illusive.

One of the FAQs in our groups, the Malaysia Primary School Parents on Facebook and the Malaysia Secondary School Parent on Facebook is on DLP with the following question topping the list.

"Is ABC School doing the DLP?" 

If you go to the MOE website to search for "DLP" you will find the first list ie the 2016 list.

We compiled the 2016 and 2017 list for parents who asked, after digging very hard online. Finally, we managed to get the 2016 list from the MOE website and the 2017 list from the PPD Pasir Gudang site. The 2018 list remained a mystery for some time till a member shared it in our group. It came from a parents whatsapp group.

As the list is not cumulative, you need to look at all 3 if you wish to know which are the schools approved for DLP near you. Since parents obviously want to know this information when trying to decide for a school for their child whether in primary or secondary school, it would have been good to have a complete list available.

However, recently we discovered that there is such a list available for schools in Selangor from the Portal Jabatan Pendidikan Selangor.

Parents in Selangor who wish to find out the complete list of DLP Schools in Selangor can click on the link below to download the complete list of primary and secondary schools in Selangor approved to run the DLP (Dual Language Programme) for teaching Math and Science in English.

There are two lists available ie the primary school and secondary school list. The list is complete. It includes schools approved since the start of the DLP programme with the year shown next to the school name so you will know how long the school has been running the DLP.

Complete List of DLP Primary Schools in Selangor
Complete List of DLP Secondary Schools In Selangor

Credit: The above is from Portal Jabatan Pendidikan Selangor

For schools in all other states, you can check the lists below. Unlike the above, the lists below are non-cumulative. You need to view all lists to get the complete information.

3. Third Cohort (2018) List (This list was shared by a parent from our FB group) * You will only be able to visit this link if you are a member of the group.

1. No SJKC is running the DLP
2. All 76 SMJK is approved to run the DLP

You may also like to read:

What Parents Need To Know About DLP

Monday, July 16, 2018

Sekolah Sri KDU Mandarin Open Day to be held on 21 July 2018

One of the most frequently asked question in our Facebook group is "I want my child to study Chinese but I don't want to send them to SJKC. What options do I have?"

One option is to send your child to a private school with a trilingual environment like Sekolah Sri KDU

Mandarin at Sekolah Sri KDU

Mandarin is taught as a subject within the curriculum from Primary One to Secondary Three and thereafter it is available as an elective subject to Upper Secondary students.

Mandarin is taught at 3 levels at Sekolah Sri KDU – Basic, Intermediate and Advanced. The teaching and learning of Mandarin are not limited to academics. Students are exposed to Mandarin in a variety of ways including singing, public speaking and debating in Mandarin.

Mandarin is taught by experienced teachers like Ms Bong Sew Hwa who is the secondary school Mandarin teacher. Ms Bong believes that the influence of school during the adolescent years should not be underestimated. This is because children spend 8 hours in school each day with their teachers and classmates.

Sekolah Sri KDU helps to bring out the best in students by providing ample opportunities for student development through enhancement programmes such as projects that hone organisational and research skills, educational field trips which involve pre-trip (research and discussion), during trip (task sheets) and post-trip (reports and presentations) activities.

In an article recently featured in the Dreamic High Schools magazine, Ms Bong shared her experience about helping a student overcome many challenges. This same student scored 13 A’s in her SPM and went on to study at Imperial College London, one of the top universities in the world.
You can read her article below.

Sekolah Sri KDU is an approved DLP school

Sekolah Sri KDU  offers the Malaysian National Curriculum – KSSR (Primary) and KSSM (Secondary). As an approved DLP (Dual Language Programme) school, Sekolah Sri KDU teaches Mathematics and Science in English. Students study English, Mathematics and Science based on the Singapore and Cambridge Curricula which are conducted in English.

Sekolah Sri KDU Mandarin Open Day to be held on 21 July 2018

Parents, here is your chance to find out more about Sekolah Sri KDU. Their Mandarin Open Day will be held on 21 July 2018 from 10 am to 1 pm. Teachers will be available to answer your questions while students will bring you around to tour the school. During the Open Day, you can ask more questions about how Mandarin is taught at Sekolah Sri KDU. There will be discounts for registrations during the Open Day.

Event Details

Event: Sekolah Sri KDU Mandarin Open Day
Date: 21 July 2018
Time: 10am - 1pm
Location: No. 5 & 7, Jalan Teknologi 2/1 Kota Damansara,
47810 Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Facebook:  Sri KDU Schools

Map: As shown below

8 Things Parents Can Do At Home To Help Children Speak With Confidence In English

The Way To Improve In A Language Is To Speak It

Malaysian children have to learn two, sometimes three languages in school. It is a wonderful opportunity for our kids naturally, yet at the same time it can cause confusion. Kids may speak Chinese at home and learn Malay in school or speak Malay at home and speak Chinese at school.

When kids have to learn several languages at school and English is not the main medium of instruction, sometimes English conversational skills get pushed into the back burner. Even if you speak English at home, if you do not make it a point to speak proper English at home, your child's oral communication skills will decline.

Oral Communication Skills Are Important For Students

Oral communication skills are important for students. To be able to communicate effectively improves confidence. The ability to express oneself well helps students to work better in teams. It projects friendliness, creates emotional connections and improves social skills.

These are skills for life and will serve the student well later on in their professional life. English is a widely spoken language in the world and the main medium of instruction in many Universities worldwide. That is why it is important for your child to be able to converse well in English when they reach young adulthood pursuing tertiary education or career.

Knowing this many parents plan ahead by making sure their young children have the necessary English speaking skills to prepare them for the future.

8 Things Parents Can Do At Home To Help Children Speak With Confidence In English

1.  Speak proper English to your child. For young children start from words, progressing to phrases and full sentences.

2. Improve their English vocabulary by encouraging them to read English story books. Try different genres to increase their vocabulary and maintain interest. Read to them aloud when they are young and encourage them to read aloud to you.

3. Let them watch cartoons and shows in English, then discuss. Ask them lots of Why, What, Who or How questions.

4. Use interactive apps for learning English conversational skills to boost their spoken language. Here are some Learn English apps with English stories, audios and videos

5. Watch and sing English songs together. You can find plenty of fun English songs for kids on YouTube

6. Listen to English audio books

7. For older kids encourage them to read English newspapers, discuss and talk about current affairs in English

8. Motivate your child by giving praise when due. "Good job! You read that really well!"
The idea is to practice, practice and practice. The Way To Improve In A Language Is To Speak It.

This post was brought to you by British Council Malaysia. British Council Malaysia runs English language courses for kids and teens from ages 5 to 17. They employ highly qualified and experienced native English speaking teachers to give your child plenty of practice to speak, read and write with more confidence.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Children Deprived Of Computer Lessons With Blanket Ban On Computer Classes

One of the current hot topics being discussed in our FB group, The Malaysia Primary School Parents On Facebook group is the topic on the ban of computer classes during school hours.

There are many discussion threads on this issue with parents giving their opinion on whether and why computer classes should be banned or otherwise during school hours. In a mini poll we conducted,  244 parents said they preferred status quo as before where computer classes was carried out during schooling hours with payment of fee. 79 parents voted for cancellation of computer classes during school hours. Computer classes should be after school activity with payment of fee.

Computer Classes In SJKC Before The Ban

Most SJKC have a fully equipped computer lab. Before the ban, computer classes were part of the school time-table. Payment of fee was required to attend these classes which are outsourced because they are not part of the national syllabus. The fee varied from school to school with some charging from RM10 per month for a once in a week class. Payment of this fee was mostly compulsory in some of the schools.

What Do The Children Learn At Computer Class?

Here's what some parents shared.

P1: hardware, word, powerpoint, excel, and intro to coding using scratch.
P2: same as the above, more in depth and more emphasis on coding.

I was just looking at the computer book that my boy's school uses. For P5, the contents are:
My First Webpage
Understanding Webpage Editor
I am the Webmaster
Linking Webpages
Uploading webpages
Convenient Cloud Applications

In recent years, there has been a shift to a more student centric learning with students encouraged to work together in teams for projects. These skills are useful in their project presentations. Coding is of course a useful skill to learn in the digital world we now live in.

Why The Call For A Ban

The above circumstance was not ideal because it had created a situation where the collection of the fees was not transparent. Since it was not part of the school syllabus, those who did not wish to attend the classes felt it should not be compulsory.

As a result there was a call for the ban of computer classes during school hours and after an audit on alleged illegal computer classes in vernacular Chinese schools, eventually the MOE ordered a blanket ban on all SJKCs to cease computer classes during school hours.

Is A Blanket Ban The Solution?

Let's have a look at what happened immediately after the ban.

Since computer classes are not allowed during schooling hours. At a glance, the solution seems simple. Conduct computer lessons after schooling hours as a cu-curriculum activity. Simple right? Wrong.

Let's have a look at a hypothetical case of a Chinese school with 6 classes for each standard (Many Chinese schools have more than this, some up to 10 or more). Let's say each of these classes have 40 students. In this cases 6 classes x 6 standards x 40 students per class = 1440 students. Let's say the school has a computer lab with 50 computers. It is not a problem to schedule those 1440 students at different times according to the school timetable but the headache begins when you try to schedule 1440 students into one computer lab for one extra cu-curricular session. You will need to schedule many sessions. 

To add to this problem, try fitting these extra sessions into an already packed schedule of many other types of curricular activities being offered by SJKC. Add siblings who have to go home at different times into the picture and you have a bigger headache.

At the end of the day, what some schools have done is to scrap computer lessons all together or stop those for lower primary while leaving the upper primary students to fight for a place in the computer lab.

Some schools scheduled the classes on a Saturday. Would you send your kids to school on a Saturday just to attend an hour of class?

As a result many kids became deprived of computer classes instantly. When enrollment drops, price increases so the affordable computer classes is no longer affordable.

This is the scenario which we are faced with now.

Let's See What Parents Had To Say 

We left out names to protect the privacy of the parents.

There is zero lab space and time available for P1, P2 and P3 after class. They only have enough for P4, 5 & 6. So to those people who didn't want Computer classes and claim can have it after school, NO they can't. Get facts right before suggesting it. 

We already have a set schedule and now, if we want to join computer classes, we need to drop another activity. Should have just maintained.

My daughter is so sad that computer class replaced with chess instead. since lab space is not enough.

My son's school abolished computer class outright. So the class dismisses an hour earlier

Squeezing 2 classes into 1 lab. 100 kids sharing 50 computers. Affecting additional pickup time for parents for kids not joining, they dismiss school early.

The cost to learn computers has gone up both in monetary terms and intangible time used.

My cihld's school has stopped computer lessons for p1 to p3, p4 to p6 attend comp class after school.

Both my kids and myself are totally disappointed that the computer class has to be cancelled. The school charges RM 10 per month for a weekly one-hour lesson. The kids really look forward to computer class every week. They get to learn how to use microsoft office and other things, and of course some free time for games once the work is done. 

Even though the computer class is in the time table, but i don't think it affects any of the other subject lesson time.

It will be impossible for my kids' school to run it after-school hour as it is a two-session school, there won't be enough classrooms... how many parents are willing to send the kids on a Saturday just for one hour optional computer class?

The general view point and the disappointment felt across parents and children has been clearly spoken above.  No arrangement yet as we lack facilities to accommodate everybody. If we even manage to fit in a class, we already have to stay back for after school other activities plus compulsory tuition classes , how to accommodate another after school class?

My son is so disappointed that there is no more computer class. They study coding. Now, they end their Monday & Tuesday class early by 30 mins. What's the point?

I still cannot understand why those who complained did so in the beginning. How is fees being raise by 5 fold, time slots greatly reduced, and children having to stay back later just for this class work for the greater good?

I very much doubt the school can accomodate P1-6 having comp classes after school and/or weekends. Not enough free slots and computers. My kid actually lamented "How come the tadika kids can have computer class but we cannot?"

I'm very, very disappointed with both the "parent group" who advocate for this cancellation idea & MOE for not studying the pros & cons in details before implementation.

If Blanket Ban Is Not The Solution Then What Is?

The schools alleged in the misappropriation of funds should be audited and measures should be in place to make sure that all schools should be transparent in the use of  funds. That is something all parents want to see.

Since the computer classes is a fee paying subject which is not part of the national syllabus but one that is outsourced, it should not be made compulsory. The classes can be conducted on the last period of the day with those opting out allowed to go home earlier or go to the library to do some reading or homework.

The PIBG must get approval of parents and with these approvals send a written letter to the ministry to allow such classes to be carried on. (the earlier support letters had been declared null and void)

Do you have any other recommended solutions? We would love to hear it.

We hope the MOE will have a re look into this matter. It is a sad thing to deprive kids of computer lessons in schools which already have the facilities and existing lessons in place just because of a couple of unfortunate cases. 

We hope that the MOE will listen to the voices of parents. Sometimes groups which advocate for a certain cause may not represent the whole.

Of course the ideal is to have free computer lessons for all with teachers trained by the ministry and syllabus by the ministry but until we get to that point, we hope that cheap computer lessons for kids that cannot afford it can be continued in SJKC the way it was before.

Share this post if you agree.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Tugasan Geografi PT3 2018 (Geography Assignment For PT3 2018)

Since our post is in English, we will first translate the question into English using Google Translate to help us better understand the question. The translation may not be 100% (but Google Translate is getting better all the time now).

In this year's Geography Assignment, "candidates are required to conduct a study on land use in your residential or school area. Land use refers to all human activities that transform and adapt the ground to meet human needs."

The map review should include the following: 

3.1.Background of the study area 
3.2.Drawing a sketch map showing the land-use distribution in the study area
3.3 Describe the sketch map showing the distribution of land use in the study area 
3.4 Identify a major land use in the study area and describe the factors affecting the land use 
3.5 Identify and describe the impact of the land use on the environment studied in 3.4 
3.6 Proposed efforts to overcome the impact of the land use 
3.7 Presenting the results of the study

As usual, we curate the best places you can go for information to help you answer the question.

PT3 2018 Geography Assignment Question (Soalan Tugasan Geografi PT3 2018)
To view the actual question in Malay, go to this teacher's blog. Of course, you probably have the question in your hands so it is not really necessary. 

What is "Guna Tanah"?

The first thing the candidate should understand is the term "guna tanah". You can head on over to MyPT3 website for their definition of the term in this post: Apa Definisi dan Maksud Guna Tanah Geografi Pt3. While you are there, remember to browse around for other helpful information to help you with this year's Geography Assignment for PT3 (2018).

Examples of "Guna Tanah" Sketch Maps

The Bumi Gemilang website has plenty of examples or Contoh Peta Lakar. In addition, you can visit the links to help you with the steps and guide on how to draw them. You can also read up on the impact to the environment, using the example of "pertanian" in one of the links.

Sample Answers (Contoh Jawapan Tugasan Geografi PT3 2018)

Here are a few sample answers to refer to. Remember, no copying. These are references to help you to answer the question and are not to be copied lock, stock and barrel.

Other Useful References

Time Frame

Students have to complete this assignment in 12 lessons or 360 minutes from 8 July to 27 July 2018 from start to finish. Go here for the full PT3 2018 Exam Calendar

Good Luck to all PT3 2018 candidates. Enjoy your assignment!

Monday, July 02, 2018

6 Easy Ways To Reduce The Weight Of School Bags

Special Message to the Ministry of Education

We are a group of  over 27 500 parents on Facebook who are very concerned and involved in our children's education.  When conducting surveys and seeking ideas, we urge you to make use of us. We thank you in advance for listening to our voices.

Parent Tested Ways For  Reducing Bag Loads

Have you ever carried a bag of 5 kg rice? It feels heavy doesn't it? Unfortunately, some of our kids have to carry a load heavier than this to schools EVERY day. Some separate the load into 2 or 3 bags and on days when they have to pass up a project or artwork, they may look like they are going for a trip with all  hands full while pulling a bag that looks very much like a travel bag along.
To manage the weight, parents buy expensive ergonomic bags and trolley bags for their children. If you stand at the foot of the school stairways at the beginning or end of a school day, you can hear the kids bumping up and down the stairs. Bang! Bang! Bang! they go. They are told to carry, not drag but its too heavy for them to carry their loads all the way up the stairs. This is because they have to do a balancing act as their hands are full with the other hand  holding on to a hand carry bag or recycling bag and sometimes an art block or project. With only one hand to carry, you can't blame them for dragging their bags.

The topic of the weight of bags has been discussed for years on our Facebook group. Our next favourite topic is 
  • "What bag shall I buy? Trolley bag or backpack" followed by 
  • "Where can I find a shop to repair my damaged bag or trolley?" 
Yes, unfortunately damaged bags, straps, trolleys and wheels is a frequently discussed topic in our group.

Parents wonder why this problem has been going on for years. Is it very difficult to resolve? No. It is not difficult at all. All you need to do is ask the parents! We have over 27, 600 members who can give plenty of ideas to easily resolve this issue. Let's look at some of them. We'll just break it into ...

6 Easy Ways To Reduce The Weight Of School Bags 

1. Adjust the time table to reduce the number of subjects per day

The ministry announced a reduction of subjects to just 3 or 4 a day. It is a no brainer and we wonder why this was not implemented years ago. Anyway, we hope that with good implementation and monitoring, the load can be reduced going forth. 

A couple of years ago, one parent weighed 7 textbooks before and after she split the textbooks. The weight of 7 textbooks was 2.46 kg. After she split the books to only the relevant chapters for her child to bring to school, the weight of the 7 "textbooks" was 482 g. Similarly a reduction in number of subjects per day will have an immediate impact like this. 

One parent lamented: "For all the 5 main subjects for std 5 for example, each one is around 200+ pages! Why don't MOE split the text books into Jilid 1, 2 or 3 like the case for lower primary? I really don't understand.". Perhaps something can be done about that in the longer term.

This can be done at school level under the instruction of the MOE.

2. Reduce the number of exercise books

We are surprised that this easy solution was not even mentioned at all. The survey by the MOE lumped exercise books together with private workbooks. This should  not have been done so because exercise books is another separate problem all together. They add to the weight of the school bags just as much as private workbooks do. 

Did you know that children may carry up to 5 or more exercise books for a single subject? Take BM for example, they may have BM1, BM2, Tatabahasa, Ejaan, Karangan, Bina Ayat etc. That's only one subject mind you. It is the same for other language subjects. So multiply that by the number of subjects taken and do the math. Speaking of Math, sometimes there is Math 1, Math 2 and Math 3 exercise books and so on.

Many children resort to carrying an additional hand carry bag specifically for exercise books and folders. (In upper primary, some have to carry folders for karangan and past year papers practice).

A simple solution? Reduce the number of exercise books per subject to just two. We understand that the teacher may be marking one while the student is doing homework on the other. There is no need for so many categories. Have a look at the exercise books vs text book ratio as this frustrated parent did.

This measure can be introduced at school level.

3. Introduce Modular Text books

Some worried parents resorted to buying extra textbooks, tearing them up and gluing, taping or putting only relevant chapters in folders to reduce the weight. This did reduce the load but how many people can afford to buy extra only to deface the book by tearing? A solution would be to introduce modular textbooks where children can bring only relevant chapters as done by some of these parents. (Not all schools allowed this modification of textbooks by the innovative parents)

These "books" have been "modified" or given a "textbook surgery" as one parent put it. Even with 5 subjects for the day, the books weigh a lot less.

Currently we do have Jilid 1 and Jilid 2 for some books especially in lower primary. We have 2 semesters separated by a mid term break. Each of the semesters have a shorter mid semester break in between. Effectively, this means 4 separate terms. 4 Jilids may be a good starting point if a chapter per module is not practical.

This measure needs to be introduced at MOE level.

4. Remove Unnecessary Textbooks

Why do we even need a textbook and exams (?!) for Pendidikan Jasmani dan Kesihatan? Nutrition and health can be covered in Science. Primary school kids learn about stretching exercises and how to do jumping jacks etc while secondary school kids learn the rules of certain games like badminton or football in topics covered in these textbooks.

This is physical education. Just get the kids out in the field for some real physical activity and let them learn while playing. There is no need for books (hand out leaflets if necessary) and certainly not exams! for subjects like physical education and art.

A good relook and revamp of the syllabus to reduce overlapping subjects may be necessary but we won't go into that in this post.

This measure needs to be introduced at MOE level.

5. Reduce private workbooks and other books like resource books or dictionaries

The reduction of private workbooks has been introduced since last year with some positive results. (We hope that the ministry will continue to monitor this). Why not extend this to other books like "Buku Sumber" and dictionaries (Yes, very thick and heavy dictionaries for several languages). In upper primary some language teachers require the kids to bring English, Chinese or BM dictionaries to school during lessons. Though it is a good thing to teach kids to learn how to use dictionaries, perhaps the school could provide some dictionaries for students to share among themselves in class. This would encourage teamwork and sharing too.

See that dictionary in there? It adds a lot of weight to an already heavy bag.

This measure can be introduced at school level  or under the direction of MOE

6.  Provide simple bookshelves or boxes for storage

It may not be practical or financially viable to install lockers in every school throughout the country but there are other forms or simple and cheaper alternatives. Lockers do not have to be expensive steel ones with keys like the ones you see in American movies.

Storage can be in the form of cheaper plastic boxes or wooden cupboards. In this classroom, tired parents took up to installing the "lockers" themselves. It took one parent to donate some used office furniture and several parents to put it up in one day. These cupboards/shelves do not have keys but they are numbered accordingly for the children to store books, stationery and heavy boxes of crayons etc.

This measure can be introduced at school level or under the direction of the MOE.

Simple? There are many more suggestions but we have shared only the most simple which can be implemented easily, without too much difficulty by schools and teachers with immediate results.

Dear parents, if you care about your child's back, please share this post so that these methods may be considered.

We hope to say goodbye to heavy school bags like the ones shown below.

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