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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. 

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