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Two teachers die, two others injured in car crash

Two female teachers died and two others were injured when the car they were travelling in skidded before ending in a river bank, near Merotai Bridge at Kilometre 32 of Jalan Tawau-Merotai here, this morning.


Tawau district police chief ACP Peter Umbuas said in the 6 am incident, the deceased were identified as Dayana Damsah, 27, and Nurizyani Kafli, 24, while Nurzairah Aladin, 35, sustained severe chest injuries.


The 38-year-old driver of the car was slightly injured,” he said in a statement here.




He said the teachers were attached to Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Umas-Umas.


According to investigations, the driver lost control of the vehicle which skidded to the right side of the road and struck the bridge causing the car to veer six metres in the direction of the river bank,” he said


At the time of the crash, the teachers were on their way to the school.


Source: BERNAMA News Agency

School session to start on Jan 20, 2021 – Radzi Jidin


KUALA LUMPUR, The school opening date for the first term of the 2021 session nationwide is set for Wednesday, Jan 20.


Senior Minister of Education Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin said that the date was set based on the 2021 calendar that had been finalised.


He said that the term calendar and school holidays for the year 2021 were prepared by taking into account various aspects that were affected by the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) following the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.




“Hence, the solution to the challenges that arise during this period, of course, requires an unusual approach and method. The same goes for the context of amendments to the school and examination calendars.


“Based on this new date, we will open (school) much later than usual. The school calendar for 2020 has been amended by maximising the duration of school days and reducing the year-end holidays,” he said when winding up the debate on the motion of thanks for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s royal address at the Dewan Rakyat sitting, here today.


Radzi said that the reduction in the year-end holiday will allow students to have an adequate face-to-face learning period in preparation for the following year.



This is because there are weaknesses in the implementation of teaching and learning (PdP) through home-based learning methods throughout the MCO period.


He said that the method was something new among teachers, students and parents, apart from the fact that many students could not follow online learning due to limited access to communications technology.


“If this situation continues, students will have difficulty in achieving the minimum level of mastery in each subject they take. This will affect the students’ interest and motivation to continue learning.


“The ministry has thoroughly conducted research for the medium and long term to ensure that students at least achieve the minimum level of mastery in each of their subjects,” he said.


He said that the ministry had also conducted a study on student readiness in online learning from March 28 to April 2 involving 670,118 parents with 893,331 students.


He explained that the findings of the study showed that six per cent of students have personal computers; laptops (9.3 per cent); tablets (5.8 per cent); and 46.5 per cent own a smartphone.


However, at the same time, there are still 36.9 per cent of school students who do not have any smart devices to enable them to follow online learning, he said.


“These findings show that most students are unable to follow online learning effectively because they don’t have a suitable device … there are also constraints in accessing the Internet. This situation causes learning unable to occur comprehensively and uniformly to all students,” he said.


Following that, Radzi said that home-based learning was also implemented through the TV Pendidikan (Educational TV) via TV Okey channel and Astro Tutor TV on channels 601 and 603, as well as through radio stations such as Kedah FM, Terengganu FM and Johor FM.


In addition, there are also teachers who implement PdP through the delivery of learning materials to students made through various methods such as postal services, delivery assistance by the Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) and drive-through counters in schools.




Source: BERNAMA News Agency


Malay version of popular COVID-19 e-book for kids launched

LeapEd, Malaysia’s first homegrown education service provider and social enterprise, today launched the Malay edition of the popular international e-book, Coronavirus: A Book For Children About COVID-19, to educate Malaysian children on the virus.


Chairperson of LeapEd, Shahnaz Al-Sadat said the 17-page translation of the e-book, Coronavirus: Buku Untuk Kanak-Kanak, is an effort to raise awareness and to inculcate understanding among Malaysian children on the COVID-19 pandemic.


“It is fundamental that our children are equipped with the relevant knowledge and understanding of the virus and how they can do their part to protect themselves and the people around them,” Shahnaz said in a statement.




The e-book was originally published in United Kingdom (UK) by Nosy Crow and illustrated by award-winning illustrator Axel Scheffer, and LeapEd was given the exclusive honour to translate it to transform the way children learn and the way educators teach.


Nosy Crow Managing Director, Kate Wilson, meanwhile said: “The e-book was meticulously crafted with the help of many experts such as teachers, child psychologists, and also scientific experts in related fields, we are very pleased to have been able to provide such useful resources.


The e-book can be downloaded at www.leapedservices.com/coronavirus-book for free, complete with a reading guide to help parents utilise the book effectively for their children.



Source: BERNAMA News Agency


Za’ba, a warrior, in fight for independence


JEMPOL His role in injecting the spirit of struggle among the Malays against the yoke of colonialism for national independence cannot be refuted and, in fact, his writings are indelibly fresh until today.


The figure in question is Tan Sri Zainal Abidin Ahmad, more popularly known as Pendeta Za’ba, a teacher, writer, linguist, philosopher, political figure and economic thinker who had vastly contributed to the progress of race and country.


The phrase “The pen is mightier than the sword”, conveyed in various forms over the ages, and coined by English author Edward Bulwer Lytton held true in Malaysia’s own fight for independence where writers and teachers like Za’ba wrote to ignite the struggle against colonialism.




The Negeri Sembilan-born Za’ba, the eldest of three siblings, had began to copy letters of the alphabets from various sources on banana leaf and stalks, even before he learnt the Jawi alphabet, which was commonly used by the Malay communities in the late 1880s.


Negeri Sembilan Museum Board director Dr Shamsuddin Ahmad said: “Since he was small, Za’ba liked to write using twigs on banana stalks and leaves. His father would observe his son from far, and, realising the boy love for writing, presented him with a stone tablet.


“That piece of stone tablet, which is now over 100 years, was made from black stone and framed with wood. Starting from that, Za’ba started to learn to write in Jawi and honed his writing skills,” he told Bernama in an interview recently.



The stone tablet was now being displayed at the Teratak Za’ba exhibition gallery in Kampung Bukit Kerdas, Batu Kikir, here.


Za’ba’s thoughts were beyond his time, and with this foresight and wisdom, he produced writings that inspired society on the importance of knowledge and education.


His writings, particularly essays, were published in newspaper and magazines such as Utusan Melayu and Lembaga Melayu, and he also published a series of monographs in the Malay language, besides books on ways of life according to Islam.


Za’ba was born on Sept 16, 1895 in Kampung Bukit Kerdas, 62 years before independence, and received his early education at Sekolah Melayu Batu Kikir, Jempol in 1907.


Shamsuddin said Za’ba was strident in criticising the British colonial administration, and he played a critical role in a political movement to unite the Malay groups, in effort to wrest independence from the British.


“Pendeta Za’ba was appointed as the president of Persatuan Melayu Selangor and acted as the All-Malaya Malay Congress organising committee chairman, which led to the birth of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), uniting the Malays under one entity in the struggle against English colonialism,” explained Shamsuddin.


He said Za’ba also contributed to the modern Malay language system, that is now used as the main medium of instruction in national schools and as a tool for unity.


“Za’ba was one the small numbers of Malays during his time, who had successfully placed himself in the professional field, despite coming from the rural areas,” quipped Shamsuddin.


His first job was as a teacher in English College, Johor Bahru in 1916, before moving to Malay College Kuala Kangsar in 1918.


He later became a Bahasa Melayu lecturer at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London in 1947 before being appointed as a senior lecturer and the first Head of the then newly formed Malay Studies Department in University Malaya, Singapore in 1953.


Za’ba died at the age of 78, on Oct 23, 1973.



Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Sarawak hikes random testing of Sentosa cluster – Uggah


KUCHING The Sarawak State Disaster Management Committee (JPBN) will increase further random testings for the Sentosa cluster which recorded eight new positive COVID-19 cases today, said its chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.


Uggah, who is also the Deputy Chief Minister I, said since the positive cases for the cluster were increasing, the Sarawak State Health Department had been instructed to further expand the random testings in the areas around Kota Sentosa.


“To date, a total of 643 people have been screened and swabs taken for rT-PCR testings involving the Sentosa Cluster. From the number that has been screened, 16 people or 2.49 per cent are found to be positive with COVID-19, “he told a press conference on COVID-19 here.




Meanwhile, he said the JPBN meeting today had also decided that movements between divisions in Sarawak were not encouraged except for the movements of the public for certain cases, as positive cases in Kuching and Samarahan divisions were increasing.


“Among the cases that are allowed are to perform official duties, essential service workers, the death of immediate family members, family members seriously ill and the need for health screening,” he said.


In addition, Uggah said the meeting also decided that all Sarawakians flying home from abroad and transiting in Peninsular Malaysia, Labuan, Sabah, Brunei or Singapore were required to undergo quarantine at the final destination for 14 days.



He said JPBN had also discussed with Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) and decided to postpone the admission of its Pre-University Programme students until a date to be announced later.


“Besides that, also announced was the expansion of the postponement of the reopening of school sessions for Padawan District to SJK Chung Hua, Siburan involving years one to six while school sessions for pre-school classes are continued as usual. The postponement is until August 3, “he added.


Source: BERNAMA News Agency

Rukun Negara club, secretariat to be rebranded

BANGI The National Unity Ministry will strengthen the appreciation of the principles of Rukun Negara through the rebranding of Rukun Negara clubs in primary and secondary schools as well as the Rukun Negara secretariat at the institutions of higher learning.


Its Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique said the Rukun Negara club module and the Rukun Negara secretariat also needed to be re-evaluated so that it was in line with the current scenario.


She said the Rukun Negara club should also involve all schools including Chinese and Tamil national-type schools and not just focus on national schools.




She said the National Unity Ministry, the Communications and Multimedia Ministry, the Education Ministry and the Higher Education Ministry have started discussions to ensure that the principles of Rukun Negara are included in the national education system.


Halimah said this to reporters after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the National Unity Ministry and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) here today, to focus on working on updating four documents.


The documents are related to the preparation of the National Unity Index, the improvement of the National Unity Action Plan, the implementation of the Rukun Negara education based on the Pillars of Unity and the empowerment of the National Integration Research and Training Institute.



Source: BERNAMA News Agency


UTM inks MoA with IUIU for campus blueprint

JOHOR BAHRU Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) has signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) for Institut Sultan Iskandar (ISI) to work with Islamic University In Uganda (IUIU) on the development of a Mbale university campus blueprint.


The Islamic Development Bank in Saudi Arabia has provided the US$120,000 (RM1 = US$4.26) grant funding for the research collaboration with UTM’s wholly-owned research and development company, ISI.


ISI executive director, Prof Dr Syed Ahmad Iskandar Syed Ariffin, said the six-month collaboration began early this month, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, discussions have been held via video link.




“UTM and IUIU have architects working together on the site and sociocultural aspects,” said Prof Syed Ahmad during a press conference today after a virtual MoA signing ceremony between UTM vice chancellor, Prof Datuk Ir Dr Wahid Omar, and IUIU rector, Dr Ahmad Kawesa Sengendo.


ISI was established by UTM in 1991 and manages research involving urban planning, transport planning, real estate and more.



Source: BERNAMA News Agency