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Smart School - Sekolah Bestari


Cosy-Alise, May 2009


I wrote this little article more than 10 years ago (1998) and little that I realized that it became a major source of reference for teachers who wanted to know more about Smart School then.

When Malaysia launched her Multimedia Super Corridor(MSC) project, Sekolah Bestari (Malaysian Smart School) is on the top priority of one of its flagships. Since then, the Bestari concept in education is one of the most talk-about topic among educators and trainers in Malaysia. The first phase of Sekolah Bestari will begin operation in 1999 academic year.

  • Will the Sekolah Bestari be the same as many Smart Schools mushrooming around the Globe?
  • Will all Malaysian schools afford the latest technology?
  • Doesn't present Malaysian education system smart enough?
  • Will Malaysian educators be able to cope with the new concept?
  • How will the students be assessed?
  • Other Links

These are among the FAQs about Sekolah Bestari. I will try to give brief explanation to the above FAQs.

The Sekolah Bestari won't be the same as any existing Smart Schools anywhere around the world. These are due to two main factors involving current education system in Malaysia and will continue in Sekolah Bestari. Firstly: The National Phylosophy of Malaysian Education will be the main component of Sekolah Bestari curriculum and secondly: moral values that have been stressed in present curriculum will go on into Bestari schooling. These two foundations of Malaysian Education will not be nagiotable in the Bestari Curriculum. This will make the Sekolah Bestari different than the rest of Smart Schools. How the curriculum is being carried out in Sekolah Bestari may resemble to the existing Smart Schools.

When ideas about Sekolah Bestari being projected to the Malaysian public, people started imagining classrooms packed with computers, internet, video conferencing equipments and all the latest communication technology can offer. These misconceptions were due to the association of Sekolah Bestari and MSC. Sekolah Bestari is NOT ABOUT TECHNOLOGY. If the technology is there then it is wise to use it. The most important idea about Sekolah Bestari involves the teaching and learning process. The Bestari curriculum will cater for all levels of learners. This is where virtual express class concept comes in. A fast learners will be able to proceed to the higher and more complex contents of the syllabus while the slow learners will continue with activities until they are ready to move on. The previuos sentence was easy to state but how well can a teacher carry out in the Bestari classroom. The first step towards the preparation of Sekolah Bestari is for the Bestari Teachers undergoing retraining in FIVE skills in context with Sekolah Bestari. The skills are: 1) Learning Skills, 2) Creative and Critical Thinking, 3) Facilitating, 4) Assessment and Evaluation, and 5) Technologically competent. All these skills must be acquired wholly for teachers to be able to FACILITATE Bestari classrooms. The teaching continuum will move from teaching to facilitating as students in one Bestari classroom will be doing different activities according to their abilities. The present Sage by the Stage approach will move to Guide by the Side. The technology will no doubt facilitate these process but again is only considered as tools in the teaching and learning process. The Bestari concept can be carried out even for a school without a phone line or even electricity supply.

All the five elements stated in the above paragraph have been practiced in Malaysian schools for years and nothing is new about it. The only thing lacking with the present system is that there is not much democratization in education. Students have no choice on what to learn and when to sit for the examination. The present assessment system does not allow learners to sit for the exam when they are ready. Exams are scheduled to the most only twice a year. With the new concept more School based or portfolio based assessment will be carried out allowing students more freedom to learn. This flexibility will allow more room for teachers to plan their lessons which will not be too exam orientated. The Malaysian Examination Syndicate will come up with Smart Assessment whereby students will be able to take exams whenever they are ready. Registration will be on-line and students can checks their cumulative performance and even got the chance to improvise on it.


To all Bestari Teachers to be, here's something from Grandpa:

Teach My Grandson Teacher - Gently, If You Can

My grandson starts school today. It's going to be strange and new to him for a while, and I wish you would sort of treat him gently.

You see, up to now, he's been king of the roost -- he's been boss of the backyard. His mom, dad, and Grandma have always been around to repair his wounds, and soothe his feelings.

But now things are going to be different! This morning he's going to walk down the front steps, wave his hand, and start out on a great adventure... it's an adventure that might take him across the continent... it's an adventure that might incllude wars and strategy and sorrow.

To live his live in this world, will require faith and love and courage. So teacher, I pray you will take him by his young hand and teach him the things he will have to know.

Teach my grandson teacher -- but gently, if you can. He will have to learn, I know, that all men are not just, that all men are not true.

But teach him also, that for every scounderel, there is a hero.. that for every crooked politician, there is a dedicated leader. Teach him that for every enemy, there is a friend.

It will take time teacher, I know, but teach my grandson, if you can, that a nickel earned is far more value than a dollar found... teach him to learn to lose... and to enjoy winning.

Steer him away from envy, if you can, and teach him the secret of quiet laughter.

Let my grandson learn early that the bullies are the easiest people to lick.. teach him, if you can, the wonder of books... but also give him quiet time to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun, and flowers on a green hill.

In school, teacher, teach him it is far more honorable to fail than to cheat... teach him to have faith in his own ideas, even if everyone tells him that he is wrong... teach him to be gentle with gentle people and tough with tough people.

Try to give my grandson strength not to follow the crowd when everyone else is getting on the bandwagon... teach him to listen to all men... but, teach him also to filter all he hears on a screen of truth and take only the good that comes through.

Teach my grandson teacher.. but gently if you can, how to laugh when he is sad... teach him there is no shame in tears... teach him there can be glory in failure and despair in success.

Teach him to close his ears to a howling mob... and to stand and fight if he thinks he is right.

Teach him to scoff at cynics and to beware of too much sweetness.. teach him to sell his brawn and brains to the highest bidders but, never, never, put a price tag on his heart and soul.

Treat my grandson gently, teacher, but don't coddle him, because only the test of fire makes fine steel.. let him have the courage to be impatient... let him have the patience to be brave.

Teach him always to have sublime faith in himself. Becorder, teacher, but please help him if you can do. You see, he's such a nice little fellow... my grandson.

Teach my grandson, teacherause then he will have sublime faith in God and Mankind.

This is a tall .. but gently if you can.

Adapted by Thomas Halbert

Thanks for dropping by. Regards

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