18 February 2014

With a Sigh ( No 18) – PBS, Oh PBS


No, that is not a new political party. It is the innovative scheme to improve school education which will ensure our pride in the “world class” position.   

But last week saw our dailies highlighting vocal resistance from teachers. So, now there is a need to review PBS – just a review? In the same week there was a press statement made by a person in authority. It was headlined as “Tiada pelajar tercicir menjelang 2020” (No pupils will be left behind by 2020. I congratulate our world-class thinkers and planners. What a brave declaration that was.

What matters to Pakcik, however, is how my humble Almanar centre fares when the situation seems less than satisfactory. Over the period of 20 years we, the invisible hands of Almanar, have done something tangible; starting with just an open space with roof over for a class-room, followed with a proper room within four walls, and followed with more rooms, termed as ‘syndicate’ rooms for children to sit in discussion or to have quiet forty winks, etc. We have computers, reference books,toilets and we have kitchenette to make a cup of tea or cook Maggie mee. Occasionally, we have children spending the night on the pretext of doing group study. Sadly, despite what appears progress in our facility, the decreasing number of children joining Almanar tuition class is most depressing to Pakcik. This,indeed,matters to me, PBS does not.

This year’s intake into Form 1 tuition class has greatly slumped from as many as over 40 children in the earlier years. Today, the number of new 2014 Form 1 tuition class, stands at less than 20. That includes the last group of 8 children, all girls, who turned up one day last week. The sight of them was an unexpected joy to Pakcik, a gift from heaven. I felt the urge to record their faces. Here is the outcome.

            Sweet and innocent kids

When they all had gone home and I sat to analyse their personal data, my heart sank. Have a look at the summary of the UPSR examination results in five papers the new eight girls sat for at the end of last year.The two grades for the two papers for Malay Language are given as BI i / BI ii  ( representing essay writing /objective questions ).

  Girl No        English    Maths   Science    BI i / BI ii

 1                   E           E            E            E   /   E
 2                   D           C            D           C    /   A
     3                   C           E            C           C     /  B     
 4                   D           C            C           C     /  B
 5                   D           C            C           C     /  B
 6                   C           C            D           C     /  B
 7                   C           C            D           C     /  B
 8                   C           C            C           C     /  C
         8 children and their UPSR results

How pathetic it is to see that there is only one A-grade among them and this girl has 2 C-grades and 2 D-grades. One girl obtained all E's!

Two days later I conducted my first English lesson for the Form 1 group. I had reasons to justify my early worry when one of the new girls gave me the meaning of the English word ‘man’. She was almost certain that it meant ‘ orang perempuan tua’ (an old woman)!  

Many years ago, I nearly refused accepting a boy with grade D in English and Mathematics in his UPSR examination. Fortunately it was quickly brought to my attention that the poor boy had just lost his father who was run down by a heavy vehicle while he was riding a motorcycle on his way home from work in a FELDA scheme. Orphans are our priority and each must be given a chance. Three years later this boy’s two D-grades in English and Mathematics at UPSR level turned to A-grades in his PMR examination; and today he is a married man, expecting his first baby. That was an early lesson I learnt. Accepting a challenge is not what we tell our children but what we must prove ourselves. After all, Almanar’s motto (Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemasyarakatan )  was not thought out for show;  for that matter, ‘Almanar’ for a name was not just a flash of fancy.       

Of the last eight new children one is an orphan and the rest have fathers who earn their living from fishing, do manual work in construction of kampong houses, drive a delivery vehicle; and one father is a specialist in climbing the tall village coconut palms to hand-pick the fruit - for a meagre daily earning to support his family.

On our first day last week, one girl in the front seat of the class, instead of copying from the white board, was seen copying notes from a friend sitting beside her. That was not an uncommon phenomenon. So, she has been promised a pair of glasses next week.

These are children who know they need help and have taken the first step to come to Almanar on the encouragement of a concerned teacher in English. Some local teachers do voice their support for Almanar but many of today's kampong children have no wish to waste their precious socialising time to attend free tuition classes. Many prefer to attend the mushrooming tuition classes in the vicinity - to socialise. It is widely known here that many parents believe what is handed out for free cannot be of much value! 

So when I read all about PBS and the great ‘blueprint’ in education, I sit back and smile at my Almanar 'children'. It is satisfying, in a devious way, to heave a long sigh that, by 2020, this is all but history! These eight girls will be among the first group to benefit from the improved 'blue-print' of our world-class education.   

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan


kaykuala said...

Dear Pakcik,
Not directly involved I've no way of knowing the current situation. But from observations of those around it is pathetic! Judging from FB comments after allowing for short forms to disguise their deficiency it'll be a long way to go. Of course everyone will get through with no exams. Now the burden is transferred to the teachers who would have to really work all the time in correcting class work.


muhaini said...

Assalamualaikum Pakcik,
May Allah Bless you and family for all the good deeds you have sown thus far. I had many friends who are teachers, and the more I learn the mechanism of this PBS, the more I pitied them teachers, and worries for our future generations. Last week, my form 5 son complained that its difficult and confusing learning Maths and Science subjects in Malay ... Sigh!!

Unknown said...

Assalamualaikum, cikgu (& isteri). After watching the Monsoon tentatively, in case, my Cukai sis kena angkut lori lagi - I believe I can, maybe, barring health issues, travel up Kuala Trengganu soon.
am so glad you are finally giving the PBS and PPPM 2013 - 1025 a glance and `fine tooth-comb' hopefully for the RM 20 million we paid for.
The Indian english teachers are already here. I had a sampling on You Tube for my 4-yr old English Nursery Rhymes. If it is any indication, we will soon be having students of Sekolah Rendah speaking English with the `Asian' Italian lilt. I was even shocked when U for `umbrella' was spelt `umbrailla' and `vegetables' was pronounced `vege - tabals', (sigh).
I told my son lets' make tons of $ so the pther two can go International School.
I highlighted the KSSR shortcoming at a recent PIBG meet. The slow and lousy crony YTL-band aside, the school admitted to its uselessness BUt since its's GOMEN there was nothing to be said just `selengara'.I regret my plan got scuttled and the major damages of the unexpected floods last december, 2013 already scared the daylights out of land-lubber me.
Please do carry on and do not be disheartened - miracles come in small doses.
I doakan AlManar will be there standing for decades to come, for all the needy and weak students.
Take care, wassalam

NBK said...

Asm. My munirah is a guinea pig for this pbs...i have no idea about her progress till early this year when the teacher start to stream her....and of the 2 classes she is in the last ha ha...of course i now put her in the tuition class n pray that all this nonsense be scraped...btw pakcik may Allah reward you with jannah for your effort. I was wondering if we can do similar effort at hubby's kampung when we retire...if panjang umur lah

Malay Muslim said...

Dear Sir,
It is heartwarming to read of your effort in aiding these children. May you be blessed with strength, inner and physical, in these days of uncertainties in various fields. I have heard of the drawbacks of the PBS which far outweigh the benefits, to a country like ours with certain inadequacies. I believe the intention of such a system is good. The weakness perhaps is in the implementation. However, I am not in the teaching fraternity thus I do not really know the exact situation. As to your mention of young orphans etc, I know of a similar child in the vicinity of my abode. This boy stays with a grandmother in a dilapidated house on an 'island' in the middle of padi fields. He is in primary six. To my joy I found him intelligent (good in maths and English), hardworking, knows quite a bit about general knowledge and draws rather well. I have high hopes for him, always instilling in him the need to study hard so that he can be a Muslim professional and able to help his family (and others). I know the rewards you have from the success of your students Sir, the eternal beauty of kind deeds. All the best.

Aziela said...

As Salam Pakcik,

I have no idea of what is PBS. My Adam is going to sit for UPSR this year. Syukur, he is not the first badge of PBS. I am going to sit and listen and to see the progress of it.

Those 8 girls are so lucky that Al-Manar is within their reach. The only things that need now is the commitment. If ever my son is nearby, I would surely hand him over to you, Pakcik.

Anonymous said...

Salam Pakcik,
May Allah grant you health and the strength to carry on with your good deeds. I believe you are teaching them more than English, but also about kindness and hope for the future.
One day, I hope to retire from my job and return to Terengganu and maybe continue your good works.
Nor'Aini- Petronas Rapid

ngasobahseliman said...

Assalam, Satu luahan hati yang amat berat yang harus didengari oleh semua kerana pendidikan adalah milik dan hak semua. Amanah kita letak pada pemimpin, pembuat dan pelaksana dasar. Dari pengalaman saya di Kementerian, banyak dasar yang dibuat dengan tergesa-gesa kerana kepentingan politik. Tegoran yang tidak selari dengan kehendak mereka yang berkepentingan akan dipinggirkan. Bukan ideanya sahaja yang dipinggirkan tetapi yang membuka idea juga dipinggir-jauhkan.

Terlalu banyak yang hendak saya kongsikan tetapi entah bila entah bagaimana saya boleh lakukan. Maka saya mengambil tindakan yang saya fikir suatu yang menepati apa yang Allah benar-benar tuntut.Projek SmarTop saya kecil tetapi saya yakin ia berasaskan Ilmu Yang Benar.Tidak perlu world class kerana siapa yang mendefinasikan world class itu.
Semoga kita dapat bertemu untuk bercerita lanjut dan berbuat sesuatu yang membina demi kesejahteraan ummah seperti An Nisa 55. WaAllahu'alam. Semoga Dia menunjuki JalanNya.

Al-Manar said...


How on earth can we compare performance of children from different localities when everyone gets through without examination?
Yet, as you say, teachers have to work endlressly. How do you express this in a Haiku. By the way, I found it hard to fully understand the depth of one of your last entries. But other visitors seem to understand it well. That makes me feel small. Hank. But I will persiist, nevetheless.

Al-Manar said...


Waalaikum Salaam.
It is indeed very hard on your children and as you say it is hard on teachers who are responsible to impart knowledge, not getting involved in clerical duty.

I do not blame your son finding difficulty learning Maths and science subjects in Malay. My grandsons of your son's age have been encouraged to improve their English to understand books on these subjects in English. One very helpful way is to select books used for GCE syllabus. GCE syllabus treat the subjects differently, with greater emphasis on 'why' and 'how' questions. Email me if you need some detail on this. Otherwise your friends among teachers should be able to assist.

Al-Manar said...

Shakirin Al-Ikram

Waalaikum Salaam, madam.

No, I do not use 'fine tooth-comb', just brush it with my fingers. You seem well informed on PBS, PPPM 2023-2025, the RM 20 million and all. On top of that you have been voicing your views as well. That is good for you, never mind if they do not want to admit failure. We cannot beat the GOMEN, just voice your views.

Thank you for all the good wishes. I need them.

Al-Manar said...

WAAK Salaam
Do you really need to put Munirah in tuition class. You are more than qualified to help her than the tuition centre can. Think of the days we we children. Teach them what and how we were taught!

Thank you for the doa. Ameen and hope Munirah and the rest in the family are blessed with success.

May I know where the kampong you wish to serve when you retire? It is a long way to go but there is no harm to share experience. Email me if you wish to have non-professional views on this - all for free!

Al-Manar said...

Malay Muslim,

I am pleased to see your appearance and comments. That boy with 'on the islad' intrigues me. How far is the place from where I am ? Can I offer a short stay with us during one of the school holoidays? We can always accommodate a boy of that age and perhaps give him an exposure to the world outside. Let me know if you see it of benefit to him.

Al-Manar said...

Waalaikum Salaam.

Do not worry too much over Adam. I have an Adam too, a grandson in std 3. I am sure you are capable of handling him. Do not underate your knowledge and experience. Or, if Adam is for sale I will give you a fiver for him!

Al-Manar said...


Petronas-Rapid ... now I am totally baffled. If you are an ex Almanar, please email Pakcik.
I am glad you have that hidden desire to do what I have been doing, but it is a long way to go. But keep thinking about it. Do not forget to drop by when you are back, and help Pakcik during your short leaves.

Al-Manar said...


You bare lucky to have had experience working in the ministry. Kongsilah pengalaman Puan dengan kami dengan teguran yang membina. kalau orang tertentu dan berkenaan tak ingin dengar biarlah kebodohan mereka ditertawakan saja, hungga satu masa samapi juga ketelinga mereka dengan berkesan. PBS ini satu tauladan. Akhirnya terpaksa juga mengalah - berundur kebelakang dan berhati hati. Suara rakyat diperdengarkan dengan hormat dan adat patut menjadi amalan kita yang menganuti ugama agong.

Project - SmarTop amat mulia. Pertahankan dan perkuatkan. Saya pun ingin membuat begitu dengan Almanar. Rome was not built in one day. Take a challenge and show that we do not simply sit/run around shouting without. We do what we preach.

I certainly like to know more about your SmarTop.

NBK said...

Asm pakcik...i can teach my students but i become a singa when teaching my own kids...

Cik Minah Tonggek said...

Pokcik, (nok panggey "pokcik / mokcik" la pulok, bimbang kok mokcik cmuru panggey "abang"}

ambe dok skoloh, buleh dok kalu ambe nok masuk almanar jugok, jadi tukang sapuh, dokpung jadi tukang kuca air kupi ke budok-budok pung dok ape..... neh pokcik neh?

.....tapi malu gok wwase.

Al-Manar said...


Waalk Salaam.
I was no less a 'singa' when I taught my children Maths. But they became very good at that and today, thirty years down the line, they still remember the 'treatment'- fondly!

Al-Manar said...


Naughty, naught! Jambang pong kotor. Moleklah kalu nok. Sekupang duer boleh bayor.

Anonymous said...


AK,I have just read your posting, but it is better late than never. First of all I confess I do not know anything about PBS. But hesaring what you say I have no interest to learn about it. I wish and hope that God willing you carry on with your honourable mission. May you be blessed by HIM. Be patient and you will certainly be rewarded.


Anonymous said...

Dear Pakcik,,

It is a relief to know that your class is still ongoing. Due to your endless complaints about the school programmes (since my day in Almanar), I worry that your class will be put into halt. Since you still have that eight princesses, I believe you are grinning from ear to ear!

The story of your girl flashes the story of mine. I still remember I didn't know the word 'steal' when I was in Form 1. Don't worry,Pakcik.. These girls will succeed in their lives. Success doesnt always come from brilliant brain, but one's will and spirit.
May Allah bless you with your health and beautiful life, Pakcik.


Al-Manar said...


Two comments in one day, are a delightful gift for me. And they come from someone I remember dearly. I thought my harsh words in private hurt you to the extent that you would not approach Pakcik ever again. Please, sms 019 9839703. I wish to speak to you very much, my dear.

Al-Manar said...


You are very brief and to the point. I know you have no interest in this stupid idea thee idiots have - you and I do better, don't we always say that ?