Report: Upper secondary students to pick from four new subject packages next year


File photo of Mara Junior Science College (MRSM) students working in a science lab.

KUCHING: Students in Forms 4 and 5 will be given the option of choosing from four packages of core subjects and electives when the new school term starts next January, Education deputy director-general Habibah Abdul Rahman said.

She said in a Malaysiakini report today that the electives would depend on the availability of teachers or facilities for those subjects in each school.

Clarifying earlier news reports that the arts and science streams would be abolished next year, Habibah told the press in Kuala Lumpur that the streaming policy had in fact been abolished by the Education Ministry in 2000.

“We don’t arrange the students according to streams but allow students to choose electives according to packages to convenience the schools and students. Schools will not be able to offer all electives because it depends on the facilities and teachers available at the school,” she said.

According to Malaysiakini, the packages are: .

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) A:
Core subjects, three pure science subjects and Additional Mathematics. Students can add up to four other electives, including languages.

Core subjects, two pure science subjects, Additional Mathematics, at least one applied science or non-science elective.

Core subjects, two applied science or technical elective or one vocational elective.

Humanities and Arts:
Core subjects and electives from languages, Islamic Studies, arts and humanities and/or one Stem elective. (Vocational election not included in Stem elective.)

Habibah said physical and health education would be compulsory for all students, but any testing would be done at school level only.

She added that History and Bahasa Malaysia remain compulsory-pass subjects for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination for Form 5 student, which still has a 12 subject limit for each candidate.

The core subjects are Bahasa Malaysia, English, Mathematics, Science (except for students who undertake pure science subjects), History, and Islamic Studies /Moral Studies (except for students who undertake Islamic studies-related electives).

Habibah said the ministry was offering packages instead of allowing a free for all so students could meet tertiary education institutes requirements for entry to specific courses.

Students would also be counselled on which package suited them according to their Form 3 PT3 results, in-school assessments and psychometric test results, she said.

Habibah said the ministry would like schools to become like universities, where students could determine their own timetables based on the subjects enrolled, but she admitted that there were currently limitations in the country’s public schools.

“Schools can arrange for minimal movements if students take different packages, but they will still (mostly) sit in their classes rather than have the classes fixed (and the students move),” she said.