The Centre for Research on Islamic and Malay Affairs (RIMA), in collaboration with its parent organisation, the Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP), holds its Community in Review (CIR) seminar annually to discuss contemporary issues affecting the Malay/Muslim community (MMC) in Singapore.

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The Centre for Research on Islamic and Malay Affairs (RIMA), in collaboration with its parent organisation, the Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP), holds its Community in Review (CIR) seminar annually to discuss contemporary issues affecting the Malay/Muslim community (MMC) in Singapore.

Aligned with last year’s CIR theme of enhancing the social mobility of the MMC, this year’s CIR also acts as a follow-up to CIR 2007 which had discussed how students from the MMC can level up in light of the then newly implemented alternative pathways based on the concept of Ability-Driven Education. The emphasis then was on academic supplementation as a means of making up for deficiencies in our students’ grades.

While academic supplementation has, in some ways, done its part in improving the aggregate results of our students, what can be seen as a more effective solution now is to balance this with targeted socio-emotional approaches, a component which has been relatively undervalued by Malay/Muslim organisations (MMOs) in the past. One of the thrusts for CIR 2014 is thus aimed at initiating discussion to create awareness among those in the MMC on the importance of affective approaches and their possible roles in creating affirmative learning experiences for our Malay/Muslim students. In essence, these are approaches which can lead our students to aspire and create successes for themselves.

This year’s CIR will begin with a presentation which discusses the current educational landscape and how it has impacted students from the MMC. It will be followed by another presentation which analyses past, current and proposed future approaches to be undertaken by MMOs through their various initiatives and the impacts they have had on their recipients. The final presentation deals with the latest research and findings on aspects of motivation and how such newfound knowledge can be applied on our students. The seminar will conclude with a panel discussion involving all the presenters.

Details of the seminar are as follows:

Theme:            Enhancing Social Mobility for the MMC: Redefining MMOs’ Approaches to Affirmative Education

Date:                Saturday 29 March 2014

Time:               9.00 am to 12.30 pm

Venue:             Ballroom 1, Orchard Hotel

Attire:              Business Casual

*Registration is free

Speakers:   

Dr Jason Tan Eng Thye

Associate Professor,

Policy & Leadership Studies

National Institute of Education

Mr Zainal Rahman

Business Trainer and Coach in Personal & Organisational Change,

Competence Strategies International

Dr Shamsuri Juhari

Centre Director,

Centre for Research on Islamic and Malay Affairs (RIMA)

The diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise of each speaker at this seminar will ensure that the topic is dissected from various perspectives. Each speaker brings to the table their invaluable experience and knowledge, which will foster greater understanding of the impact of social media. Also, openly discussing the issue will help encourage and preserve peaceful inter-ethnic relations in Singapore while at the same time explore opportunities for the betterment of the MMC and society at large.

We would like to invite you to attend this seminar. The theme ‘Enhancing Social Mobility for the MMC: Redefining MMOs’ Approaches to Affirmative Education’ will provide the audience – community leaders, policy-makers, social workers and young minds – with the opportunity to  come together to engage in dialogue and to lay out their views.

Registration dateline has been extended to Thursday 27 March 2014. Please register online, should you wish to attend.  Should you require further information or clarification, please feel free to contact Ms Nur Diyana Jalil at 6342 5471 or email her at diyana@rima.sg

We look forward to seeing you at this seminar.

Dr Jason Tan Eng Thye completed his Masters in Education in education and national development at the University of Hong Kong and his doctoral studies in comparative education at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is currently associate professor in policy and leadership studies at the National Institute of Education in Singapore. Jason is an international editorial board member of several international journals, including Asia Pacific Journal of Education and Globalisation, Societies and Education. His most recent publications include Education in Singapore: Taking Stock, Looking Forward.

Mr Zainal Abidin Rahman is a business trainer, consultant and coach who have trained and helped thousands of clients achieve “more competence, confidence and congruence” in their professional and personal lives. His first career was with the Singapore Civil Service where he served in the National Development, Finance and Health ministries. Trained and experienced in an eclectic set of capability building skills in Neuro Linguistic Programming, Solutions-Focused techniques, Ontological coaching, Personality and values assessments and organizational development, Zainal has facilitated thousands of workshops around the region.  He has trained and consulted with major corporations in the region including the Citicorp group, Sony, Toshiba, NUS and Petronas. Zainal was also an associate lecturer with a number of British and Australian universities teaching at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Dr Shamsuri Juhari received his PhD in Sociology of Education from the University of Birmingham, UK. Prior to his current position as RIMA Centre Director, he had been an educator where he amassed more than 15 years experience teaching students from a variety of backgrounds and academic talents ranging from ‘at-risk’ youths to those in the Gifted Education Programme. Sham’s research interests are focused on the progress and development of the Malay-Muslim community specifically in the field of Emancipatory and Transformatory Education, Critical Thinking and Interfaith Discourse. His most recent publication is a book titled “Conscientising the Singaporean Malay-Muslim Youth,” where he discusses the experiences of youths from the ethnic group participating in community outreach programmes.

AMP rintis bantuan tuntas bagi pelajar

Program menyeluruh sasar pertingkat pencapaian murid sekolah rendah

ADLI YASHIR KUCHIT, Berita Minggu, 30 March 2014

ANGKATAN Karyawan Islam (AMP) sedang merintis sebuah program menyeluruh bagi murid sekolah rendah dan keluarga mereka demi mempertingkat pencapaian pendidikan murid.

Program melibatkan penjagaan sebelum dan selepas sekolah, bantuan tuisyen untuk murid berisiko tinggi juga merangkumi sokongan sosial dan bantuan kewangan kepada keluarga murid berkenaan.

Butiran program itu didedahkan pengarah Pusat Penyelidikan Hal Ehwal Islam dan Melayu (Rima), Dr Mohd Shamsuri Juhari, di seminar Masyarakat Dalam Semakan (CIR) semalam.

Seminar anjuran AMP dan Rima (sayap penyelidikan AMP) yang berlangsung di Hotel Orchard, mengupas isu pencapaian pendidikan pelajar Melayu/Islam.

Membentangkan kajian yang dijalankan Rima, Dr Shamsuri berkata pelbagai usaha telah dilaksanakan badan-badan Melayu/Islam untuk meningkat pencapaian pendidikan pelajar Melayu/Islam.

Ini termasuk mengendalikan kelas tuisyen, program motivasi dan bimbingan.

“Biarpun terdapat pelbagai usaha murni yang dijalankan sejak 30 tahun lalu, kita perlu akui kita telah mencapai beberapa kemajuan, namun hasilnya tidak setinggi yang kita harapkan,” kata Dr Shamsuri.

Misalnya, dalam 2011 satu daripada 10 murid Melayu/Islam gagal dalam Peperiksaan Tamat Sekolah Rendah (PSLE).

Sekitar 85 peratus pelajar Melayu berjaya ke sekolah rendah namun angka itu rendah berbanding 95 peratus pelajar kaum lain.

Dalam pada itu, 25 peratus pelajar kaum lain berjaya ke universiti berbanding 5 peratus pelajar Melayu/Islam.

Memandang ke depan AMP melihat perlunya mengadakan program menyeluruh untuk membantu pelajar berisiko tinggi mempertingkat pencapaian pendidikan mereka.

Di bawah program perintis yang dikendalikan Mercu Learning Point (sayap pendidikan dan latihan AMP), murid-murid yang menghadapi masalah seperti sering ponteng sekolah, lemah dalam pelajaran atau kurang sokongan keluarga, akan dikenal pasti dan diberi sokongan intensif dan secara peribadi.

Sejak dimulakan lewat tahun lalu, AMP telah bergabung dengan sebuah sekolah di kawasan selatan untuk membantu lapan murid dan keluarga masing-masing.

Selain Dr Shamsuri, seminar itu turut menampilkan pensyarah Institut Pendidikan Nasional (NIE), Profesor Madya Jason Tan, yang memberi pengamatannya tentang kesan lanskap pendidikan negara ke atas masyarakat Melayu/Islam.

Beliau mendapati sistem aliran akademik yang diperkenalkan pada tahun 1980an telah menghasilkan lapangan yang tidak setara.

Menurutnya, ramai pelajar yang melalui sistem aliran dalam 1980-an dan 1990-an, kini sudah menjadi ibu bapa kepada anak-anak yang sedang bersekolah.

“Namun peratusan besar pelajar Melayu ketika itu disalurkan ke dalam aliran yang kurang berprestij. Oleh itu mereka kini kurang mahir dalam mempersiap anak-anak mereka untuk melalui sistem pendidikan masa kini yang semakin kompleks,” ujar beliau.

Ditemui selepas seminar itu, pengerusi AMP, Encik Azmoon Ahmad, berkata pendidikan akan terus menjadi cabaran bagi masyarakat Melayu/Islam.

“Saya rasa kita perlu meneroka strategi baru dan pendekatan baru untuk menghasilkan kemajuan tinggi dalam pendidikan.

“AMP akan terus meneroka program baru seperti program menyeluruh di sekolah dan sedia bergabung dengan badan-badan lain demi mengelak duplikasi demi membantu pelajar kita,” kata beliau.

- http://beritaharian.sg/premium/setempat/amp-rintis-bantuan-tuntas-bagi-pelajar#sthash.3hO45w17.dpuf

Beware growing ‘parentocracy’: NIE don

He warns of students who get ahead thanks to parents with more resources, not merit

By Andrea Ong, Sunday Times, 30 March 2014

Parents will play an increasingly vital role as the education system becomes more complex, but a side effect is that their varied backgrounds and means may widen social inequality, a National Institute of Education don said yesterday.

“It seems to me that instead of having a meritocracy, increasingly what we have in Singapore is a parentocracy,” Associate Professor Jason Tan said at an Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP) seminar on education.

He described how recent government attempts to recognise more non-academic achievements are viewed by some parents as yet more hoops for their children to jump through.

For instance, the Direct School Admissions scheme was introduced a decade ago to give primary school pupils talented in fields such as arts and sports early placement in a secondary school.

But some tuition agencies now provide coaching on how to prepare portfolios and write admissions essays for the scheme, Prof Tan pointed out. Parents with more financial means will hence have an advantage.

Youngsters also get an edge when parents can tap a strong social network and devise strategies such as polishing extra-curricular talents and preparing impressive portfolios for their children.

So, instead of merit and a child’s hard work, parents and the social capital they command now wield greater influence over their offspring’s future, he pointed out.

Addressing a 100-strong audience at AMP’s annual Community in Review seminar, Prof Tan also dwelt on this year’s theme of enhancing social mobility and exploring new approaches to improve Malay-Muslim students’ academic performance.

He argued that the introduction of streaming from 1979 has had “very serious societal consequences” in the long run.

It institutionalised existing inequalities by segregating and producing a generation of students with very different educational outcomes, incomes and social networks, he said.

Now, people of that generation who were in less prestigious streams have become parents themselves, and are less equipped to prepare their children for the challenges of today’s education system.

AMP leaders at the event expressed concern that while the community’s academic performance has improved over the decades, it still lags behind other ethnic groups’.

Dr Mohamad Shamsuri Juhari, director of the Centre for Research on Islamic and Malay Affairs, AMP’s research arm, argued for the need to delve into underlying factors that may be holding students back in school.

For instance, poverty can limit students’ opportunities by deflating aspirations.

Dr Shamsuri also drew on research showing that poverty can limit people’s “bandwidth”, or mental capacity, to make decisions that appear routine to others. Even as the education changes open up more pathways, he asked if lower-income parents have the bandwidth and income to consider such options for their children.

Existing schemes by Malay-Muslim organisations may just attract students who are “already in the safe zone”, he said. He proposed a “wrap-around” approach to education, where community partners work closely with the school and parents.

Last year, AMP piloted an after-school care scheme using this approach in a primary school. The school provided free lunches, transport and premises. AMP sponsored tutors who worked closely with teachers and supervised the students after school.

Without having to worry about cost and convenience, parents were willing to sign their children up, said Dr Shamsuri.

The seminar’s third speaker, business trainer Zainal Abidin Rahman, emphasised the importance of mindsets and attitudes, such as learning to be more assertive as it is a quality employers value.

AMP chairman Azmoon Ahmad said the group intends to make education a priority this year. Another idea, proposed at AMP’s 2012 convention, is a “parent school” where volunteers will reach out to parents and tell them about education options available to their children.

- http://www.straitstimes.com/archive/sunday/breaking-news/singapore/story/beware-growing-parentocracy-nie-don-20140330

 
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