PM: Schools lessons to integrate computational thinking from next year

said a total of 9,200 teachers are currently being trained to teach the new curricula and added that lessons will kick off for students entering Primary One, and Forms One and Four next year. ― Reuters pic
said a total of 9,200 teachers are currently being trained to teach the new curricula and added that lessons will kick off for students entering Primary One, and Forms One and Four next year. ― Reuters pic

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 11 — Computational thinking and Computer Science skills will be integrated in the curricula for both primary and secondary schools starting from 2017, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced today.

He said a total of 9,200 teachers are currently being trained to teach the new curricula and added that lessons will kick off for students entering Primary One, and Forms One and Four next year.

“I’m made to understand that the Education Ministry and MDEC are working closely to prepare our educators for the new curriculum with 9,200 teachers currently undergoing training on how to integrate computational thinking and computer science into the classroom for the new curriculum of 2017,” he said when launching it at Sekolah Sultan Alam Shah here.

“Computational thinking and Computer Science is also being integrated into teacher training colleges and Institut Aminuddin Baki that trains principals and headmasters. In the future all graduating from teacher training colleges will be equipped with these skills,” he added.

Form One and Form Four students will see a new subject introduced, whereas Standard One students will see computer science concepts such as coding and structure be integrated as part of the teaching lessons.

Najib said the implementation will be rolled out as part of the new Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Rendah (KSSR) and Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Menengah (KSSM) that begins next year.

The move will benefit up to 1.2 million students across 10,173 schools nationwide, he added.

The PM said it would also further benefit in helping expand the digital economy, which contributed 17 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2014.

In explaining the pilot programme that took place last year, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) youth division director Sumitra Nair said that up to 40 per cent of students had improved in digital literacy when assessed after eight to ten weeks of the programme.

“The percentage is not wild, but it’s not wild because it’s only eight to ten weeks. But if we use that as a basis, and if we do this over a year, we will begin to see bigger shifts,” she said.

She added that 24 schools participated in the pilot programme, which included rural, urban, vernacular and boarding schools to gauge the efficacy of the implementation across the board.

Sumitra explained that the new subjects in secondary school will be a replacement of the existing ICT subject in lower and upper secondary classes.

In Form One, the subject will be called Basic Computer Science and will be a compulsory elective, while the Form Four subject will be called Computer Science.

Malay Mail Online had last month reported MDEC chief executive Datuk Yasmin Mahmood confirming that coding will be officially added to the syllabuses of national schools starting next year.

Teacher groups have, however, raised concerns over the lack of information on how it would be implemented.

Today, Sumitra said there would not be an issue as the project has been ongoing for the past two years and the pilot module for teachers’ training started last year

She also added that only the teachers who were involved had been informed of the implementation.

MDEC’s Yasmin today explained that the move is part of a larger My Digital Maker Movement project spearheaded by MDEC, which sees a partnership between the Education Ministry with the private sectors and academia to expose students to digital technology.

She said there will be introductions of Digital Maker Hubs in communities and Digital Maker Clubs in schools to allow students to carry out their activities.

Yasmin added that private sector players have also offered holiday internships, teaching modules, training and tools to support the agenda.

“What we want to do is float the talents up. Which then the industry can engage with them by going to the Digital Maker Hubs,” she said.

“From the pilot alone, where we had 24 schools involved in the embedding of the curriculum, and the 300 schools where we piloted the co-curricular activities, we already have 1,200 projects being worked on by students,” she added.