Starting early next year, secondary schools in Malaysia can expect to do away with Science and Arts/Commerce streaming, according to a report by leading Chinese-language Malaysian newspaper Sin Chew Daily on Thu (10 Oct).
Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching reportedly told Sin Chew Daily in an interview that with the implementation of the Standard Secondary School Curriculum (KSSM), students will be able to take up subjects “based on their own interests and preferences”.
“Students will be assigned classrooms based on the subjects selected,” said Teo.
She added that school counselors will play a crucial role in helping students make the right choices, on top of scores from classroom assessments and Secondary 3 assessment exams (PT3) as indicators in assessing the suitability of students for their selected subjects.
Teo also reportedly said that schools will be given autonomy to offer relevant subjects for Secondary 4 and Secondary 5 students based on factors such as teaching staff and school equipment.
Currently, Secondary 4 students in Malaysian secondary schools take up core subjects such as English, Malay, history, ethics, and mathematics. Subjects in the Science stream include Chemistry, Biology, and Physics, while subjects in the Arts and Commerce streams include Science, Accounting, Economics, and Art.
Earlier in Feb this year, Education Minister Maszlee Malik revealed the merging of the Science and Arts streams as one of the recommendations made by the National Education Policy Research Committee.
“In the new curriculum to be implemented, we will not only emphasise science, but also strengthen art (and culture), because knowledge is one, knowledge cannot be separated, and should be comprehensive,” said Maszlee.
He added that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education will be “updated to become STREAM”, which will incorporate “the vital components of Arts and Reading”.
“We will also shift the priorities of teachers and lecturers nationally to focus on teaching STEM in a fun and experiential way, thereby making STEM accessible to all,” said Maszlee.