SOPA1035: Cikgu Aminah teaches a preschool class in SK Tanah Abang, Mersing. She hails from the west coast of peninsular Malaysia: Social Policy and Social Pedagogies Case Study, UOG, Malaysia

University University of Greenwich (UOG)
Subject SOPA1035: Social Policy and Social Pedagogies

Cikgu Aminah teaches a preschool class in SK Tanah Abang, Mersing. She hails from the west coast of peninsular Malaysia. The school is approximately 100km from the small town of Mersing in the South-east of peninsular Malaysia. She has been teaching in this school for 3 years. Her students are 100% orang Asli and stay in the orang Asli villages around. The government has helped set up these villages equipped with water and electricity supply as well as roads.

Though some of the parents work on the plantation, many still depend on the jungle for their livelihood, a lifestyle passed down from generation, which they find difficult to give up. The parents are mainly illiterate. However, more of them realize the importance of education for their kids now compared to 10 years ago.

Cikgu Aminah looks forward to seeing her students every day, they are an enthusiastic lot and take great delight in things in nature. Cikgu Aminah’s class attendance is good, most of her students come to school daily, but the other classes in this school are not so lucky, many do not come to school regularly, and some children would follow their parents to the jungle for 2-3 months in search of rattan and food.

Generally, orang Asli does not like formal kind of teaching and learning, the preschool curriculum attracts them due to the thematic approach and non-formal atmosphere where students have more freedom to move about in the classroom. In order to attract them to school the Ministry of Education has formulated an adjusted curriculum and modules for the lower primary orang Asli school.

The curriculum taps into the methodology used in preschools where modules are used and parents are invited to school to participate. Food is provided during these activities and food such as flour and bread is distributed to these children and parents after the activities. This is important as ‘one day without work’ means ‘one day without a food supply. With the implementation of these modules, more orang Asli children are attending schools regularly.

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