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FAST TRACK: High achievers will be allowed to complete secondary school in four years instead of five

HIGH performing students will be allowed to complete secondary school in four years instead of five and finish primary school in five years instead of six from 2016.

The Education Ministry said it would start exploring accelerated learning pathways for high achievers, estimated to be 15 per cent of the student population.

These students will have the benefit of two programmes -- to take Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia in four years instead of five and to complete primary school Year 1 and 2 in one year through the Fast Track programme.

Primary school students will have to go through a standards-based test developed by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia at the beginning of Year 1 to determine individuals qualified for the programme.

Upon successful completion, these students will be promoted to Year 3 in the following year.

For the four-year secondary school course, students will be selected for entry after their Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) and they will undergo more enrichment activities such as independent research projects.

The Malaysia Education Blueprint preliminary report, announced on Tuesday, acknowledged that grooming top talent was an increasingly important agenda as Malaysia was growing into a developed economy.

Although there were currently programmes here that catered to high-performing students, such as the Permatapintar National Gifted programme and dedicated residential schools for high achievers, there was limited centralised education policies to cater to the gifted student segment.

In the next three years, the ministry will develop a national strategy and design programme that addressed the needs of gifted students in partnership with the private sector and research institutions.

These programmes will cater to the top one per cent of the student population, who may be gifted in specific areas, such as mathematics, linguistics, music or visual arts.

They will have a tailored and flexible education programme that enables them to receive instruction from experts in their field while participating in mainstream schooling.

To ensure that these advanced pathways for high achievers are psychologically and developmentally beneficial to the students, the ministry will carefully research and evaluate these options before implementing them in 2016 and eventually scaling them up nationwide in 2021.

The atmosphere at the Permatapintar class at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in Bangi. The Malaysia Education Blueprint preliminary report acknowledges that grooming top talent is a priority in keeping with Malaysia’s aspiration of becoming a developed nation.


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