THE high-level Education Revamp Committee will review and deliberate on nine areas in our education system.
"Effectiveness of resources usage" is one area. Mention resources in school, and students and teachers will instantly refer to the Pusat Sumber Sekolah or PSS (School Resources Centre).
It was during the early 1990s that the Education Ministry instructed every school to set up its own PSS. In the beginning, it was merely the school library that was being upgraded.
Over the years, with advancements in multimedia resources, PSS in schools began to acquire materials, equipment, systems as well as sophisticated digital software and hardware.
PSS also evolved from a one-location centre to multifaceted facilities sited at strategic locations in school.
We have now a teacher resource centre, special-purpose/function rooms, computer labs, science labs and workshops -- all considered to be part of PSS.
Every year, the Education Ministry provides PSS with grants based on the student population. It also supplies hardware and software from time to time. In addition, some schools collaborate with parent-teacher associations to raise funds for their PSS.
Through the years, much had been expanded and much effort had been put into PSS. The main objective is for PSS to help improve teaching and learning.
The Education Ministry, state departments and district education offices organise annual PSS competitions to select the "best PSS".
A PSS is judged for its structural set-up, usage and effectiveness, among others. As a result of these evaluations, we have "good PSS" and "weak PSS".
The position of a PSS depends very much on the efforts the teachers in charge put in and theemphasis the school administration places on it.
A "good PSS" is one that is well-equipped, has the relevant hardware and software and is frequented by students and teachers.
A "weak PSS" is the opposite.
This seems to be the norm today and is generally accepted as a kind of "standard" to strive for. But, it should be better.
An interesting observation I have noted: there has been no mention by our Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah/Penilaian Menengah Rendah/Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia/Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia "scholars" that their school PSS had contributed to their "successes" in their exams.
These students were quick to speak of help and support from teachers, parents, study mates and even tuition centres. But they did not mention their school PSS.
This is puzzling. Surely they had spent much time in their PSS. Why then did the "contributions" of PSS not come to their mind? Why did these students not feel "indebted" to their PSS?
This begs some interesting questions for us as educators, teachers and parents to ponder:
WHAT kind of work do the students do in PSS? Are they there just to do revision, homework or exercises? Are they there to use up the "free" period to read at leisure? Or is it a place for them to "socialise"?
DO the subject curricula demand that students use PSS to source for information individually or in groups?
DO examinations demand from students mere textbook knowledge that can be easily obtained from revision textbooks and books on exam questions, thus rendering PSS' role insignificant?
ARE the scheduled (timetable) periods in PSS done just to satisfy a "statutory" requirement?
Or are these periods meant to help students expand their knowledge, leading to improved exam grades (in which case, "scholars" would not have forgotten to mention about PSS when they expressed their gratitude after getting their exam results)?
IN designing the curriculum, has PSS been factored in as a "tool" to extract and cultivate the varied potentials of the students?
If the role of PSS and its effectiveness are to be enhanced, the above questions should be deliberated comprehensively.
K.C. Liong, Seremban, Negri Sembilan