My school is reputed to be one of the premier schools in Malaysia. It boasts a
tradition of good academic results as well as active involvement in sporting
activities. In the last five years, a few changes have taken place in the school
in the areas of leadership, sporting emphasis, cultural activities and academic
curriculum. These have added tremendously to the vibrancy of the school culture.
The biggest change has to be in the leadership of the school. The last principal
we had was Mr Adam who had gained our respect through his quiet demeanor and
benevolence. He was always walking around
the school and chatting with the pupils to find out more about them. His
relationship with the staff was also good, with the latter always supportive of
his plans for the school. But we were sorry to see him go when he was posted to
the Ministry of Education five years ago. Initially, his replacement, Mr Ismail,
was viewed with much skepticism when he came. After all, we were used to Mr
Adam's friendly style of handling matters. Mr Ismail was very professional in
the way he handled the school. He introduced a firm discipline and
professionalism into the school. With time, the entire school was convinced that
his different style had ultimately the same aim which is to make our school the
best in the country. For that, he won our respect and support. The results of
his leadership became obvious when our school topped the school rankings four
years in a row.
Another change that he brought about was a different emphasis in our
co-curricular activities. Before his arrival, we participated in all sports
regardless of whether we were good at them. This meant that we had spread our
resources thin because a total of twenty sports were on our school calendar.
When he reviewed our sporting achievements, Mr Ismail decided that we should
consolidate our position in the sporting arena by concentrating on a total of
twelve sports. As a result, twelve of the most popular sports were selected and
pupils were redeployed to them from the other eight. The pupils were trained
intensively in their preferred sport and in no time at all, posed a serious
challenge to the champions at school level. As a result, we won the
coveted title of `Top Sporting School' for
two years running. We are looking forward to making it three times in a row this
Our school had never been particularly concerned about cultural activities,
probably because we were a boys' school. But Mr Ismail ensured that we obtained
a regular dose of culture by inviting cultural performances to our school during
the assembly. As a result, we were introduced to Chinese opera, Malay wayang
kulit, Indian classical dances and instruments as well as folk dancing.
These were at first greeted by much derision because the prevailing opinion was
that boys did not need these developments. But we came to realize that we stood
to gain from understanding more about the local culture, and our attention was
gradually arrested by these weekly performances. In the end, we added a new
dimension to our development.
Our curriculum also got an overhaul with Thinking Skills being incorporated
on every level and into every subject. This was because the Ministry of
Education had emphasized the need to imbue
the pupils with Thinking Skills as it would enable them to be proactive and
creative working adults. This shift in mindset was welcomed by the teachers who
were often heard lamenting that the testing system had been created for the
exam-smart students. They launched full-steam into using Thinking Skills in
lessons and project work began to take the place of tedious homework. As a
result, lessons have become livelier and more creative. We have also become more
independent in problem solving.
My school has certainly blossomed into a more dynamic learning environment in
the last five years. Whether it is in studies or sports, all pupils have been
given the opportunity to develop their potential with expert guidance. It has
become a school that I am proud to be associated with.