My Visit to Japan - 10 to 14 April 2017

Dr. Thiyagarajan Annamalai, PPD Larut Matang Selama, Taiping, Perak 

 I would like to thank my society MSEAM for organising this study tour to Japan. It was indeed and eye opener for me to know that what I thought was only applicable in theory but was proven otherwise. Even though it was a very short trip 4 days in particular I do learn a lot of things from the Japanese and not only for me but also for the group members.

There are few things that I observe that we as Malaysian should give a serious thought. We visited a University and a government school. Nagoya University has produced 6 Nobel Laureate winners since its inception. That for me is something great since the Japanese overall are not that competent in English. All the Nobel prize winners did their research in Japanese language but that did not surprise me because research need not to be in English. But I wonder how did they did their literature review since most of the books are in English. I pose this question to one of the Professor of the University and the answer they gave really astonished me. She said that every new knowledge in the world will be translated into Japanese language. She did not mention English but every knowledge meaning to say that every knowledge from any language will be translated into Japanese Language. Now I got the real picture how that particular University can produce 6 Nobel Laureate winners. Another thing that surprise me was the whole meeting was conducted in Bahasa Indonesia by the professors of the University because both of them studied in Indonesia. It shows how serious they are when they learn something new.

Now what we Malaysians can learn from this. Well many will say why we have to learn English since the Japanese can do it without English. For these group of people, I will like to stress that the Japanese has the mechanism to make sure every new knowledge are translated to Japanese language but do we have that mechanism? Of course, the answer is no. So, what can we do about this. Are we going to create a mechanism like the Japanese has? For me if we are doing that we are actually going backwards. Japan is a self-sufficient country where they are not dependent on foreigners to steer their economy. But, since globalisation, the Japanese realise the importance of English and they too are embarking to this language. Since Malaysia has a good foundation in English why not we continue with that and make sure that every citizen in Malaysia are well verse in English language. By doing so we will surely be more knowledgeable because as I said earlier that many new knowledge are in English. In this aspect we in the forefront of the Japanese. The MBMMBI is a very good initiative but need to be monitored closely and improve continuously for its effectiveness.

The other thing that I observe in Japan is their school. We went to a Junior High School where students from the age of 13 to 15 studies. In this meeting, we needed a translator and she happens to be one of our tour guide who is a Malaysian studying there. The first thing I noticed there was the cleanliness. From the entrance to the toilet, the school was superb clean. Shoes are not allowed in the school compound but we were given sandals to wear in the school. We can see that the discipline was good as the students do not loiter around the school. Every movement of the students are in orderly manner. We were taken to see some of the students activities in the school Gym. It was an event where the new students were introduced to the school’s co-curriculum activities. It was not much difference from the way our schools do here but the manner they did it. The students were very serious and committed to introduce their co-curricular activities to the new students. What I learn from here is the Japanese are very serious about their co-curricular activities. During the Q&A session we were told that Japanese education gives importance to the nature. They have a lot of activities that is related to nature especially during the summer. They organise many study trips and indulge with the nature.

When I pose the question on 21st century learning style I noticed that they were not really applying it yet but they realise the importance of it. They said that they are slowly changing from teacher centred to student centred learning. In this aspect I think the Japanese will have to learn from Malaysia especially on the planning part. We have the Malaysian Education Blue Print 2013-2025 which is recognised as among the best in the world. But don’t be surprise if the Japanese overtake us once they realise the benefits of 21st century learning skills. I said this because Malaysians are good in planning but the execution and implementation part are the weakest point in Malaysia.

The next think I notice in Japan is the commitment of their people. The Japanese really value in what they have and they are very committed in what they do. They dress up neatly to their work. You can’t differentiate between a University lecturer and a taxi driver by their dressing because both wear a suit. The taxis are superb clean. The cover of the seats in the taxis are all white and when we asked them why they use white seat cover they said it is easier for them to see the dirt and they can clean it immediately. Well in Malaysia I think it is the other way around. I was at a supermarket and I saw a cleaner an elderly woman neatly dressed. In a busy supermarket I saw her using her scrapper to clean some stain on the floor diligently. At a parking place I saw the parking attendance also dressed neatly doing their job with such a commitment. They will run towards a bus or a car that has wrongly entered or parked and advise them politely. They will bow to them with a smile, a sign of welcoming to all the visitors who come to their place.

Finally the Japanese people look very healthy. In my 5 days visit to Japan I hardly see fat Japanese people and to be specific I only saw two fat Japanese people. But of course I can’t generalised that all Japanese people are very healthy based on my observation alone. But when I look around and see how they live I noticed that Japanese people do a lot of walking and cycling. Bicycles are a norm in Tokyo and they do a lot of walking. Of course their weather especially during spring and summer allows them to cycle and walk around. Their diet too are mostly soup and steam based food. Maybe these are some of the reason why the Japanese look very healthy.

Anyway not all that I see in Japan attracts me. Japan drains out my money. Well as we know Tokyo is one of the most expensive city in the world. We had to pay RM1000.00 for a night stay in a hotel. With that amount of money I can stay in a 5 or 6 star hotel in Malaysia but what I get in Japan is a small room. The bed were so small that some of my group friends did not want to share their bed. Well if I were given a choice I too would have declined but thinking of spending another RM1000.00 for a separate room I might as well share with my friend. The food, clothing and souvenirs are all very expensive. I ended up buying only the minimum and Malaysia is a heaven as far as shopping and eating are concerned.

Last but not the least, Japan has taught me a lot and I realise that that there are many things out there that we should see and experience in this world. A great Indian Poet Thrivalluvar once has said 5000 years ago “ What we have learnt is only as big as our palm and what we haven’t learn is as big as the ocean”. With that I end my visit to Japan here.

“Harigato”, “Sayonara”, “Hai”

 Dr.Thiyagarajan Annamalai

Lawatan kerja Presiden MSEAM ke USM

Catatan  :  Professor Dato' Seri Dr. Md. Salleh Yaapar 

 PULAU PINANG, 14 Disember 2015 – Kepimpinan pendidikan tinggi di negara ini perlu membangunkan persona akademik yang mampu melakukan perubahan dalam pendidikan tinggi dan menterjemahkan makna sebenar pemindahan ilmu untuk masyarakat.

Malah persona akademia atau professorial persona yang inklusif melangkaui penerbitan akademik untuk menjadi role model dengan budaya intelektual yang berintegriti tinggi, pekerti mulia dan budaya tinggi serta elegen. 

Demikian kata tokoh akademik terkemuka negara Profesor Emeritus Dato’ Dr.  Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid selaku Pengerusi Panel Auditor Audit Pengekalan Swaakreditasi Agensi Kelayakan Malaysia (MQA) dalam pembukaan audit Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) di sini hari ini. 

“Pelbagai persoalan bermain dalam kalangan pelbagai pemegang taruh, terutamanya dalam melihat universiti awam yang dibangunkan dari dana awam yang memerlukan akauntabiliti dan integriti yang tinggi,” kata Ibrahim.

Menurut Ibrahim, USM misalnya telah membangunkan program pemindahan ilmu yang bukan sahaja daripada generasi terdahulu kepada yang terkini tetapi juga perlu melihat dari aspek lainnya yang perlu diteliti dan diberikan perhatian, apatah lagi dalam membangunkan persona dalam kalangan ahli-ahli akademik untuk diterima secara global, memastikan usaha memartabatkan ilmu melalui bahasa yang menjadi jati diri masyarakat negara ini dan memastikannya merentasi sempadan yang ada malah juga memperkukuhkan kefahaman masyarakat terhadap pelbagai disiplin ilmu. 

Jelasnya, kerana itu juga kita perlu bertanya banyak soalan yang dilihat dalam konteks impak keseluruhan kepada masyarakat serta bagaimana kepimpinan pendidikan tinggi mampu untuk memainkan peranan mereka misalnya dalam memainkan peranan terhadap pelaksanaan perjanjian yang berkaitan dengan perubahan cuaca atau climate change yang melibatkan banyak negara dunia.

“Tatkala sesetengah negara yang menandatanganinya telah pun mengambil langkah-langkah yang perlu, bagaimana pula dengan negara ini, siapa yang akan mengambil tindakan dan bagaimana universiti seperti USM yang mempunyai kepakaran dan pengalaman dapat bersama-sama memainkan peranannya,” kata Ibrahim.

Tegasnya lagi, universiti seharusnya menjadi tempat mempertahankan budaya tinggi dan tidak mudah membiarkan mereka yang datang dari sub-budaya rendah mengubah atau mengatasi budaya tinggi yang ada. 

Pada majlis tersebut, Naib Canselor USM Profesor Dato’ Dr. Omar Osman membentangkan pencapaian dan perancangan masa hadapan USM. Yang hadir sama ialah Timbalan-timbalan Naib Canselor USM, Dekan-dekan dan ketua-ketua jabatan.

Audit Pengekalan Swaakreditasi diadakan di USM sehingga Khamis ini dengan panel-panel menemubual pelbagai kumpulan pemegang taruh dari Lembaga Gabenor, Naib Canselor dan Timbalan-timbalan Naib Canselor, wakil industri, wakil alumni, ketua jabatan serta kumpulan pentadbiran dan sokongan di samping mengadakan lawatan ke beberapa jabatan.

Berita dari Sin Chew Jit Poh - 13 NOV. 2015

 Seminar Kepimpinan Pendidikan MSEAM Siri 1;  7 Nov. 2015

Tempat : IPG Kampus Tuanku Bainun, Bukit Mertajam, Pulau Pinang

 (Terjemahan dari Sin Chew Jit Poh, 13/11/2015 oleh Dr. Tan Cheng Im, IPGKTB)

 Transformasi pendidikan adalah penting untuk mencapai hasrat Malaysia sebagai sebuah negara maju, Sebagai sebuah institut pendidikan guru yang melatih bakal guru-guru sekolah rendah, Institut Pendidikan Guru Kampus Tuanku Bainun Bukit Mertajam telah menjemput dua orang tokoh pendidikan Malaysia untuk memberi ceramah berkaitan pendidikan pada hujung minggu lepas.

Penceramah terkenal Profesor Emeritus Dato DR. Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid. merupakan Pengerusi MSEAM, beliau telah dianugerahkan sebagai Tokoh Kepimpinan Pendidikan Kebangsaan 2010. Di samping itu, beliau juga merupakan kolumnis terkenal suratkhabar New Straits Times. Seorang lagi penceramah yang terkenal ialah Dato’ Freida Pilus. Dato Freida adalah Pengasas dan Mentor Sekolah Cempaka, Pengerusi Persatuan Sekolah Persendirian, beliau juga merupakan Timbalan Pengerusi Persatuan Sekolah Antarabangsa (Geneva). Dato’ telah dianugerahkan sebagai Tokoh Guru Kebangsaan 2013.  Dalam majlis pembukaan, Pengarah IPG Kampus Tuanku Bainun DR. Sazali Bin Yusoff mengalu-alukan semua yang hadir pada pagi itu, khasnya kepada kedua-dua orang tokoh pendidikan kerana sudi datang ke IPG Kampus Tuanku Bainun. Beliau percaya bahawa pengarah IPGK Kampus lain, pensyarah dan guru-guru yang hadir akan mendapat manfaat daripada ceramah akademik pada pagi itu.

 Tajuk penceramah pertama Dato’ Freida Pilus ialah “Transformasi Pendidikan Negara: Entrepreneur Mindset”. Dato’ mengatakan bahawa pembelajaran haruslah merentasi kurikulum, pelajar harus tahu tentang inovasi dan kreativiti, mempunyai semangat tidak mudah mengalah atau berputus asa. Dato’ memberi contoh pelajar dari sekolah beliau, beliau tidak bertujuan untuk membanding pelajar sekolah beliau dengan pelajar sekolah kerajaan. Dato’ juga mengatakan bahawa kurikulum sekolah seharusnya mengajar setiap budak belajar dan tahu berenang, boleh mendaki gunung, memahami diri serta mampu menyelesaikan masalah.

 Dato’ Freida berkata bahawa kanak-kanak harus didedahkan dengan konsep keusahawanan, kreatif dan berani untuk mencuba, disamping itu pendidikan seharusnya mengajar generasi muda kita untuk membantu orang lain, serta memberi sumbangan kepada masyarakat. Jika masyarakat masih berpegang bahawa mendapat banyak “A” adalah satu kejayaan, tetapi tidak dapat menyelesaikan masalah, tidak dapat menggunakan apa yang telah dipelajari dalam kehidupan seharian mereka, sebenarnya tujuan sebenar pendidikan masih belum tercapai, ini adalah sesuatu yang dikesali. Tajuk penceramah kedua Profesor Emeritus Dato’ Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid ialah “Exploring Teacher Thinking in Turbulent Times”. Dato’ mengatakan bahawa sekiranya guru tergesa-gesa untuk menghabiskan kurikulum, mungkin akan mengabaikan pendidikan yang sebenar. Beliau memberi contoh masyarakat Jepun adalah masyarakat yang tahu menghormati orang-orang tua , kejayaan masyarakat Jepun hari ini merupakan usaha yang berterusan, di mana masyarakat mereka dididik dari usia awal kanak-kanak, justeru mereka tahu bersyukur , tahu menghormati orang lain dan mengambil berita tentang komuniti dan masyarakat mereka. Malaysia perlu berusaha untuk menjadikan negara maju dari pelbagai segi, khasnya dari segi pemikiran rakyat.