Pintar Programmes Help Underperforming Students Shine
By Nur Fadhliana Shaari
KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- Children are the nation's assets and should be given a balanced education in both academic and non-academic fields.
Each child, regardless of where they live and whether or not they can afford it, has the right to access knowledge and to hone their skills and abilities.
In addressing this, Pintar Foundation was formed.
Pintar, which stands for Promoting Intelligence (PI), Nurturing Talent (NT) and Advocating Responsibility (AR), is a body created to assist underperforming students nationwide with the cooperation of government-linked (GLC) and private companies through school adoption programmes.
With 422 Pintar schools throughout Malaysia, Pintar Foundation and its 46 Pintar members and partners made up of GLCs and private firms work together to help students to hone their hidden talents and potential.
Various programmes were carried out at Pintar schools, with the themes based on the Pintar acronym, namely encouraging wisdom, fostering talent and developing personality.
Honing talent while increasing knowledge and building character are important aspects in developing an individual, especially students who are in their teenage years.
Therefore, through the National Pintar programme national-scale programmes are created, implemented, managed, supervised and funded by Pintar Foundation to help the less fortunate students to bring out the best in them.
Among the programme's objectives are encouraging education through approaches that are creative, innovative and stimulating to the mind with the hope to produce creative and critical thinking students.
These programmes use practical learning approaches that makes learning fun.
The first National Pintar Programme, the Pintar Mobile Learning Unit (PMLU), was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak on Sept 4, 2009 and it would travel up to 150 PINTAR primary and secondary schools throughout the country each year.
Their other programmes include Pintar Green School Programme, Pintar D'Arts Literacy Programme, Pintar Robotics Competition and Pintar Basic Life Support Training.
PINTAR MOBILE LEARNING UNIT (PLMU) AND PINTAR SCHOOLS IN SABAH, SARAWAK
The Pintar Mobile Learning Unit (PLMU) is a bus that has been modified to give students a chance to explore career paths through fun and creative learning methods.
Pintar Foundation now has two PLMU buses travelling around Peninsula since 2013 and each year these buses will visit Pintar schools throughout the country, from February to November.
The foundation is trying to bring this programme to both Pintar and non Pintar schools in Sabah and Sarawak in places connected by roads.
On Pintar Foundation's potential in the two states, the foundation's CEO Karimah Tan Abdullah said a meeting with Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman is expected in July to seek sponsorship of a PLMU.
She said there were currently only 32 Pintar Schools in Sabah and Sarawak funded by companies from Peninsula.
"We often suggest schools in Sabah and Sarawak to companies who want to adopt them. However, many decline, citing the location being too far and not having resources there.
Pintar Foundation is also planning a meeting with Sarawak Chief Minister soon.
HOPES FOR PINTAR FOUNDATION
Since it was introduced in 2008, the Pintar Schools programme has improved 422 schools nationwide through sponsorship from 46 companies. Over 659,000 students have also benefitted from the programme.
Pintar Foundation invites all government owned companies, private companies and non-governmental organisations (NGO) from Sabah dan Sarawak to participate in the Pintar School programme to channel aid to underperforming schools in the two states.
ARTS STREAM IS STILL RELEVANT SAYS PINTAR FOUNDATION CHAIRMAN
Meanwhile, Pintar Foundation's Chairman Tan Sri Arshad Ayub noted that while students are more inclined to take up science stream the arts stream remains relevant.
The Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Pro-Chancellor Tan Sri Arshad Ayub said there has to be a balance between arts and science education.
"Personally, the arts stream is still needed and beneficial for the country and universities need to play a role in balancing out the number of arts and science majors to ensure the country does not lack manpower in arts," Arshad told reporters at the Editors' Luncheon 2016 recently.
Arshad pointed out the lack of employment opportunities after graduation for arts students and emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) also contributed to the decline of arts students.
"We really need social sciences to face heavy global competition. To me, the country cannot just focus on STEM.
Arshad, who is also Yayasan Pintar chairman commented on a statement made by Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid recently on the poor reception towards arts stream among Malaysian students.