PETALING JAYA - A baseline study conducted by the Education Ministry last year revealed that only 50 per cent of primary school students in Year 1 mastered basic English literacy.
A second screening conducted four months later revealed an improved rate of 63 per cent.
The Government, in its 2013 GTP annual report, said the frequency of screenings had been reduced from three times to twice a year in Literacy and Numeracy Screening (Linus) Programme 2.0 to give teachers the opportunity to help students who fail to meet proficiency requirements.
"In addition, all students will have to sit for the biannual screening regardless of how they performed previously," the report stated.
The Education National Key Result Areas (EDU-NKRA) also aims for a minimum of 100 High Performing Schools (HPS) during GTP 2.0 phase.
"There is also renewed focus in GTP 2.0 to ensure that schools maintain their HPS status through sustainability." As such, HPS are assigned key performance indicators, which specify academic and extracurricular achievements that must be met. These achievements are benchmarked against national and international standards.
Last year, 24 schools have been awarded the HPS status.
Under the GTP 2.0, HPS are also responsible in coaching and mentoring other non-HPS schools.
The EDU-NKRA is expected to shift into higher gear with the advent of the Malaysia Education Blueprint (MEB) targeted to enhance current initiatives.
Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the achievements of the EDU-NKRA could not be underestimated.
"While some of the initiatives that we have implemented may seem elementary, let me state that they have been anything but."
"However, with the publication of the MEB and the integration of the EDU-NKRA's activities within the ministry's overall transformational activities, the execution of our plans to improve education will be better streamlined," he said.
Linus 2.0 is one of the key programmes towards ensuring that all Malaysian students will be both literate and numerate after three years of primary school education.
The Linus programme has been enhanced in GTP 2.0 to screen for proficiency in English Language in addition to proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia and numeracy. "While the Linus achievement since GTP 1.0 has been encouraging, the EDU-NKRA is taking extra steps to verify that the students truly have achieved proficiency by scrutinising screening results and environment," the report said.