Brunei's educational programme to boost primary school pass rate

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN - THE Ministry of Education (MoE) will implement their Catalyst School Programme in all government primary schools and Year 7 classes starting this year in a bid to improve pass rate for the Primary School Assessment (PSR).

Minister of Education Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awg Abu Bakar Hj Apong, said by 2017 the ministry wants 90 per cent of Year 6 students to obtain grades A to C in the PSR exam.

Speaking during a dialogue with members of the Legislative Council yesterday, the minister explained various long-term goals set by the ministry.

The Catalyst School Programme was pilot tested in 15 under-performing schools last year, which showed marked improvements in their pass rates after the scheme was implemented.

Twelve out of 15 schools showed improvements in the pass rate between 0.85 to 25.75 per cent, with students achieving grades A to D in the PSR, said the minister.

He added that seven schools managed to achieve a pass rate of over 75 per cent.

The 15 schools selected by the ministry were previously dogged by poor PSR results, with a pass rate of less than 75 per cent over the past two years.

MoE found that many students in these schools faced challenges in mastering basic skills in literacy and numeracy, and had poor attendance below the mandatory 85 per cent threshold.

To tackle the problem, MoE increased the number of hours spent on core subjects such as science and mathematics.

Students with attendance problems were temporarily placed in a hostel for the duration of the programme (46 days) to focus on improving their results.

Specialist English and mathematics experts will also be brought in from abroad to train local teachers.

According to previous reports, 63.95 per cent of PSR students obtained grades A to C in 2014, but with the success of the Catalyst School Programme the ministry has increased the target to a 90 per cent pass rate.

MoE said schools that make significant improvements in PSR results would receive incentives, such as financial grants if need.