TEACHERS and students take home their long-awaited certificates and rewards as the Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) contest by The Star wraps up for the year.

From April through June, over 17,000 students from around the country worked to create their Public Service Announcement (PSA) posters using either photography or illustration. The contest called Game4Life required students to craft Public Service Announcements (PSAs) on the theme of sports and its role as a vehicle for social change.

These PSAs were then sent to Menara Star, Petaling Jaya, for a chance at winning the array of attractive rewards. Besides clinching trips to the United Kingdom, Universal Studios Singapore, Awana Genting and winning phone vouchers worth RM1,000 and food vouchers worth RM100, winning teams from the Primary and Secondary school categories were also featured in news write ups.

Education Ministry Co-curricular and Arts Division principal assistant director Roslina Mohd Roslin, who was also a judge for the Game4Life finals, said that she had always liked what was put into the Star-NiE contest.

The contest, she said, is in line with what the ministry aims to achieve.

“The contest covers all of the students’ aspirations in the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025.

“Students are challenged with activities that require higher order thinking skills. They not only learn how to communicate with words, but also with visual images,” she said.

Apart from that, Roslina noted that the ministry’s collaboration with The Star in this contest resonates with the ninth shift of the education blueprint, which calls for collaboration between parents, the private sector and the community.

She commended The Star’s effort in organising the contest.

“Congratulations on a job well done! The contest was a success.

“The Star also distributed certificates to all participants from NiE schools. You would find that not many contest organisers provide this,” she said.Participants from NiE schools receive certificates by The Star, co-signed by the Education Ministry, that entitle students to co-curriculum points at various levels: school, state and national. Teachers participating at the contest also receive certificates of appreciation from the Education Ministry and The Star.

SMK Darul Ehsan, Selangor, has been taking part in the NiE contest for the past 10 consecutive years. This year, a team from this school clinched a Merit Award, putting them among the top five entries for the state of Selangor. Each Merit Award-winning team received a meal voucher worth RM100 per team sponsored by The Star.

Its principal Noraizan Brahim said that NiE enhances students’ creativity and sharpens their minds.

“When it is in the form of a game or competition, it really encourages teenagers to take part.

“It is fun for them and learning takes place indirectly,” she said.

Noraizan said that she would always tell students to vie for any opportunity to improve themselves.

“If you don’t grab that opportunity, others will. Small victories will encourage bigger ones next time,” she added.

The Merit Award winners from Team Tsubasa — Alif Abadi Saarin, Amir Hakim Adnan, Nur Emira Irdina Norazmi and Puteri Nadine An-Nur Erwandy — were delighted when they received their meal vouchers.

Form Five student Puteri Nadine An-Nur commented that the NiE contest is different as it was an English language competition on a sports theme.

“Our poster’s message was on mental health and I think it is a crucial problem. Modern life is getting more stressful. I have friends who have anxiety and depression, and sports have always been an outlet for them,” she said.

While doing research for the PSA entry, Puteri Nadine An-Nur said: “I found out that doing sports is just as effective as taking medication. Exercise helps regulate your brain chemistry.”

Through this contest, Puteri Nadine An-Nur said that she also learnt about the elements that come together in a PSA.

“We must use the words that pop out. The message is for the general public, so we must not complicate the message with bombastic words.

“English is a special language; it connects everyone. If not for English, we would not be able to speak to a lot of people,” she added.

Winning the Merit Award was a satisfying experience for teammate Nur Emira Irdina. She also lauded the benefits of participating in sporting activities.

“Sports makes you more alert and focused. I take silat and it trains you to be cautious of your surrounding,” she added.

She also noted that the contest brought people with the same interest together.

“Our team is very much into Japanese animation, and there is anime with a focus on sports that we like. The poster is definitely inspired by anime,” she added.

Agreeing, NiE contest coordinator Mercy Almeida said that many of the students in the school are into Japanese animation.

“The principal had even asked the students to do a manga-styled mural on one of the walls in the school. The mural has to have a school theme.”

Almeida said she uses the newspaper as a tool when teaching English, adding that it is a useful and affordable resource for learning.

“Recently, I noticed that my students’ essays lacked the use of adjectives.

“I asked them to buy the newspapers and bring them to class.

“Then, I would divide the class into groups and ask each to cut out words that can be used to describe places, people or events,” she added.

She said that these activities introduced the use of the dictionary.

“Plus, they enjoy cutting and pasting,” she added.

As for SMK Darul Ehsan English teacher Rubiatul Adawiyah Ahmad Arbi, she would sometimes make use of the advice column in The Star.

“I would ask students to discuss problem solving. They come up with unexpected solutions for the people who write in,” she added.

She said that students expand their vocabulary when they read the newspaper.

“They would sometimes ask me about words they do not understand. They can also learn idioms and get the idea of how it is used,” she added.

Rubiatul Adawiyah said that she can see positive outcomes with students who take part in the NiE contest. “When they work in a group, they learn how to compromise.

“Joining this competition has also unleashed their creativity. Some students are always focused on their academic subjects. But I’m amazed that some of them can draw very well,” she added.

Form Three student Muhammad Ikram Abdul Rahim said: “I think this competition is amazing in encouraging teamwork. I could see the cooperation among my team members.”

Agreeing, his teammate Manjushree Y Mahandran said that although they were already close, doing the project together made their relationship stronger.

“Our poster was about victory in numbers. A team must be united to achieve success. Our poster concept also symbolises Malaysia. Unity among people from all walks of life will make us a better nation,” she added.

Manjushree said she hopes that the NiE competition will continue as she plans to participate next year.

“It is fun and students are part of a national competition. When someone from our school wins, we are happy. This will also encourage the others to do better next time,” she said.

The contest was held in collaboration with the Education Ministry. Prize sponsors included Star Media Group, Taylor’s University and Resorts World Genting.

Source : The Star              http://buff.ly/2dunnjl

Photo : thestar.com.my

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