Grounding World Class Education Aspirations With Performance
The EDU NKRA’s efforts to foster schools of international quality has been paying off over time. In 2012, SABK Imtiaz Yayasan Terengganu Besut (Imtiaz) became part of Cohort Two of the High Performing Schools (HPS) initiative. Since then, this Terengganu-based religious school has become one of the best schools in the state – and indeed, the country.
The brainchild of Dato’ Sri Idris Jusoh (now Minister of Higher Education), Imtiaz started out as a privately-funded institution, with an initial intake of seven students in 1999. At present, it has over 2,000 students across seven campuses throughout Terengganu. Imtiaz derives from the Arabic word for ‘excellence’; hence its vision of being a best-in-class Islamic school. According to its principal, Haji Abdul Wahab bin Mohd. Arshad, Imtiaz has excelled in many international competitions, including becoming gold and silver medallists at the Kaohsiung International Invention and Design EXPO 2015. It has also been collaborating with Cambridge University since 2013, enabling its students to sit for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE). For both the Form Three PT3 assessment and the SPM, it was the best-scoring school in the state.
Imtiaz blended studies from multiple syllabi, and was the first (and thus far only) smart religious school in Malaysia. Aside from a thorough GROUNDING WORLD CLASS EDUCATION ASPIRATIONS WITH PERFORMANCE religious grounding, the students were encouraged to be holistic in their studies; to take up the soft skills that the country needs, to be multi-lingual, and to be multidisciplinary, as well as to build their character. “We also took on the MOE’s Virtual Learning Environment initiative (1BestariNet) and made it part of the school ethos,” Abdul Wahab explained.
Imtiaz also inculcated higher-order thinking skills as well as problemsolving skills in the students, using current world affairs as a teaching aid. “We want our students to have encyclopaedic knowledge as well, so that they can compete at a global level.”
Having become a government school in 2007, Imtiaz is open to students across Malaysia, with only 60 percent enrolment from Terengganu, to increase students’ exposure to the rest of the nation. Students come from all socioeconomic backgrounds, although poor students are given priority. Abdul Wahab is very thankful for the MOE’s initiatives aimed at improving both students and school. “Every new development or initiative that MOE comes up with, I try to take up and adapt for use in the school. For example, we use the School Improvement Partners (SIP+), which we find to be quite useful, and School Improvement Specialist Coaches (SISC+) as well. We’re currently implementing the DLP, which is designed to improve student proficiency in English.”
“I’m glad to have the opportunity to introduce the school to a wider audience, and we hope to make this the best school in Malaysia. We’re planning to further develop the Imtiaz brand into higher education; hopefully, in 2020, we will have Imtiaz colleges and universities as well.”
Source: National Transformation Programme Annual Report 2015