By Hazlinda Hamzah
SUBANG JAYA, — Many parents believe that teachers are responsible for students' performance in schools.
However, parents fail to understand that teachers have limitations too.
Hence, it is important for parents to work closely with their children to improve their performance.
There are 10,066 schools in Malaysia that include 7,733 primary and 2,333 secondary schools, according to Ministry of Education.
One of them is Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) USJ 12, a secondary school that caters for children of residents in the USJ3, USJ11 and USJ12.
This school received its cluster status in 2011.
A cluster school of excellence is a merit system implemented in Malaysia.
This standing is given to schools with high-performing students, which in turn gives greater autonomy in the area of administration.
SMK USJ12 headmistress Zaharah Ishak said this year, 503 students have been enrolled in Form One in this cluster school, where 11 classes have been opened to accommodate this high number of students.
"We have big classes now, not less than 45 students to each class for Form One new enrolment. We have about 2,203 students from Form One to Form Five".
The school has 11 classes each in Forms One, Two and Three and 12 classes each for Form Four and Form Five," Zaharah explained.
This cluster school has 111 teachers to educate students of all races and from all walks of life.
SMK USJ12 is very popular among parents especially those with children who are on entering secondary school after completing their UPSR examination.
Students in the school are disciplined too, which is an important element of a cluster school.
According to the Selangor Education Department, there are more than 10 cluster schools (both primary and secondary) in the Petaling Perdana district.
Why do parents choose these cluster schools for their children?
An officer at the Ministry of Education explained that schools of excellence in the cluster schools category are result-oriented.
These schools have sufficient resources and manage their finances well.
There are 153 cluster schools in this country including 46 primary and 107 secondary national schools.
They include boarding and national-type schools in rural and urban areas.
In total, 213 schools nationwide are acknowledged for their academic and co-curriculum excellence, and 60 of them have been categorized as High Achievers.
All these schools have achieved the Band 1 standard with regard to academic program and co-curriculum activities.
"I am the type who will push students to perform during their exams especially the students in examination years. We still have the Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) examination for our third formers to concentrate on at least for one last time this year.
"I ensure that students pay full attention to their teachers. I believe in giving that big push where academic achievements are concerned and I am very serious about it," a senior assistant at SMK USJ12, Datin Suhailah Abdullah told Bernama.
These excellent schools are also graded A, B and C and the SMK USJ12 is a grade B cluster school in Selangor.
Grade B cluster schools need to have an average grade of not more than 4.0 in their PMR, SPM and STPM results for three consecutive years, as compared to a grade A cluster schools which must score an average grade of 3.0 and below.
Cluster schools in the grade B category are mostly day schools and those with 100 years of existence as well as sports, national religious and vocational schools.
According to the Selangor Education Department, there are 25 other national schools which have been for cluster school recommendation.
At SMK USJ12, teachers work hard to ensure that students perform well.
"At the recent PMR, we witnessed an increase in our passing percentage with more students getting straight A's.
"Teachers and students had worked hard together to produce the improved results. Parents of these students also did their part.
"We are proud to be in good form and would surely be looking forward to working towards further improvement," said Zaharah who will be retiring soon.
In fact, 95.12 per cent of the students from SMK USJ12 managed to pass the 2012 PMR examination, compared to 92.72 per cent the year before, proving that hard work pays. (PNA/Bernama)