By Siti Madihah Ahmad Mahir UiTM Industrial Trainee
Pix by Saliman Leman
BANGI, 10 March 2011 – The gifted children programme PERMATA, a brainchild of Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor, wife of the prime minister, took another leap forward when the PERMATA Foundation was launched here today to enable all its plans to be implemented as envisaged.
The foundation launched by Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah at the PERMATApintar Negara complex within the grounds of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) campus here today will serve as the organisation to oversee the implementation of all the gifted children programmes which were started in 2007.
Among the PERMATA education programmes that had been implemented are those for children under three, a leadership and talent management programme for smart, talented or gifted children called PERMATApintar, PERMATA Seni and PERMATA Insan.
The foundation will enable the special programmes for gifted children be implemented continuously without having to be too dependent on the Government for funding.
Datin Seri Rosmah hope that the PERMATA Foundation would benefit the educational development of children in the country.
“Hopefully, it may become the main pillar supporting educational development and talent management programmes that are sorely needed by the country. Through these PERMATA programmes, I hope to see the results of our efforts to build a more outstanding younger generation, if not in this generation, then the next. Maybe one day we may be able to produce the long-awaited Nobel Laureate,” she said.
The PERMATApintar Negara complex within the main UKM campus was built within a year, comprising a school for gifted children. The first batch of 116 fourth-formers were admitted in January this year. The whole complex is expected to be completed in 2013.
The Government has allocated RM20 million for the first phase of the project to house 150 students. Under the 10th Malaysia Plan, another RM54 million has been allocated for the second phase which would enable the special school to take in another 150 students.
The gifted students were selected based on three stringent tests on their IQ score, competencies and leadership skills apart from their emotional stability.
UKM Vice Chancellor Prof. Tan Sri Dato’ Wira Dr. Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin said the students of the PERMATApintar school have to follow the mainstream curriculum for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) certificate but are required to take additional subjects like a foreign language and be involved in a scientific research project under the guidance of a mentor, who is a professor or an academic of UKM.
“The students are also given the opportunity to sit for tests at the international level, that is, the IELTS, TOEFL, SAT, O-Level, A-Level and Advanced Placement, depending on their abilities and interests. This will give them the versatility to further their education locally or overseas,” she said.
Also emphasied are co-curriculum activities where the students can make use of the facilities available at UKM for sports and the arts among others apart from golf, archery, bowling and horseback riding.
While waiting for their own hostel to be ready, the students were now housed at a special block at Kolej Pendeta Za’aba, where there is a shuttle bus to take them to school and back to the hostel.
“The second phase is underway. God willing, the additional classrooms, labs, auditorium, hostel and sports complex would be ready before the second intake of students,” said Prof Sharifah Hapsah.
Before the launch of the PERMATA Foundation, all contributions from corporate organisations were kept at the Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris Fund. They would now be channelled to the foundation.
To date, the PERMATA Foundation has received a total of RM4.4 million in contributions from the AlBukhary Foundation, Khazanah Nasional, Perbadanan Nasional Berhad, 1MDB and Berjaya Corporation. The funds will be disbursed as scholarships to gifted students selected to attend the PERMATApintar school.
(Translated by Kuah Guan Oo)