Academic journal article International Education Studies

Students' Attitudes and Their Academic Performance in Nationhood Education

Academic journal article International Education Studies

Students' Attitudes and Their Academic Performance in Nationhood Education

Article excerpt

Abstract

The main goal of the nationhood education is to instill the sense of loyalty and passion into the nation. In a Malaysian context, several academic subjects at higher education such as Malaysian Studies, Ethnic Relations and National Language have been implemented in order to achieve the goal. Malaysian Study is one of the compulsory courses offered by all private universities in Malaysia that is intended to educate students with national values, patriotism and belongingness to the country. However, past empirical evidence show that many students have a lack of interest to learn such subject. Therefore, the current study investigated contributing factors to students' academic achievement and also examined students' attitudes towards that subject. Using quantitative approach, the current study categorized four main factors namely the suitability and interest in syllabus, being active in class, early preparation and revision, types of enjoyable activities, interest in teaching aids and good class attendance. Using questionnaires and SPSS software as the main tools in this study, the mean score, frequency and percentage were obtained, It is concluded statistically from this study that students' perception of their lecturers play a significant role in determining their learning outcomes in Malaysian Studies, while the lecturers are of the opinion that learning environment is a factor which contributes significantly to the students' achievement in this subject. The current study suggests that the teachers build upon excellent rapport with students and create an attractive and enjoyable environment to get the students to dynamically involve in the classroom activities and learn the Malaysian Studies enthusiastically and efficiently.

Keywords: Malaysian studies, nationhood, interests, teaching aids, learning environment, academic performance

1. Introduction

Nationhood education is the main priorities by the government all over the world. In the United Kingdom and Australia for instance, nationhood education is recommended to be part of national school curriculum (McKenzie, 1993). In Indonesia, nationhood education is embedded in the official philosophical foundation known as pancasila. In a Malaysian context, the importance of nationhood education can be seen in the national philosophy known as rukimegara and the Constitutional Law. Nationhood education "is important not only for its effects on politics and government, but also in relation to community and voluntary activities, and social and international harmony (McKenzie, 1993)". One of the common strategies to promote good citizens is via Nationhood and Citizenship Education curriculum either at a school level or higher degree level.

Kerr (2005) surveyed 6400 students from 237 secondary schools and 50 colleges, 238 school and college heads and 876 teachers and college tutors in England where the study found that young peoples' development of citizenship dimensions are influenced by a range of interrelated factors and influences including school, family, peer groups, community, teachers, parents, friends and the educational processes. The study also highlighted possible influences of socio-cultural factors on citizenship dimensions among participants.

2. Students'Attitudes and Academic Achievement in Nationhood Education

In Malaysia, nationhood education curriculum is delivered in several subjects including History, Civic Education, Ethnic Relations, General Studies and Malaysian Studies. The Malaysian Private Higher Education Act 1990 posits that it is compulsory for all students to study and pass the Malaysian Studies subject. Due to this regulation, all students in private universities comprising a total number of 323,787 students (Da, 2007) studied Malaysian Studies subject. Irrespective of the importance of this subject for the country, empirical evidence shows that most students lack interest in studying this subject. Daily experience of dealing and interacting with students revealed that the Malaysian Studies have been given less priority by most students. …

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