Making first year pupils feel at home
Published on: Sunday, January 05, 2020
By: Johan Aziz, Clarence Dol, Efa Rizan, Ibrahim Tabir
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A Primary One pupil clinging to her mother during her first day at school in SK Bongkud Ranau.
WELCOMING first year students has become a tradition for SK Banjar management, in Keningau, every year.

Jinli Ramlee, headmaster of the school, told the Daily Express on Thursday that as early as 7am teachers, led by him, would line up at the school grounds to welcome new students who were accompanied by their parents.

“The students would shake hands with the teachers. Such gesture makes the students feel welcomed. The students would happily also kiss the teachers’ hands,” he said.

At the same time, he said the parents would also get similar treatment.

He said some of the parents said such tradition could inspire their children as they attend the first day at school.

Jinli said the teachers had no problem serving the students – some of whom were crying or scared.

According to him, the average student is already familiar with the school environment since before entering Year One, 98 per cent of them already attended pre-school at the school.

“This year, the school welcomed 79 new students who began their education at the school (Thursday).

“There is no fee charged to students who start their studies this year. Only RM6 is charged for the transition module,” he said.

District Education Chief Officer, Masly Wahip, when contacted also confirmed that no school fees were charged on students in the district at the beginning of the school day.

He said this year, 2,566 students entered the first year of schooling in all 72 primary schools in the district.

Meanwhile, Masly said there are 1,958 students who attended Form One at all 11 secondary schools in the district.

The parents did not complain about the purchase of their children’s preparatory school as they have already planned on the expenses for clothes, shoes, bags and other stationery items.

“We do not feel burdened to provide children with school supplies especially for those who are in the first year or form one,” they said.

Survey of some schools here showed the students were happy and felt excited by the friendly treatment from the school teachers.

In RANAU, the first day of Primary One classes went on as usual across the district with the seven-year-olds waking early after the long holiday break.

A mother, Richa Justin Ahan, said her daughter Isabell Atira William, 7, who is a Primary One pupil at SK St Benedict Ranau, woke up early despite being in the afternoon session this year.

“We were all excited in the family as our daughter is the first child to step into primary school. Despite her class is in the afternoon session, the day started early for us as our child was excited to meet with her friends from the same kindergarten from Tadika Kasih Bonda,” she said.

Similar experience was shared by another parent, Rudolf Bidi, whose first daughter, Alexa Rudolf is entering Primary One at SJKC Pai Wen Ranau after spending three years schooling in Yuk Yu Kindergarten nearby.

Asked about the shift from kindergarten to Primary One, Rudolf said:

“Undeniably, a higher cost was involved when a child moves up to primary schools because of new uniforms, shoes, stationery and what not.

“Compared to when she was schooling in the kindergarten, some clothing could be used from the previous years.

Moreover, now we start to give pocket money to the child, compared to the years in kindergarten where meals were prepared there,” he said.

Nevertheless, Rudolf said there was no shortage of excitement among the family as the child goes into a new chapter in her schooling life.

In terms of pupil’s nervousness to step into the primary one classes, all is well in SK Bongkud Ranau, with only one or two incidents where a child could not let go of their parent’s hand to go into their classes.

Headmistress of SK Bongkud Ranau, Wisnah Awang, who spends early morning welcoming and greeting children at the school gate, said about 28 new pupils stepped into Primary One at the school on Thursday.

“Almost all of the students have no problem in stepping into the new environment and meeting new friends. Only one or two had to be accompanied by their parents who waited outside the classrooms,” she said.

School anxiety, however, is a more common occurrence at kindergarten, the four-year-olds could not let go of their parents’ hands, and were crying when taken into class.

For one mother, Fetroniella Fitry whose daughter Eve Nathania, 4, getting her child to enter the SJKC Pai Wen kindergarten was fine at first, but as other children were crying, her daughter also began to cry and not wanting to be separated from her mother.

“However, thankfully all the teachers here are well-trained and experienced, so they have no problem in consoling the nervous children. Not long after that all children are calmer and happy with their new friends, teachers and schooling environment,” she said.


A pupil, accompanied by his mother, shaking hands with one of the teachers. The welcoming ceremony was led by Jinli (second left).

In KUNAK, only several children were crying on their first day of kindergarten at the SK Mostyn preschool class.

Parents met by Daily Express said their children were trained to get up earlier.

On the first day, most parents or guardians accompanied their children to school. There are no tuition fees for students attending the Government-aided primary school here.

“Earlier, my son was schooling at Tadika Pasti (a private kindergarten) when he was five years old. He is used to getting up early in the morning. He is calm and would meet new friends,” said Jeries binti Jefri when met at SK Mostyn’s Pre-school class.

Although some students were crying after their parents left for work, many more were having fun with their new friends.

Meanwhile, Rizal bin Razul also sent his son to SK Mostyn’s pre-school class in Kunak before leaving for the Maktab Rendah Sains Mara (MRSM) in Semporna to enrol another child there.

“I have to chase time today. Early morning in Kunak and after that I have to go to MRSM in Semporna,” said Rizal.

Meanwhile, the average parent found that they spent between RM200 and RM400 to buy school supplies including exercise books, bags and school uniforms.

Some spend up to RM700 – depending on the number of schooling children and their grade level.

Parents who send their children to a private kindergarten can expect to spend an annual fee of between RM250 and RM300 per child.

“It depends on where parents choose to send their children,” said a mother known only as Sumiati.

In LAHAD DATU, there was no drama or tears on the first day of school at the primary school, Thursday.

During a survey conducted at SRJKC Chee Vun, the Primary One pupils were all calm and ready to begin their new adventure.

In the previous years, parents were seen lingering near the classroom but there was no repeat of such scene this year. Parents gave space and opportunity for the school to handle their child.

One of the parents, Asleeya, said her seven-year-old son was excited to go to school and meet his friends.

Syafreyan Syah Chee Wei Ann got up early and did not cry at all.

“He was excited. I believe it was because he had attended the kindergarten before and could adapt to the environment.

“He only reminded me to fetch him once school finishes,” said Asleeya.

Talking about the preparation cost for school, Asleeya said she spent almost RM500 for her two children.

She said the school uniforms were quite expensive, especially for the baju kurung which cost almost RM40 for a pair.

The price, she added, had likely increased from the previous years. 

Meanwhile, Dolilah Duakin, a mother of three including a pair of twins, said she spent about RM500 for the twins.

The expenses included three pairs of uniforms and two pair of shoes. The kindergarten fee and schooling equipment, however, were provided.

When asked about their first day at school, Dolilah said her children were excited and had fun.

“I am happy and less nervous as they did not cry at all,” she added.

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