Among the measures proposed are:Students will rejoice for they will have to sit for less examinations. They will also be happy that examinations have been given an official "demotion" in terms of importance. There have after all been a fair bit of groaning and moaning in the newspaper forums and letter pages in recent times.
- Reducing the number of subjects in public examinations and testing only certain subjects at school level;
- Introducing a semester system instead of the current term-based school system;
- Emphasising skills and abilities rather than focusing on content and achievements;
- Encouraging personal development through subjects like Art and Physical Education; and
- Improving teaching-learning methods by encouraging more project-based assignments.
Teachers will be happy because they will have less subjects to teach. They'll also be happy that their performance will be less correlated with the actual performance of their students. Correspondingly, the "evaluation" of students, if such a term is even allowed to be used on students at all, will be based on subjective matters such as co-curricular activities.
Are students and teachers however, happy for the right reasons?
I am more than a tad sceptical with regards to the proposals by the Ministry of Education, as announced by Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein. Mind you, I'm not a examination fanatic such that everything must be examinations based - for example, "Moral Studies" for SPM. Neither am I satisfied with the nature of our current examination system which is probably a tad overly reliant on rote learning and memorisation techniques, and less on critical thinking and analytical skills.
I am concerned that we are changing our examinations system for the wrong reasons. I am also wary that these wrong reasons will lead to a "new" system which have counter-productive impact on the education experienced by our students. Instead of raising the standards of the "output" of our education system, are we taking an unintended step backwards, and as a result fail to fully realise the potentials of our young ones?
I have much to say on the above topic. And I've been meaning to write about it for the past couple of weeks. But I must get back to work (or sleep) after returning from China in the wee hours of this morning. I'll catch up on this later this evening to put my thoughts down on paper.
In the meantime, I'll be expecting plenty of "angry" mails lecturing me on the futility of an examinations based system. Well, have your say here and I'll put in my replies later and we can have an eventful discussion. :)