Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Scrapping UPSR & PMR: MoE Roundtable

Educationists and parents want UPSR, PMR to stay
UPDATED @ 03:21:48 PM 27-07-2010By Boo Su-Lyn July 27, 2010

PUTRAJAYA, July 27 — Political parties and educationists want the UPSR and PMR public examinations retained, an Education Ministry dialogue was told today.

Representatives from political parties like DAP and MIC and non-governmental organisations such as the Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE) and the United Chinese School Committees Association of Malaysia (Dong Zong) said that today’s meeting of about 40 representatives saw a chorus of reservation against abolishing the two public examinations.

“Majority do not agree to abolish both,” said Dong Zong representative Dr Lai Hoi Chaw today.

“Majority also thought this exam system has to be modified,” he added, saying that creative content should be increased in the examination system.

Lai, the deputy director of the Malaysian Independent Chinese Secondary School Unified Examination Committee under Dong Zong, said that Dong Zong rejected the UPSR move until the government proposed a detailed alternative student assessment system.

“We do not agree to abolish UPSR immediately until we know more about the alternative formula,” Lai said, adding that the group would also decide on the matter of PMR when an alternative assessment system was proposed.

Lai also demanded for the school-based assessment proposal by Malaysia Examination Board director Datuk Dr Salbiah Ismail at the discussion today to be made public.

Salbiah’s proposal included creating an internal school assessment system and a guided methodology on how to conduct assessments up to the Form 5 SPM level, as well as implementing “psychometric tests” on students’ emotions and character, said DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua.

Pua said Salbiah’s proposal showed that the Education Ministry seemed to have decided to scrap the two public examinations even before talks were completed.

Education Director-General Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom said last week that a report on the roundtable discussions would be submitted to the Education Minister by the end of August.

The ministry’s first official roundtable discussion took place on July 19, and was attended by over 120 educators, district education officers and teachers’ unions representatives.

The National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP), the Sarawak Teachers’ Union, the West Malaysia Malay Teachers’ Union, and education academics reportedly favoured replacing the two public examinations with school-based assessments.

However, PAGE chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said that her organisation favoured retaining the two public examinations because a school-based assessment system was open to abuse.

“If we were to rely on school-based assessment, it is subject to manipulation, leaks, favouritism. A national assessment is independent,” said Azimah.

“Most (in the discussion) were in favour of keeping both (examinations), but with the adjustments of making it better,” added Azimah, pointing out that the focus of the current examination system on rote should be replaced with more open-ended questions.

Academic Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Abdul Rahman Arshad also called for the rigid examination system to be revised instead of abolishing UPSR and PMR.

“We must change the nature of the exam. You don’t demolish everything,” said the University-College Sedaya International chancellor.

“A good number are for adjustments to be made,” added Abdul Rahman.

MIC representative Tan Sri Professor T. Marimuthu said that his party was against scrapping the UPSR and PMR examinations, citing concerns of a school-based assessment system that is open to abuse.

“We are concerned about teacher load and teacher bias in a school-based assessment,” said the MIC education committee chairman.

Marimuthu added that the MIC wanted UPSR especially to be retained and for the government to address the pressure faced by UPSR students.

“Any change must be based on informed research. I am not sure what research has been done on this,” said Marimuthu, adding that majority in the discussion wanted to retain the two public examinations.

The DAP is also against scrapping the UPSR and PMR examinations and claimed yesterday that students performed better when subjected to public examinations as shown by international research.

“If the government is insistent in proceeding, as it appears to be, to scrap the exams, do a pilot project first,” said Pua, adding that the government should compare those who took public examinations and those who did not after several years.

“The consequence of scrapping exams for the whole country at one go is a highly risky move. We call for the (Education) Ministry not to repeat the mistake of PPSMI,” said Pua, pointing out that Putrajaya had proceeded with implementing the policy of teaching science and mathematics in English despite public reservation but was forced to abolish it a few years later.


Anonymous said...

It looks like everybody is favour to retain both exams....perhaps except the minister himself..

Come on...there are more important issue to discuss than whether to abolish UPSR or PMR.

I suggest we reduce our lower secondary form from three years to two years.

I suspect one of the reasons we did not do well in TMISS in the past because while students in other countries might have attained higher mathematical skills comparable to Malaysian students because this TMISS is administed at 8th grade or 14 years old (form 2 in Malaysia or secondary 2 in Singapore.

Since Malaysian secondary school comprises of 5 years while Singapore system comprises of 4 years. Their secondary 2 level is much higher than our form 2. Agree??

I believe Malaysian youngters are as potential as their counterparts in our parts of the world. Hence, please don't pamper them by let them studying less.

Else,in the future, when they grow up, our students who grown up to be scholars cannot compete with other scholars from advanced countries.

Passionate About Blogging said...

Children have different gifts, talents, inclinations. I don't think PMR or UPSR is bad for the children. The problem has always been the stress put on their young shoulders by their parents' expectations. Learning should be fun, it should be a discovery, not a burden or a shame. Whatever the decision, we hope global competition would not be held above the children's interests.

Anonymous said...

I believe should the PMR exams be abolished then the standards and stressors will be placed on SPM. However, of late even in the halls of foreign universities there are gasps over SPM's lack of credibility as an examination. Rumours abound of it lacking in rigour and validity. It is sad that no proper study has been done to redeem our education standards but what is worse is that we are churning out certificates that cannot be met with jobs and vice versa. Chaos will abound if such a situation were to occur. In the mean time old heritage buildings are torn down to make way for new property developments is a facade so important to a society that the minds and hearts of people are no longer relevant. The soul of the nation is trying to be heard and is not heard. With all these developments in the education arena it is disappointing to see that bad mannerisms are rearing its ugly head in schools and universities. Being a teacher or lecturer is no longer a noble profession and the heart of the matter is do people care anymore for that educated soul and mind that cares. I wonder?

jhonstatham said...

The soul of the nation is trying to be heard and is not heard. With all these developments in the education arena it is disappointing to see that bad mannerisms are rearing its ugly head in schools and universities. Being a teacher or lecturer is no longer a noble profession and the heart of the matter is do people care anymore for that educated soul and mind that cares. I wonder?

aifa said...

The exams shouldn't be abolished instead why don't they just sat and re-modified or upgrade it. What I notice that the children in schools nowadays become more robotic and their purpose of going is not to learn anymore but to get straight A's. I'm not saying that getting A's is a bad thing but they're just kids. Parents, communities and politicians are putting too much expectations on kids to succeed. People often forget that all of us are different one way or the other... Ever heard of multiple intelligence?! I know that 'labellings' are a trend now. Can people just stop to label the kids and let their intelligences grow.I've once heard a parent said this to their sons and daughters "if you have A's in your exams then u r a good student. You are bad students if you don't have A's." Are you kiddin me?

Anonymous said...

jhonstatham, what are you babbling about?

If God or the almighty Allah intends teachers or lecturer to make the rules and regulations governing how the world should works, surely they will be created in majority numbers?

But NO!!!God or Allah cursed them to be minorities-geek freaks.

That is the hard cold fact, jhonstatham.
Live with it.

Businessmen rule the world!!

Anonymous said...

i totally disagree with this matter.
What is the main reason should they abolish the exam?

does it works?

anyway? did anyone here can recommend me any good educational software.

Khursiah Sauffi said...

I don't think that UPSR and PMR are giving negative effects to the students. Even, these exams make our education system look too exam-oriented, but somehow or rather, we do need the exams to check the level of the student's knowledge, to know if they really learn in school or not. On the other hand, exam can be as a motivation for the students to learn. Be positive people!

student1 said...

@anonymous1: i've been a student in both malaysia and singapore. so let me clarify some things for you: no, it is not true that the level of mathematics in singapore at sec 2 is higher than that of malaysia. likewise can be said for our malaysian science subjects at upper secondary school. content-wise, we are far superior than singapore.

we don't need to revamp our syllabus for what we have is already good. we need to change the examination system, set a higher standard for government exams, improve the quality of our teachers etc.

and of course. continue having science and math in english. =_=