Friday, October 14, 2005

Maintain PMR Standards

Following the report in the Star with regards to the PMR examination which has been regarded as a little "too easy" (blogged here), a Mr Sunny Tan of Johor Bahru, wrote in the Letters column of the Star, requesting that the education authorities "maintain PMR standards".
The Education Ministry and the Malaysian Examination Syndicate (MES) should really take the views of teachers and students who are disappointed with the lack of challenge of the examination papers seriously and not just shrug them off.

We must ask ourselves if the results give a true picture of the students' understanding of, and ability in, the subjects tested when they are set below par. It is dangerous to disillusion ourselves by lowering the standards.
I'm sure all of us could not agree more. We'd like the MES to take the criticisms constructively and help us improve the standards of Malaysian students and the crediblity of the Malaysian examinaton in the future. What MES should do now is make a public statement that it will consider all the opinions of the teachers, parents and the public and make future year examinations a better one.

Sunny goes on to argue that over the years, "the ministry has reduced the content in the Mathematics and Science syllabus to make the subjects lighter on our students."

However, due to current and future needs, the syllabus should instead be enhanced ... The ministry should not take out components just because they are slightly more difficult to understand.

Apparently, there was a new format of examination for the English paper as well. This format, it appears, consists of graphic materials and short texts - as describe by PMR student John Lee in his comments on the earlier post here. Sunny argued, understandably that this new format "will not test the ability of the students".
When one looks at the current examination formats for the English Language papers, one will question the seriousness of the Government in raising its level. One only needs to check the questions over the last 30 years or so to see the steep degradation of the standard.

We would appreciate if the ministry injects more comprehension, grammar, writing and other more useful components into the syllabus to help our students get a better grasp of the language.
Sunny was not the only reader complaining, there was plenty of feedback from the Star readers published today. Some of the examples of comments are:
“Exam standards have been dropping year by year. This will affect the standard in university too. Please buck up.”

A student said the questions were probably made easy because school Mathematics and Science teachers were themselves not proficient in English. “The teachers who are teaching Maths and Science in English cannot even read or teach in English. What do you expect?”

National Union of the Teaching Profession secretary-general Lok Yim Pheng said the MES should not lower examination standards to make it easier for weaker students. [The MES] cannot lower the standard of exams like this just to make it easier for some students. The standard of public examinations must be maintained,” said Lok.
Yes, MES, we do not want to produce a generation of incompetent 'A' students.


Anonymous said...

PMR is the most stupid thing that has happened to anyone! Results aren't everything. It's what we learn from our studies that are important. Bad results don't mean that the student is no good or do not understand. Examinations like this make students think that studying is only for results. It's a wrong way of thinking. We should focus more on the moral values.

There is no lack of challenge in the papers. It's not fair if you make the standards higher. What about those students that are poorer in their studies? It's already a challenge for them.

The Bahasa Melayu papers are even more baised. If you make the standard of B.M. higher, the Malays will score higher than the Chinese or Indians, of course! The Ministry of Education is unfair to the other races. They just want their own people to score higher.

The standards of, Mathematics and Science should be higher. Come on, let's face it. In this era of science and technology, if you use Malaysia standard science or maths, you'll fail badly.

English is the global language. It plays an important role in our lives and yet, most of the Malays I've seen can not converse in fluent, or even understandeble, English. Why is that so? Because the PPD focused too much on B.M. instead of English!

Even my 13 year old daughter can speak better English than a 31 year old English teacher! She (my daughter) writes poetry and novel on-line and speaks English than is comparable to most British!

All I have to say is, Science, Maths and English standards should be higher and the MOE shouldn't focus too much on Malay. It's not going to work out in the society.

Anonymous said...

I want to critic on the comment posted by 'unhappy parent':

You said that,

"The Bahasa Melayu papers are even more baised. If you make the standard of B.M. higher, the Malays will score higher than the Chinese or Indians, of course! The Ministry of Education is unfair to the other races. They just want their own people to score higher."

I assume you better review what you had said. Based on my genuine experience, the Malays themselves also cannot even achieve high marks. On the other hand, the Chinese can accomplish with first-rate results. The Chinese can perform outstandingly compared to the Malays. What can you say? Bias?
Unjust? You better ponder upon it.

Anonymous said...

oohh i hate it when theres somebody want justice sooooooooo badly then, start to point fingers to others..come on, look deep at urself a parent, did u consider urself fair enough 4 your kids?and i SERIOUSLY do not think so...y? bcoz some ppl did not realized that the true justice is from God the Almighty.
Ppl can try to be fair to others but they sometimes could not be perfectly fair to ppl..they just couldnt..and sorry bcoz my english is bad but i think all of u could understand what im trying 2 say..especially 4 'unhappy parent'. tq and im sorry again..

Anonymous said...

dear unhappy parent,

did your child scored badly in the PMR or are you just racist. why is it that when a child doesnt do well in exams that parents have to blame it on the MOE and make it into a race issue. if the child cant do well in school it is the child's ability to understand and comprehend should be taken into question.

every year thousands of students take the PMR, the exam papers does not see race or colour nor religion, it just evaluates the understanding and comprehension of the student over the last three years. Malays, Chinese and Indians students have excelled and some dont do to well but most are at average.

Bahasa Melayu should be the only subjects that all Malays should excel in, but this is not the case, Chinese and Indians seems to excel better because Malays take bahasa Melayu for granted. Not only Malays cant speak fluent English, alot of Chinese also cant speak English well at all and many of them are in Managerial positions! Indians seems to do well in English but they dont make up many Managerial post.

So the english language at it has nothing to do with race, it you are among among people who speak english well you will speak it well if not you will converse in your mother tongue.

As for the rest of the subjects its all fair play, if you understand it, comprehend it and work on it you will do well.

Todays parents will go to extremes to make sure their kids do well in school. Are you doing enough or are you just blaming others for your own faults and short comings. MOE is doing its best and undoubtedly can improve on standards and curricullum. If the standards are lower this year then every child taking PMR should pass with flying colours,

Enough said, leave the prejudice of race, colour and religion, have you done enough for your child, hopefully your clever 13 year old will score 8A's in when her time comes.

Anonymous said...

theory is important but practical & survival skills are even more important. we should educate our children in economic survival, practical things in life, respecting others whether it is an opinion or even matters pertaining to religious issues & tell them that there is no end in education. we need to move forward & not to regret our previous but to correct it & most important is to improve our skills as we grow older.

Anonymous said...

Unhappy parent isn't all wrong, it is true that the government favours the Malays. Why do you think Chinese have lower chances of getting Malaysian scholarships? You guys need to try thinking in a more open minded way.