Monthly Archives: July 2010

Exams or No Exams?

Since, I’ve been going on a trend which blogs about the things around me (in my country) and its issues. I’ve decided to stick on to this trend. I shall call it the “Nonsense Friday”, just so cause it has nothing to do with me, but it’s all about the people, the place or the things around me. I think I’m so full of myself in events and trips from Saturday till Thursday. Let’s give it a break, shall we? Here’s the new topic: exams If you have been following the media, you’d know that the subject of Abolishing UPSR and PMR has been the headlines for at least few days. I, for one feels that every Education Minister in our country that took over this post has been trying and vying to show or prove something to the nation, by making outstanding but crazy and ridiculous decisions. And such decisions has not been well implemented over the past many ministers and past many years. I’d personally object to this idea of abolishing UPSR and PMR. Not because I’ve passed the years of UPSR and PMR (yes, i have. if you are wondering), but it’s because I fear that it’d go from bad to worst. I foresee bad implementation as well as much mishandling of the results and the future of the kids. UPSR is a public examination taken by Standard 6 students; while PMR is another examination taken by Form 3 students. Both these tests has it’s own significant purposes. UPSR was and is used to help to stream students and to decide the school/hostel that they would go to in Secondary School while PMR is another exam used to stream students into the Arts and Science Stream. If the government was trying to justify that the two exams would be replaced by School Assessments, how sure are we to assure on the standards and the quality of these questions and results? I’ve said this before, and I am saying it again – it’s no point good at implementing, but bad at maintaining. Take for an example, the diagnostic tests sent by the government to schools. The same questions were used for all the schools, but the students sat for the papers at different time of the day. Hence, the leakage. What are the assurance that can be given to Malaysians that these internal papers would serve the same purpose of UPSR and PMR; while maintaining the qualities and standards? With this, we can also no longer differentiate the top schools as well as the not-so-top schools. The government has been using different names to classified the schools into different categories through the results of these public examinations. Although it boils down to just different taglines, but it helps the country and people to know what are the prominent schools around! Being a student for St John’s; I’ve had the privileged of being taught by many good and experience teachers. Yes, undeniably true – being in a school like ours; we are constantly expected to perform well in our major examinations (that includes SPM). In addition, we were put into heavy stress and unnecessary burdens in our work. But it actually helped me a lot. Here is what I experienced: I had a principal that was fierce yet, had good intentions. He introduced many methods and ways just to get students to do well. Me, being a lazy and not-so-smart student, I was forced to do many things. Some of the things I remembered clearly was to copy essays like crazy weekly and to be handed in; I was also required to sit for exams for two weeks in a month after school. It was then, I felt so traumatized with exams. I decided to even cancelled my tuition despite those years. I was also caned for not completing my work; and was being asked to sit outside the class (even when I was Form 5). Embarrassing moments? Nevertheless, through all this – I had to say that I made through my PMR and SPM (not with flying colours) but with above average results. And many were amazed, that I did not attended tuition. Exams helped push the school, the teachers and the students to their fullest potential. Many at times, we slack when we are not expected of something. We tend to take it easy. What more, Malaysians? Yes, the government is trying to make us think out of the box; but I feel that it does not help much by abolishing exams. Recently, in my semester, I’ve been attending a module on “Creativity and Innovation”. It’s a weird module, but it really does help me think out of the box. Creativity has no limitations and our education system should be thinking of ways to incorporate this issue on “Creativity and Innovation” in our syllabus and to cultivate a creative environment in classes where both teachers and students get to share and learn together. That’s what learning is all about. I guess we can’t force one to be creative, but we can always create an environment where students are allowed to just spread their wings and fly be creative. Questions in the exams could also be tailored into a very open-ended questions instead of just 1+1. We are very much limited in our education system not because of the examinations, but because of what is in our examinations. Many choose to memorise and regurgitate it all in the exams, instead of understanding the subject matter. Hence, when they leave high school – many do come out with the same expectations to be fed in universities. That happens all the time anyways, I’ve seen that since I came into University. And it took me quite a little while to adjust. Enough of experiences; I know its a little messed up – cause I am writing what’s on my mind without planning the whole post. This post is good, long and wordy enough even without bringing the issue of Maths and Science in English back to Bahasa. Let’s just take a vote and see what you guys really think; and drop me a comment on the comment box. I won’t shoot you for going against me. :)