Malaysia: Education Ministry Plans To Scrap Two Exams

The Education Minister of Malaysia, Muhyiddin Yassin, recently announced the possibility of scrapping two examinations under the current education system: the Primary School Evaluation Test (known as UPSR) and the Lower Certificate of Education (known as PMR). The Education Ministry believes that the current education system is too exam-oriented and will be replaced by a school-based assessment to encourage a more holistic education.

In an article published by The Star, Muhyiddin, who is also Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister, says:

The changes should lead to improved creativity, innovativeness and students involvement in sports and co-curricular activities. “The move will also discourage rote learning which places less emphasis on thinking capability,” he said.

According to Education in Malaysia, the government should examine several other factors that could contribute to the failure of the education system:

I am in complete agreement that we should reform our education system to prevent it from “producing robots”. However, we need to first understand the cause of failure in our education system which isn't a result of having examinations per se. Firstly, without first changing our teaching systems to encourage creativity, critical thinking and innovation, removing examinations will make little or no difference to the quality of education for our students. For example, if the quality and ability of the teachers remain unchanged, then quality of output will make little difference.

If there were no more exams, Through My Eyes wonders if the young ones will still be motivated:

Can Malaysians be trusted with the responsibility of freedom? Are we hardworking and motivated enough? We’ve become so result-oriented as a society. With carrots and sticks gone, I could see many helplessly lost, especially the young. Would the masses sail through six years of primary education without a thing to show, or would they actually benefit from the freedom of exploration through play? Would they know how to appreciate the opportunity? Or would they complain all the more of being bored, a word almost synonymous with students I know?

Tunku Aisha supports the removal of UPSR and PMR examinations to nurture creativity:

I think it is best that UPSR and PMR be abolished. We want our student to be more creative in their thinking instead of being exam oriented all the time. Our education system must change in order for our new generation be able to excel globally. The ministry can introduce a new method to measure the achievement of student for residential schools or streaming.

Kim via UndergroundSquare says students should compete with themselves, instead of with each other:

There are a few schools in Taiwan/HK whichever it is, that have this system whereby students don't compete against each other. They compete with themselves. So basically the way they assess is rewarding one who has improved his/her marks from the last test. It makes a lot more sense than competing with someone who is blessed with photographic memory for instance.

According to New Straits Times, Muhyiddin Yassin suggests for a roundtable discussion to be held from all stakeholders before a decision is made. This author believes that it is a good idea to get the input from various parties, but the Ministry should also get input from the young ones:

Input from them is just as crucial as they are the ones that are going through the education system. The decisions that are being made today are for the benefits of Malaysia’s future generation.

Thumbnail used in the post is from the flickr page of CLF


  • abcxyz

    UPSR and PMR abolish? What will happen when UPSR & PMR is abolish?

    1. No formal teaching and no learning will take place.. why study if there is no exam..
    Teachers and pupils will have a happy time… no need books anymore..
    2. School based exam…….. teachers will give good marks but without
    accessment………teachers are good at that.. A big joke…

    In the end… formal learning will not take place …….all play and no learning..

    Without examination.. our standard of education will go into the drain……

    It is not the examination that is the is the question in the exam that is the problem….

  • BK

    Whether there should be examination or not, this is a question which has probably been debated for time and again and yet no firm conclusion would be made in the near future. Both sides have their supporters. While I think that examination should be there as a form of assessment on the students progress, it should not be the only determining factor to grade if a student is doing well or not; there should be other areas to consider for students like critical thinking, real-life practical, creativity etc. End of the day, we must not get too result-oriented. Although I am personally involved in coaching study to attain excellence in their study, I strongly believe that we can coach them for excellence in life too by unleashing the potential within them and encouraging to pursue their dreams.

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.