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Malaysia: Should schools abolish examinations?

A few months ago, the Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister of Malaysia, Muhyiddin Yassin, announced the possibility of introducing a school-based assessment to replace the current exam-oriented approach by scrapping the UPSR (Primary School Evaluation Test) and PMR (Lower Certificate of Education).

A committee was formed to study and examine the effectiveness of both exams and it was recently announced that the government will retain the UPSR exam and change the PMR exam to a school-based assessment. Muhyiddin, however, says that the changes will not be immediate:

“We reckon that it will take six years for such a major transformation to really work because it in­­volves changes in syllabus and books as well as training for teachers so that they are not so examination-oriented,” he said, adding that the pilot project for school-based assessment had been carried out at some 550 schools since 2008.

Clon's Blog supports the government's decision:

My personal point of view is that first of all, it is a good news. The students will not be burdened just to study for their exam and pay hundred and hundred of ringgits for their tuition fees every month! Although we may not know the outcome or result of this decision but I hope that this would not decrease the quality of our future generation. Actually, the reason we are studying now is not solely for the examination but it's the purpose of learning. So what for learning the subjects we don't need in future?

Roystance's Point of View provides a different viewpoint:

For your information, by having the examination life of Malaysian student, it could keep them aware with the future challenge. We do not need to seek for majority vote because it is obvious that the exam hold a very big responsibility for our nation.The consequence of scrapping exams for the whole country at one go is a highly risky move.

Readers of Education in Malaysia, a blog that provides thoughts and opinions on both public and private education in Malaysia, share their thoughts on this matter:

Anonymous said… 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.

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.

Malaysian tweeps also took the chance to voice out on this issue within the 140 characters limit:

@ecachan: I'll become the Minister of Education and I'll make sure PMR and UPSR will stay! LOLOL

@britksy: #nomorepmr? JOKE. Even as a student I would want to sit for PMR. Or else, from UPSR, everyone will slack until SPM year.

@manmohanjit: The gov wants to abolish UPSR and PMR, good decision. It's about time.

@DonovanFoong: now only one to abolish PMr and UpsR ! argh

@ctaudreylim: Why abolish? REVAMP! Argh!

@suebahrin: yes. Gov retain UPSR but goin 2 make it harder. PMR replaced w school based xm

@Farveen: Hoyehh..less stress for the kids!

@jannahtesl: School Based Assessment VS A Sijil [certificate] I Can Never Use for Work Application?

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

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