Tuesday, February 3, 2009

System needs a revamp


SULTAN ISMAIL PETRA MOSQUE, TANAH MERAH

WITH all the hype over the number of high achievers in every major public examination in the country, I cannot help but wonder if these students have the academic calibre the results make then out to be.

This is especially so when they are compared to students from Singapore.

While we have thousands of straight As students at SPM level, Singapore has only one in their recent O-level examination, considered the SPM equivalent.

Given the current discipline problems and poor academic standards in some schools, I am of the view that it is highly unlikely that so many of our students can pass out with flying colours.

I do not wish to belittle those who have studied hard and succeeded in scoring straight As, but surely, the passing grades must have been lowered to allow such a high percentage of students to score distinctions.

What’s more the situation in many schools does not depict a pretty picture either.

Parents complain of students being left to their own devices with no relief teachers during lessons.

Teachers are often called for meetings and many are asked to attend courses during school hours.

Assuming the high percentage of straight As students are indeed academically smart, why then was there a large number of unemployed local university graduates even before the global economic crisis?

In my time when we took the Malaysian Certificate of Education (MCE) some three decades ago, there were only some students who passed with flying colours.

However the situation is different these days with thousands passing out with as many as eight distinctions or more.

Back then, we took eight subjects and to score five distinctions was indeed a feat.

Many who were considered brainy, could manage three or perhaps four As because of the strict marking rules and the high standard.

It is about time the marking system is revamped and distinctions given only to students who scored extremely high marks for their respective papers.

MICHAEL NG
Seremban

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