Academicians agree exams be scrapped but study needed first
By Bernama
Monday, June 21st, 2010 21:27:00
BESUT: Academicians generally support the government’s move to abolish the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) and Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR), but urged that a thorough study be done first.

Many of them, however, agree that the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination be continued in order to gauge the students’ academic performance before they enter the job market.

Senior lecturer at Universiti Sains Malaysia’s School of Educational Studies, Assoc Prof Dr Hashim Othman, said what came out of the UPSR and PMR all this while was a culture of examination-oriented education and which did not really produce knowledgeable or skilled students.

He said the school system from the primary level up to Form Three should be based on how far the students could solve problems.

“It’s even better if they can apply the education they receive in school in their everyday life,” he told Bernama when asked to comment on the government’s plan.

Hashim said a good example of the effects of exam-oriented education was the failure of students to communicate well although they did well in their Bahasa Melayu and English language exam papers or to solve problems even if they passed their examinations with flying colours.

Assoc Prof Dr Abdul Rashid Jamian from Universiti Putra Malaysia’s Faculty of Educational Studies, said primary education should instead focus on teaching pupils to master reading, writing and arithmetic.

He said the UPSR emphasised too much on the individual’s achievement, causing parents to lose focus and putting pressure on their children to get straight A’s.

“I agree if examinations are managed by schools, and the district or state education offices to measure the students’ achievement at the end of the year.”

Abdul Rashid also agreed if at the secondary level, students were given education according to their capability or skills, for example, in Science, technical subjects, arts or craft.

He also feels that the Living Skills subject should be strengthened at the secondary level before the students sit for their SPM exam.

Advisor of the Bahasa Melayu Educators Association, Professor Emeritus Abdullah Hassan said there should be a comprehensive study done before thegovernment could decide whether to scrap the UPSR and PMR