Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Abolishing exams unwise

The recent proposal to abolish the UPSR and PMR examinations had created a heated public debate among Malaysians who in general are against such a move. I too join in the chorus calling for the idea to be dropped. It would be irresponsible and unwise to abolish these exams which have been in place for many decades and served their purpose.

Our education system may have become very exam oriented but the cause is not the exams themselves but their abuse. It is indeed sad that many major changes to the education system are made abruptly without due debate and consideration only to realize the folly of the decision a little too late when the damage has already been inflicted. The case of English for the teaching of maths and science is a good example to illustrate such a catastrophic situation.

Tendency to become exam oriented is a universal problem that is not just peculiar to us. Nations all over are going through such problems, some even worse. They have not done away with exams but found alternate ways to overcome it to some extent. Doing away with exams will only create bigger issues that will be disastrous.

Whether we like it or not exams are necessary as there are no better means available to assess the capability of the student. If we abolish exams what are going to use to gauge a student’s knowledge and capability to base the selection for entry into universities and scholarships? How are we going to set a national standard for all students?

Instead of abolishing existing exams, we should to device ways to make the exams more ‘intelligent’ whereby they can be used to them assess the overall ability, aptitude and capability in thinking, reasoning and maturity of thought. Examinations should be tailored to evaluate these aspects instead of the usual ‘vomiting out’ of memorized facts as it is now.

It is deeply disturbing that the national education system has been long used as a political tool which is the main reason for the pathetic state it is in now. There seems to be no sense of purpose or direction with repeated changes to the education policies. It should be left to the officials in the ministry, academia and teachers to run the system in more professional manner without undue political interference.

1 comment:

Joe said...

Education should be handled by educators; Health system handled by Healthcaregivers and Sports managed by sports experts. Keep politicians who know nothing out of important fields; this will help bring the country back to its correct route.

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