Saturday, September 25, 2010

Our education system

Been studying Sejarah for Tuesday, and came across something interesting:

'Tujuan utama pendidikan adalah untuk lulus peperiksaan awam kerajaan' -- Tamadun China.

For those of you who don't speak Malay, that means in ancient China, the main aim of education was to pass the government's public exam.

Sound familiar to you? This is exactly the case right here, right now in Malaysia. Our education system is extremely examination-oriented, so much that when we students are assigned any sort of project, our first question is: "Will it affect our exam marks?" The whole point of everything is to do well in the exams -- it's what we go to school for. (Give yourself a pat on the back if you managed to spot the Busted reference.)

We were involved in a survey a month or so ago, as to whether or not we thought the UPSR and PMR examinations should be abolished. I said yes to the UPSR but no to the PMR. Surprised? Hear me out.

The purpose of PMR is to stream the students into either Arts, Science, Sub-science, or Vocational. This, I think, is necessary, because, you know, different strokes for different folks and all that. However, good idea though it is, I feel that it is not being implemented properly.

There is this social stigma regarding the Arts stream. The widespread perception is that if you are in Arts, you are not intelligent. This is thanks to the fact that, in the schools' efforts to keep kids in school, as many students as possible are stuffed into the Science stream, and the 'leftovers' are placed in Arts or Sub-science.

This makes many 'Science stream' students despair, because they feel that Science is not their thing, and that they would thrive in either Arts or Sub-science. I have many friends -- intelligent friends -- who are in the Science stream, yet vow to never have anything to do with Science in their future professions because they detest it so much. They just aren't in the right stream

Therefore, I think the PMR is necessary for streaming, but I think the way students are streamed should be according to what they, the students, want. This education is, after all, for them, so their best interests should be kept in mind.

The UPSR, on the other hand... I don't know anymore, honestly. I hear stories about kids who leave primary school still illiterate; the UPSR should serve as a filter to detect these kids, but then again, this shouldn't even be happening in the first place! What's going on, primary school teachers?

I feel that if you're going to criticise something, you had better have something constructive to say too, some suggestion to try and right things. Since I'll be done with the education system in a few months, I haven't given how to improve it much thought, so I can't say that, you know, it sucks, the government needs to revamp it, blah blah blah. Besides, I don't want to get in trouble or anything.

So yeah. These are my thoughts on our education system, one that I will be glad to be finished with soon. (Goodbye, Moral and Siviks! You will not be missed!)

Now, what do you think?

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