July 1, 2010

Abolishment of exams

The recent clash of different school of thoughts on the scraping of the UPSR and PMR exams is causing quite a stir. The government plans to do away without those exams replacing them with school assessments instead. As we all know Malaysian education is primarily exam-based. The only goal is to study to get straight A's in exams. Now the education department wants to revamp the system so that students will be able to focus more on classroom and extra curricular activities instead of stressing out on public exams. However, the SPM exam will be maintained.

In my opinion, I would say there are pros and cons. First of, if we do not have the UPSR and PMR, students would be a little laid back without the need to stress out about scoring straight A's and to face your relatives asking about results. I mean exams will still be retained but will be conducted by the school themselves and it will be treated like any final year exams. So if SPM is still there, how would students know how to handle public exam pressure? They are not subjected to any public exams from standard 1 till form 4 and suddenly in Form 5 there's this big exam to determine their future. I think most of them would not handle it well! They are being thrown into the lion's den after years of finals within school level.

Take me for example, my course in college is wholly exam-based. We do not have small projects to be done in groups. I could definitely thank those public exams I've sat to prepare me for the big exam every year until my course finishes. At least I now know how to handle the pressure, what to bring into exam halls and what to expect. After all, it's not my first time.

On the other hand, exam oriented education definitely has its cons. We use the textbooks, memorise it and just vomit it out in exams. We do not think outside the box. Group works are also rare. We do not use much creativity other than just study for exams. Besides, students hate big exams. Some cannot take the pressure and are suicidal and become depressed.

So you see why there are different opinions about the abolishment of the UPSR and PMR. The decision on the future of those exams will be decided this year according to the education minister. Either way decided will definitely be followed with much criticisms and objections just like the Science and Maths going back to be taught in BM.

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