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Eye of the Tiger

Published: Tuesday September 23, 2014 MYT 6:49:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday September 23, 2014 MYT 6:55:48 AM

Turn for the better

The recent UPSR leak is traumatic but hopefully it will serve as a lesson for improved education standards in future.

UJIAN Penilaian Sekolah Rendah, better known as UPSR, is the primary school achievement assessment conducted for all Year 6 pupils in Malaysia. It signals the completion of 6 years of primary education for Malaysian kids, with the assessment being the main criteria for boarding school acceptance (bumiputera students),  premier secondary schools’ enrollment, scholarships and to most , ranking of classes during their first year in the secondary school.

I still remember the assessment vividly. It was the first assessment that really mattered. We studied hard for it. Went for tuition classes hoping to get an extra edge for it.

And from the aftermath results, it’s the first time the some students are proud of their effort. It was the first time some students learnt the meaning of 'I’ve tried my best’. And it was the first time too, some students learnt the significance of the word ‘regret’. Yes, it was that important.

Lately, the Malaysia education fraternity has been shocked with the leaked exam questions for the English, Science, Maths and Science papers. An approximate 473,000 students are affected by the ‘leak‘and they are scheduled to resit the papers.

A total of 14 arrests were carried out in connection with the leaks. Twelve of the suspects are teachers while the other two are an insurance agent and an engineer.

From as early as Primary One students are taught not to cheat in examinations. Ironically, the leaks involve some teachers who hypocritically taught the students not to cheat in the first place. Is this the right message we want to pass down to our next generation? And the consequences do not end here.

We always ask, why Malaysian universities are on the decline based on international rankings. These leaks may have opened a can of worms, which may be the one decaying the standard of Malaysian universities.

Be it lack of integrity or due to greed, rumors leaks of examinations papers are well known in all levels, from secondary school up to university levels. Leaked questions gave the students short cut to successes, thus changing the mentality of the students, ultimately dragging down the overall standard of the university.

Ironically too, some good may come from these leaks. At least, the people at the top are aware now of the situation. And it’s never too late to salvage a situation like this. Given the right method and implementation, Malaysian’s education system can be something to be proud of again.

Firstly, the think-tank within the Malaysian Examination Syndicate (LPM) should be held responsible and a major revamp should be done. Honest people with integrity shall be roped in and huge punishments should be passed down to offenders.

Secondly, standards of the teachers should be heightened. Not only in terms of knowledge but also in terms of integrity. Something ought to be done with the competitiveness especially amongst teachers and tuition teachers nowadays.

Thus, I propose a system whereby teachers’ integrity be it school, tuition or private teachers are to be evaluated and audited from time to time to ensure they do not succumb to leaking examination questions.

Just like how students learn from mistakes, fair punishments must be meted out to offenders to ensure no other teachers follow suit.

Thirdly, the parents must play a role in addressing the problems. There won’t be supply without a demand. Thus, parents should look at the big picture and educate their children to follow the path of integrity, rejecting the short-cut way to success.

Hopefully, together with the new 2013-2025 national education blueprint taking place, Malaysian education system might see a new dawn after all.

The views expressed are entirely the writer's own.

Tags / Keywords: UPSR leak, Education, UPSR probe

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