M’sia looking to improve Pisa scores

Back to basics: Fadhlina delivering a talk on the new 2027 School Curriculum in December. — Filepic

Ministry studying strengths, weaknesses to beef up quality of education

THE Education Ministry is studying the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) 2022 findings to make sure that Malaysia is on par with other Asean nations.

The ministry, in an email response to StarEdu, said it is in the midst of identifying the strengths and weaknesses revealed in the Pisa report issued by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The report will be used as a basis for discussions and interventions to ensure that Malaysia’s performance is comparable to its Asean neighbours, said the ministry.

Globally, Pisa 2022 scores fell compared to 2018 as nations scrambled to cope with online lessons and the loss of learning brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. Malaysia was no exception.

ALSO READ: M'sia records biggest Pisa score drop compared to neighbours

The country, however, recorded the biggest drop in the Asean region compared to Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

While the overall scores of Indonesia and Thailand decreased by 4.09% and 4.36% respectively, Malaysia dropped 6.26% from 431 in 2018 to 404 in 2022, StarPlus reported last month.

Vietnam’s 2018 results are considered internationally incomparable but it had only dropped 0.7%, from 2016 to 2022, to 468.

Pisa is administered by the OECD every three years on 15-year-olds in both OECD and non-OECD countries.

Responding to the StarPlus interactive data story (see QR code), the ministry said plans are underway to conduct meetings and engagement sessions with stakeholders to break down the Pisa findings announced in December last year.

This, it said, would be used as a basis for improving the quality of education and the country’s performance in the upcoming 2025 Pisa assessment.

“A webinar with OECD will be held some time this month, as well as engagement sessions with agencies within and outside the ministry on the importance of international benchmarking exercises,” the ministry said, adding that the Pisa 2022 National Report will be released in December this year.

On a separate matter, the ministry assured parents that the incoming 2027 School Curriculum would be appropriate to the age and level of development of students.

This, said the ministry, was among the requests made by parents and other stakeholders in its nationwide “2027 Schooling Curriculum Implementation Survey” (see infobox) conducted last August.

In a summary of the survey results provided to StarEdu, the ministry said stakeholders were concerned that the curriculum level was too high for students.

A total of 56% of the survey respondents said the primary school curriculum content was not appropriate while 45% felt the same about the secondary school curriculum.

“Some respondents disagreed with the appropriateness of the content level in each subject thus (the new curriculum) needs to be adapted to the appropriate level of students’ cognitive development,” it said in an email reply.

The ministry added that parents, who made up about 45% of the respondents, want the future curriculum to also be “relevant and flexible” besides emphasising character and ethics, and prioritising literacy and numeracy.

The ministry also said the 2027 School Curriculum will have seven competencies in its framework, including digital literacy.

Digital literacy includes data management, information and technology, computational thinking, digital content creation and communication.

“Digitally fluent students will be able to effectively utilise various technologies in their lives, thereby contributing to the collective national and global well-being,” it said.

The new curriculum will also include integrated learning, character education and project-based learning (PBL).

“Integrated learning is an instructional approach that connects various disciplines to create a relevant and meaningful learning experience.

“As for character education, all teachers are responsible to inculcate noble character among their students, but a particular slot will be allocated in the timetable to carry out practical hands-on activities in a structured and planned manner with a focus on socio-emotions,” it said.The ministry said PBL promotes flexibility in the curriculum by integrating diverse content, encouraging interdisciplinary connections, fostering student autonomy, allowing flexible pacing, adapting to students’ needs and interests, offering various assessment methods, and fostering continuous improvement and reflection.

On Dec 7, Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek said elements in the new school curriculum can address Malaysia’s sub-standard performance in Pisa.“We are aware that Malaysia’s achievements in the international assessment “Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (Timss)” and Pisa have not yet reached the top third position as desired in the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025.

“The Education Ministry has also examined the World Bank Report, which shows that there is still learning poverty among students that needs attention.

“The new curriculum needs to focus back on the basic literacy skills of reading, writing and counting (3M) so that this learning poverty can be reduced,” she said in her speech on the 2027 School Curriculum in Putrajaya.

‘2027 Schooling Curriculum Implementation Survey’ findings

Problems with the current curriculum

➤ Too many subjects.➤ Curriculum content is overloaded.

➤ The content level of the curriculum is too high.

➤ The time allocation needs to be revised due to the dense content.

The way forward

➤ Revise elements in the new curriculum regarding appropriateness of level, timing, number of subjects and content.

➤ Develop a new curriculum framework that includes aspects desired by the community and global needs.

➤ Increase community awareness on the changes.

What the 2027 curriculum should look like

➤ Needs to be relevant, flexible and appropriate to the age and level of development of the students.

➤ Emphasis should be given to character education and development of ethics.

➤ The mastery of literacy and numeracy should be prioritised.

Source: Education Ministry

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Pisa , Malaysia , 2027 school curriculum , MoE , education , OECD


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