SPM alternatives to consider


I AM an SPM 2020 candidate myself and I’m just as terrified and nervous as the others of my batch. Having received many messages from friends about their anxiety and nervousness over the SPM examination, I was motivated to bring our voices to the next level in order to be heard.

On Nov 8,2020 when the Education Ministry announced the postponement of SPM 2020 examination for the second time, I decided to write a letter to the minister himself. After weeks of waiting, I did not receive a reply.

However, I continued emailing letters to the relevant officials in the ministry, but these were also ignored.

We started to lose hope as we knew that online classes are not as effective as face-to-face learning, and some teachers did not even conduct them. But our teachers are not to be blamed because the ministry itself has not provided proper guidance.

As we started to lose hope, a petition by our fellow students from all over the country surfaced. The petition raised our hopes slightly, as we realised that we weren’t alone. We then started spilling it all out through social media under the hashtag #SuaraPelajar, and managed to gain support from some members of Parliament.

I headed back to the keyboard again, this time to contact parliamentarians and state representatives. We are not voicing out our appeals blindly. We have discussed the issue among ourselves and come up with alternatives of our own. These are:

1) Use the SPM 2020 trial results as the actual results (with adjustments to reflect fair assessment nationwide). For this, schools that were not able to complete the trial examinations should be allowed to do so.

2) Alternatively, to be more inclusive of those who were unable to properly complete their school year, the Education Ministry should consider taking the overall academic performance since Form 4. This is to ensure that consistently excellent students do not fall behind just because they do not have the right technological tools. This method is similar to what was conducted for students of the 2019/2020 Matriculation Programme (PSPM).

3) Expecting that some students may not be satisfied with their trial or overall grades, they may have the choice to proceed with SPM 2020 as scheduled, thus making the exam optional and not mandatory for every candidate. Keeping in mind that the number of students who are dissatisfied with their grades would be low, a better execution of physical distancing could take place. Strong adherence to the standard operating procedures would be enabled, making it easier and safer to control the spread of Covid-19.

SPM is one of our biggest examinations and a key factor for determining our future. As it is, some have missed or will be missing the application deadlines for tertiary education, not to mention the possibly high student drop-out rate this year due to inability to cope with or participate in online classes and also the deadly floods hitting some of our states.

I strongly urge the Education Ministry to look into the safety and practicality of holding the SPM exams for the sake of our future generation. The health and future education of some 400,000 of us are in your hands.

SURIYA KHRISHNAN

Johor Baru

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