I FULLY agree and support the views of Uthayakumar and Jessica Quek (StarEducation, July 11), who were against the scrapping of two important public examinations – the UPSR (Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah) and PMR (Penilaian Menengah Rendah).
The Education authorities while promising to seek the views of various parties, should also ask retired teachers to give their take on the proposed plan to abolish both exams.
I retired from the teaching profession after 35 years and to me both exams are important and necessary. The UPSR is to evaluate and gauge the knowledge and skills of those in their final year of primary school and the PMR to test the students at mid-scecondary school level.
The Education authorities should seek the views of experienced teachers whom I believe will only reiterate, the importance of both these exams.
School-based examinations as mentioned, may be biased and unreliable. Examination papers may be set with a number of objective questions but this is certainly not a good way of evaluating pupils. I have known teachers who carry out such assessments as they find them easier to mark.
Internal school assessments are not all a good idea as they are prone to abuse.
The quality and standards of teachers, have also deteriorated. Many of them take up teaching as a last resort and teach without much dedication. They are usually more interested in getting their monthly salary.
What I have expressed here is through my own working experience with others of my own profession.
Regarding stress and the effect examinations have on students, many students like me, had to sit for the Primary School Examination back in the 1950s and 1960s and LCE (Lower Certificate of Education) and the SRP (Sijil Rendah Pelajaran).
We obviously had more stress then as we had to write out lengthy answers as our exams were subjective, but there were rarely any complaints.
A student who excelled in sports and co-curricular activities, but who failed in the exams, would have to sit for the exams again until they passed. We attribute our success to our dedicated teachers, our learning methods and the pains we took in studying for our exams back then.
The authorities have proposed that both UPSR and PMR be abolished because of the stress and effect they have on students.
I don’t understand their logic. If students can’t cope with the stress of public exams in their teens, how will they cope with the challenges of life in later years?
Source : The STAR Home > Education Sunday July 18, 2010