As the UPSR nears, some schools give extra coaching. and the children practically eat, sleep and drink examination questions. KOTA BHARU 22 July 2011 (Unit Pendidikan BH) Guru Besar Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Sabak, Ahmad Shahir Mohd Hasan memantau muridnya yang sedang menyertai Program PINTAR MA, Klinik Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) 2011 di Sekolah itu di pengkalan Chepa. Gambar Syamsi Suhaimi.
THE Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) examination begins today.
The examination is used as a standard criterion to gauge, assess and evaluate the standard and performance of a primary school.
Head teacher and teacher appraisals are also determined by the outcome of the UPSR results.
The primary school system is, therefore, focused towards achieving excellence in examinations. Dynamic plans and elaborate programmes are drawn up by the head teacher and teachers for the Year Six pupils.
From the beginning of the academic year in January, the Year Six pupils are put through a comprehensive schedule of extra classes, taught how to answer at workshops, motivational seminars and mock examinations.
In some schools, Year Six children are excluded from all curricular and co-curricular activities and competitions.
Some schools go as far as to replace non-examination subjects in the school timetable with examination subjects for the Year Six pupils.
Subjects such as Music, Physical Education, Art and Craft and Moral Studies are replaced with core subjects towards the second part of the year
Every weekend, every term holidays, every public holidays and every other day is utilised to conduct extra classes in the afternoons, evenings and nights. No time is spared.
They religiously attend extra classes where they are drilled and grilled with past year examination questions and tests.
As the UPSR examination looms near some enterprising schools "house" the children in the school compound in order to have a close supervision of the children's activities. They are given extra coaching and the children practically eat, sleep and drink examination questions.
After the week-long Hari Raya and Merdeka holidays, the Year Six pupils were "housed" in their schools when they returned from the holidays to prepare them for the examination.
The pace is hectic and intense and the pupils are put through a rigorous regime in the schools by the teachers.
Teachers, too, are put through much stress and pressure for the sake of the children. Some reluctant teachers are forced to follow the strict orders from headmasters; others do them dutifully.
Schools that fare badly in the UPSR examinations are accountable to the state education departments and the Education Ministry. These schools have to reply to show cause letters and the teachers would be sent for refresher courses.
Every headmaster wants his school to outperform the other schools in the UPSR examinations. It is a matter of personal pride and glory. They also do not want to be reprimanded by the department head.
So, headmasters slave-drive their teachers and the teachers in turn slave-drive their pupils.
And the pupils who only want to have fun and games and laughter are put through a series of rituals that rob them of their happiness in Year Six.
They are put under tremendous pressure and stress. The UPSR examination is a "death knell" for Year Six pupils in some schools.
SAMUEL YESUIAH, Seremban, Negri Sembilan firstname.lastname@example.org 2011/09/13
Source: The NST Home Letters to the Editor Article 2011/09/13