WITH the completion of the Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR), many parents are having a difficult time deciding whether to enrol their children into private or government schools due to the newly introduced school-based assessments in the latter.
The Malaysian education system was previously criticised for its heavy examination-based nature.
This was believed to have failed to provide a holistic education for the young.
Instead, the exam-driven education system produced many superior fact-memorising and regurgitating machines which scored plentiful A’s in important examinations such as the Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) and Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).
Most often, such students neglected the true meaning of education which involves personal development while acquiring important academic and subject-specific knowledge.
Hence, they lacked many of the important soft skills required later in their career life, such as critical thinking, communication and working in groups.
As such, some families prefer sending their children to private schools or to Singapore – where education quality is believed to be better.
In order to provide a better education system, the Education Ministry has decided to abolish important examinations such as PMR and implement school-based assessments.
However, many parents and teachers seem to have limited faith and confidence in this new system.
Most of these guardians are not highly educated. Even if they are, they were exposed to the old exam-driven system. Hence, it is understandable that they prefer the former system.
They believe that examinations are the best in motivating and driving the students to excel in their studies. Without the examinations, parents worry that the students might slack in terms of competitiveness in the academic field.
However, parents and teachers should understand that school-based assessments are not novel in our country.
They have been used in schools, but are not taken seriously into account in the students’ final exam grades.
Most students will most probably progress to obtain tertiary education qualifications.
As university students, most of us will also understand that paper examinations are not the sole ass-essment utilised in the universities.
Other criteria are taken into account and contribute towards our final grades. These include attendance, class participation, tutorial questions, assignments, reports and quizzes.
Therefore, the implementation of the school-based assessments should not be a problem as it exposes the students to the education structure at tertiary institutions while inculcating other essential non-academic-related skills.
However, it is true that this new system should be closely monitored and standardised at the national level to ensure it is at the highest quality throughout the nation.
Schools should also ensure the academic aspects of the system are delivered in a more attractive and interactive manner.
This ensures that the students are well-equipped with the subject-specific knowledge as it is a common complaint that subjects such as Geography, History, Moral Studies and Science are boring and involve heavy memorising.
UNIVERSITY STUDENT Birmingham, England Source: The STAR Online Opinion Tuesday September 25, 2012