The recently released 2011 Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) survey showed Malaysia’s ranking in mathematics fell from 20th in 2007 to 26th in 2011 while our ranking in science fell by an ever greater margin, from 21st in 2007 to 32nd in 2011.
But the party noted that Malaysian students continued to score in the two subjects annually despite the stark contrast in the TIMSS survey which placed the country as the worst performing nation out of the 59 countries surveyed since the study was first conducted in 1999.
“Surprisingly our students continue to score better results annually for their mathematics and science examinations for the PMR and SPM papers,” said national publicity chief Tony Pua and chief strategist Dr Ong Kian Ming in a joint statement.
The two said the PMR results over the years, as measured by the Average National Grade (or GPN) has been steadily improving from 2.83 in 2008 to 2.78 in 2009 to 2.74 in 2010 and mostly recently to 2.71 in 2011.
Those obtaining As in mathematics increased from 26.7% in 2010 to 28.9% in 2011 and those obtaining As in science increased from 18.5% in 2010 to 21.7% in 2011.
At the same time, SPM results in 2011 was reported to have been the best recorded in five years with the overall National Average Grade improving from 5.19 in 2010 to 5.04 in 2011.
The pass rate for math and science at the SPM level was said to have steadily increased since 2007.
The TIMSS report however, pointed to Malaysia as the only country next to Jordan in the survey to have recorded no improvement in the two subjects.
“One cannot help but to conclude that firstly, the Ministry of Education has been deliberately manipulating the math and sciences standards for the PMR and SPM examinations to artificially increase the pass rate.
“In fact, this deliberate attempt to dumb down our syllabus and lowering the passing marks for the examination subjects is a key reason for the declining standard of our education system,” the two said.
Putrajaya had recently announced a move to reform the country’s lagging learning system through the National Education Blueprint but the opposition said the ruling coalition admitted to only “some” weaknesses when an aggressive response is needed to put the country back on track.
“The obvious outcome to such a skewed education policy is that our Malaysian young will learn less in school, while needing to know and understand even less to secure a pass or obtain an ‘A’ in the examinations,” Pua and Ong said.
The two are also calling on Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to openly admit and address the deliberate “dumbing down” of the education system which they said the Preliminary NEB report had neglected.
- See more: Syed Jaymal Zahiid Free Malaysia Today December 14, 2012