Beberapa Gambar Sekitar Gerakerja Di Kawasan Jerai


Friday, June 19, 2009

10 - is it enough?

I totally agree with the YAB Deputy Prime Minister that to take so many subjects in SPM is ridiculous. It runs totally against the very grain and nature of education in its entirety. Education or educating a person is to give knowledge, and knowledge does not come from just reading books day in day out. Knowledge does not come from just academic subjects neither does knowledge just comes from mathematical or scientific equations and formulaes. We must also develop our young ones in terms of their thinking capabilites (which sadly until recently our education system was more developing their brain power to memorise rather than to think and rationalise), aptitude, interactive skills, motoring skills, soft skills and so on. I have to agree that our education system and our policy makers in the earlier years (before 2000) failed to develop this and concentrated mainly on academic work. Only during the previous miniter, YB Dato' Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein do I see focus being given more to creative thinking and softskills.

And we have seen the fallacy of our policy of only developing the academic side of the brain. Many employers are increasingly disappointed with candidates who although showing high marks in academic sunbects, are failing when it comes to social skills, presentation skills, management, soft skills and so on. The same thing goes for interviews during scholarships, although scoring a whole load of As, many fail when it comes to presenting oneself properly, talking and interacting with the interviewers. Many too do not have knowledge outside their small myopic world of academic subjects.

Only in recent years do we see a shift towards developing the other side of the brain. The introduction of Kemahiran Hidup programme in schools for example and the shift away from being too exam oriented as was suggested to replace UPSR exams are a step in the right direction. So is the recent policy where students applying for scholarships or places in universities must have co-curriculum activities as these will form 10% of their marks. For academic interestm there are 4 elements of co-curricular activities that the authorities give marks on - i) sports 2) societies and clubs 3) prefectorial or librarian and such posts 4) if you are selested for PLKN. The authorites will pick the best 2 of 4 to give marks.

To reduce the number of subjects allowed for SPM exam is spot on. A person who get all As for the 20 subjects he or she takes cannot be construed to be better than a person who takes 12 subjects and get all As. Just for information also, residential schools and colleges do not allow their students to take more than 10 subjects. So what does that mean to them when it comes to competing for scholarship and what nots. Are they not as celever as those who took more subjects? I am sure on a level playing ground where everyone in all schools are allowed to take the same number of subjects - well the results might be totally different.

Such a policy to limit the number of subjects would also allow the Ministry to focus and develop othef skills needed and not just academic studies.

I would also have to say there is a particular mindset prevalent in our students and parents these days. Score as many As in as many subjects possible in SPM. This will ensure their child to get a scholarship to study. In a very twisted way, this is why many parents are angry and upset when their child failed to obtain scholarships althoughthey had scored 12/13/15As. They fail to see the other important skills like softskills, presentation skills and so on.

But to limit the number of subjects allowed to 10 subjects starting this might not be so wise. First and foremost, the Ministry must allow students to take more elective subjects other than the 6 compulsory ones. This would allow excellent students to develop other skills to complement the academic side. And many can score 10As these days, closed eyes. What would differentiate them fron the other top scoring student is the quaity of As and also the elective subjects taken.

If you ask me, a maximum of 12 is the magical figure for all students, including those in residential schools. 6 compulsory and 6 electives. This would be more than enough to evaluate the quality of the student other than during the interview.

I would also like to urge the Ministry to postpone the implementation of this policy to at least next year. Many form 5 students now have registered for more than 10 subjects. Although it might be a small percentage compared to the overall of about 450,000 SPM students, to that one student who has been denied the right to do so midway to the exam, after spending money, time and effort on tuition for the extra subjects taken, this decision to be enforced this year seems very unfair to that student. I hope the Minister will have a re-think on this.

I am confident in the long run this policy will benefit the students.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why can't the government make up their minds? It looks like when a new minister comes in, he will always want to have a one up from the previous minister. This causes a lot of confusion. What studies after just about 50 days in office has this minister done to make the decision to limit to 10 subjects?

I agree with you and even you disagree with 10. So what is the magical figure?