Friday, June 25, 2010

To Scrap or Not To Scrap Exams Is Not The Right Question

The government has raised the question of whether the UPSR and PMR exams should be scrapped as these exams do not produce problem solving and effective students. This issue was highlighted by Tony Pua's blog and comments in Parliament.

My view is that the right question is not whether to scrap or not but to change the mix of the syllabus. An education syllabus is like a preparing a healthy meal/diet that is delicious and nutritious.

If the present syllabus/diet does not produce long-term health, we have to find out why instead of jumping to the conclusion to scrap the exams (which may or may not be right).

The emphasis of exams can be split into 33% memorisation of facts, 33% analysis of facts with the help of evidence and 33% judgmental and qualitative thinking.

(The problems with most Malaysians these days is their inability to distinguish facts from opinions and their inability to be intellectually honest by keeping two opposing thoughts in their minds.

They often get caught up emotionally and lose all energy to probe the truth further. That's lazy thinking which comes from the present education system.)

It goes without saying that quality teachers and a revamp of the exam syllabus are essential for creating a new breed of creative thinking, problem solving students/citizens.

But the greatest asset that the education system should emphasize on (which is usually diluted and overshadowed by rules, policies and bureaucratic civil servants) is for teachers and students to ask the right open-ended questions that probe into the mystery of life, history and human nature.

Without encouraging students to ask the right questions (and instead pressurizing them to seek the right answers), we will never promote creative thinking and a new generation of outstanding scientists, artists, craftsmen, philosophers, innovators and business leaders.

But if the government does not wish to seek the final goal of an innovative, intellectually vibrant working population, all these policy changes and academic debates are useless.

Let us not confuse the ends with the means as the government often does. Scrapping the UPSR and PMR is like using a sledge hammer to kill a fly.

We should work backwards from the final goal and ask ourselves what sound and logical steps should be taken to reach that goal.

No comments:

Do You Want To Know God?

Do You Want To Know God?
Say this: Heavenly Father, I have sinned against You. Forgive all my sins. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins and rose again. I give you my life to do as You wish. I want Jesus to come into my life & heart. In Jesus's name. Amen