Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Cancel UPSR and PT3 permanently, says academic

PETALING JAYA: An academic has welcomed the cancellation of the UPSR and PT3 examinations as an opportunity to establish school-based assessments (SBA) for the Malaysian education system.

Zuwati Hasim of Universiti Malaya said the government made a wise decision to cancel the examinations for this year in light of the Covid-19 epidemic.

In fact, she said it would be better to do away with them permanently.

“I am all for school-based assessments in which teaching and learning are seen as a developmental process and not something to produce individuals who can score A’s but are unable to apply the knowledge learnt,” Zuwati, from UM’s Faculty of Education, told FMT.

“Our system has been so exam-oriented that most of the time students memorise and regurgitate answers rather than understand the concepts they are supposed to learn.”

Since SBA would require active roles from both teachers and learners, she said, it would be easier to detect children with learning disabilities and provide early intervention.

“SBA could be used to diagnose learning issues. Hence, there is no issue of any student being left behind.”

Education Minister Radzi Jidin, in announcing the cancellation, said the ministry would introduce an alternative method to evaluate students who are supposed to sit for the examinations for entry into boarding schools.

Zuwati said abolishing UPSR and PT3 and shifting to SBA wouldn’t be an issue for admission into boarding schools.

“Those who are interested in boarding schools could sit for an entrance test in addition to meeting other entry requirements set by the education ministry.”

She said the absence of exam-oriented assessments would free students from having to depend on after-school tuition.

“Parents do not have to worry about sending their kids to tuition anymore when effective learning is happening in schools. The school-based assessments could cover quizzes, tests, assignments, project work, presentations and portfolios as alternative assessment methods.”

Education activist Noor Azimah Rahim of the Parent Action Group for Education agreed that students would fare better without the pressure of examinations.

She also said parents she was in contact with were in support of the decision to cancel UPSR and PT2.

“Parents would rather keep children safe and healthy at home until they are assured that schools are safe,” she added.

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