Saturday, December 7, 2013

Same annual ‘shame’ for Malaysia’s global educational standards

Ng Kee Seng
Executive Editor

COMMENT: It is that time of the year end when global or international ratings or assessments start making its rounds in the media.

No matter how one spins a story, the statistics and figures don’t lie. Just call a spade a spade, nothing else.

For Malaysia, it is the same annual “shame” with the release of the Programme for International Assessment (Pisa) results.

It was released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and to be blunt, Malaysia ranks 14th from the bottom of 65 participating countries.

Singapore ranks second from the top. Need anyone, in the right frame of mind, say more or spin in favour of Malaysia’s education standards?

After 56 years of Merdeka (Independence), Malaysia’s global standard in education has deteriorated to only below average.

When any Malaysian claims that “our education is of world standard”, it only evokes bewilderment and you know why.

Malaysians remain incompetent by low education standards. How else to explain the brain drain and the affluent sending thousands of children overseas for tertiary education.

Malaysians, old and young, make the standard of our public universities the butt of their jokes in their conversations in coffee shops or in the comfort of air-conditioned signature eateries.

A senior citizen Koon Yew Yin last year wrote that our educational system was in ruins and that our educational standards and standing are at least one generation back.

He also noted that Malaysia’s educational system was acknowledged to be among the best in the region after achieving Merdeka in 1957.

Koon wrote: “Today, after the introduction of NEP policies in education, we are scraping the bottom of the barrel in our standards of educational achievement at all levels.

“Whether it is in primary, secondary or tertiary education, the rot is clear. Half-literate primary school products that cannot write or speak properly in either English or Bahasa Melayu and drop out early; secondary students with abysmal standards in Mathematics, Science and other core subjects; tertiary students who are provided with university degrees but in fact are unemployable except in the civil service.”

Pisa ranks which country does best at reading, mathematics and science.

Since 2000, the OECD evaluates the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds via the Pisa test.

More than 510,000 students in 65 countries participated in the latest test, covering mathematics, reading and science.

OECD opines that mathematics is a “strong predictor of participation in post-secondary education and future success”.

The Pisa 2012 results show Shanghai-China topping the list, Singapore second and Hong Kong-China third.

The others on the top 10 are Taiwan, South Korea, Macau-China, Japan, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

There is however some consolation as Qatar, Kazakhstan and Malaysia are reported to have recorded an average improvement in mathematics of more than eight points per year.

The OECD report praises Brazil, Chile, Germany, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Tunisia and Turkey for “consistent improvement over time in mathematics performance”
~ The Ant Daily

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