Breaking his silence on the issue, Muhyiddin said the ministry had to assess mechanisms used by Malaysian schools that obtained scores equivalent to those that were obtained by the world’s best schools.
“The PISA results have been hotly debated in Malaysia and on international forums. An in-depth analysis is necessary so Malaysia can improve its ranking,” he said in Putrajaya today.“I was made to understand that there are several schools in Malaysia that had attained scores that are equivalent to the best in the world. With that, I ordered the education ministry to find out factors that contributed to the success of these schools,” he said.
Muhyiddin, who is also the deputy prime minister, said teachers and ministry officials have to understand the concept of higher-order thinking skills so that the government’s efforts to improve the education system would be reflected positively in future PISA tests.
PISA tested 15-year-olds on three subjects, mathematics, science and reading.
The PISA 2012 results released last year showed that Malaysia was ranked 55 out of the 65 countries surveyed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Neighbouring nations such as Singapore were ranked No. 2 worldwide while Vietnam, a low-income country, performed better than Malaysia by grabbing 17th spot.
Opposition leaders such as DAP's Lim Kit Siang and Zairil Khir Johari have publicly spoken out against the education ministry’s failure to improve its rankings in international student assessments under Muhyiddin’s leadership, despite receiving the most allocation annually from Putrajaya's budget.
The World Bank in its report last year highlighted that the centralised system used by Malaysia’s education sector has contributed to the dismal performance of students nationwide. – January 28, 2014.
~ The Malaysian Insider