Thursday, 25 November 2010

Asgradian Thoughts

Unlike the yesteryears, drivers in the morning commute no longer need to endure banal chats and rants of radio deejays with info-focused radio stations around, namely Radio Ikim (for the spiritually inclined) and BFM (for the business orientated).

This morning, for example, I learnt the following from BFM’s much recommended Breakfast Grill:
In Norway, 73 percent of its populace is with tertiary qualifications and their primary schoolers do not undergo graded examination.

Instead the examinations are geared towards assessing if the teaching force (schools, teachers) are doing enough and equipped for the task and responsibility.

For the children, grading starts in their secondary schooling years.

Primary school goers still do homework, learn Norwegian English (hmm, what does this mean?), Math and Science amongst others.

My immediate thoughts were: how carefree – and reminisce that things were not that much different for Malaysian kids all those years ago when the only exam to worry about was the Penilaian Darjah 5 (yep, that’s how old I am).

Even then, not scoring there is not that big a deal although doing so would help get you a shot in one of the, admittedly not many, boarding schools.

Unlike today, tuitions for primary schools weren’t a norm. Schooling days consist of cycling/walking/bus-sing(?) to class in the morning and back in the afternoon, homework or play or both, then off to mengaji Quran in the evenings.

Perhaps I am talking only of my own experience, but my memories of how it was with friends seemed to place this as quite widespread a phenomena.

Thus with this in mind, I am rethinking if indeed the move to scupper the UPSR is a good one. Get rid of any unnecessary stress – and tension – creating item on the children’s part out of the way in the way of building their educational foundation.

Test the teachers and the schools instead by way of the non-graded assessment.

Can we do this, I wonder? What are the pitfalls of doing so?

Do we EVEN need to rock the boat?

Yes, we do. A young nation in a rocketingly competitive world, our children just cannot afford a dysfunctional education system lacking clear direction.

Our University international standing seems indicative of this. University Malaya, arguably the country top tertiary institution, have never been able to replicate its 89th THES (formerly The Times' Higher Education Supplement) ranking of 2004 and is at 207th placing this year.

So, how?

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