Media Statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Sunday, 24th May 2009:
Education director-general bluffing when he suggested limiting students sitting SPM exam to not more than 10 subjects can transform the education system into a quality world-class one
The Education director-general Datuk Alimuddin Mohd Dom is simply bluffing when he suggested limiting students sitting Sijil Pelajarian Malaysia examination to not more than 10 subjects can transform the education system into a quality world-class one.
This is too simplistic and unprofessional an approach.
When Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin proposed on Thursday that the number of subjects each student could take in the SPM examination be limited, it was his idea of putting an end to the perennial complaints of injustices in the award of Public Service Department scholarships, where students with 11, 12, 13 and even 14A1s are denied scholarships as compared to students with fewer distinctions.
There have bouquets and brickbats for Muhyiddin’s suggestion for limiting the number of SPM subjects a student can take, but the proposal does not really address the issue of injustices and lack of transparency in the PSD awards – which are the root causes of the perennial annual national outrage over the PSD scholarship selections.
But how could the Education director-general make the quantum leap as to claim that Muhyiddin’s proposal to limit the number of SPM subjects a student can take in an examination could transform the education system into a quality world-class one?
I was shocked to read Alimuddin’s assertion that Muhyiddin’s proposal was consistent with the ministry's vision to transform the education system and the curriculum, when the perennial complaints about the PSD scholarship selections and the quality of the national education system are two completely different issues.
If the government is serious in wanting to end the perennial complaints about injustices of PSD scholarship awards, then it must put in place a fair, just, transparent and efficient PSD scholarship system.
Is the government prepared to undertake a fundamental revamp of the scholarship selection system to introduce a common university entrance examination, whether STPM or matriculation; and to base PSD scholarship selection based on this common university entrance examination results.
Since the beginning of this decade, the Education Ministry had been talking about its vision for a world-class education system to face the challenges of globalization, liberalization and information and communications technology but with very little results.
For instance, the Education Development Blueprint 2000-2010 to build a world-class education system and promote national unity had proposed fundamental changes to the national education system, such as:
What have happened to all these proposals which were described as magic formulae to transform the Malaysian national education system into a quality world-class one?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor