Saturday, July 9, 2011
KUCHING: Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Datin Fatimah Abdullah yesterday conceded that Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) school leavers might not possess oral proficiency in English, although the number of top scorers had increased.
“In terms of students’ achievements, they scored 90 marks and above, which is rated A, and our statistics show our students have scored more As and there are more straight As students.
“In terms of their ability to communicate in English, it is questionable.
“They might be able to score A in written papers but a situation arises when they have to verbally communicate in English, which does not reflect an A material,” she told journalists after opening the Sarawak Furniture and Home Expo 2011 here.
She was asked to comment on the recent statement of Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek who blamed Malaysia’s declining education standard for the growing number of SPM top scorers.
On June 17, Dr Chua said “it was now so easy for SPM takers to get an A+ grade” but pointed out that many employers were still disappointed by the overall quality of school leavers.
Fatimah was not totally for the statement as she asserted: “It depends on what your yardstick is. If you say the standard is declining, it is not really correct.”
She said Malaysian students were bombarded with tremendous amount of knowledge and “there is no question about them knowing the content.”
“They are able to absorb, remember, memorise and reproduce and this is excellent,” she said, but noted that knowledge alone would not be sufficient in this challenging era.
She felt that teachers had to engage students in critical thinking to prepare the young into future employment market.
Malaysian students must be equipped with appropriate skills to “fit into the real world” and encouraged to express their opinions, she said.
“It is not so much about knowledge but skills. Your ability to solve problems, analyse situation and your capacity in critical thinking is very important.
“It means our students must be creative and innovative, that they must have their own ideas.
“It is a process and the way we teach our children in school has to be slightly different,” she added.
Source ; The Borneo Post