Moral question over exam shocker

‘Point Taken’ by Terence Fernandez

NO ONE wants to say this. But the question that should be asked is this: Was the sudden change to the SPM moral paper some subtle bureaucrat’s way of bringing down the number of straight A’s?

OK. Let us be more specific. Were the sudden unannounced changes in the format of the SPM Moral paper a sneaky way to ensure fewer students scored straight As? This would give public universities and matriculation centres another excuse to turn bright students away and further polarise our institutions of higher learning.

Well, that seems to be the reason of choice when scores of students sitting for the examination on Wednesday were shocked by the drastic changes to the examination format.

Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli seems to endorse this theory saying the problem was symptomatic of fragile race relations.

“People do not trust the system and the government. The majority have long felt that the subject (Moral Studies) only serves to penalise them (non-Malays).

“There is a need to re-look at the education system because it only serves to further divide the society,” he is reported as saying by FMT.

Moral is a paper that is taken by non-Muslim students, while Islamic Studies is the compulsory subject for Muslim students.

It is considered a bonus paper that is a sure-A for many, while the level of difficulty is higher for Islamic Studies.

So while this year, 15,793 students obtained straight A’s in the SPM (a slight increase from 15,079 the previous year) – there was a drop in those scoring in Islamic Studies. Moral Studies however, recorded a stark improvement.

So one can argue, that revising the moral paper was to make it a more open playing field for all students.

But while no one is preventing the Education Ministry’s Examinations Unit from improving the syllabus and making the paper more challenging, to do it in a clandestine manner is something that is unfair to the students and opens up the government of the day to scrutiny.

This is especially so when almost everything it has been doing of late – from the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST); the 100- 300% assessment hike in Kuala Lumpur and the proposed cap of 12 years on cars – do not seem to have the rakyat at heart.

Moral question over exam shocker
Nov 22, 2013 – fz.com


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