Greatest blooper for Muhyiddin as Education Minister is his cowardice to own up to deteriorating educational standards of Malaysian students evidenced in TIMSS 2011 and PISA 2012 which is ironically highlighted by the “superlative” 2013 PMR results


The greatest blooper for Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is his cowardice to own up to the deteriorating educational standards of Malaysians students evidenced in the 2011 TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) released in December last year and 2012 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) released this month.

Ironically, the deteriorating educational standards of Malaysian students, particularly in the more than four years with Muhyiddin as Education Minister, has been ironically highlighted by the “superlative” 2013 Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) results, to the extent that both the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Muhyiddin had publicly congratulated students who excelled in the PMR exam.

The 2013 PMR results are better than last year, with 30,988 or 7.33 per cent of the over 462,940 PRR candidates nationwide who scored Grade A in all subjects – an increase of 0.41 per cent or 514 candidates over last year’s 30,474 Grade A straight scorers.

It is most ironical that the “superlative” 2013 PMR results with 30,988 or 7.33 of the students in the 2013 PMR attaining top scores of all As in all subjects stand in sharp contrast to the 2011 TIMSS, where only two per cent of Malaysian students reached the grade of “top scorers” and 2012 PISA with only 1.3 per cent of Malaysian students scaling the “top scorers” bracket.

Why such a vast contrast in the results of the local PMR examination and the two international educational assessment benchmarks?

Can Muhyiddin, as Education Minister, enlighten Malaysians which examinations they should believe and trust – the local PMR or the international PISA and TIMSS?

Muhyiddin cannot doubt the credibility and integrity of PISA and TIMSS as international educational yardsticks as one of the objectives of the 13-year Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 (MEB) launched by the Education Minister himself in September is to catapult Malaysia from bottom third to the top third of the PISA and TIMSS international educational benchmark systems!

If PISA and TIMSS are dubious international educational assessments, then why did Muhyiddin and MEB accept them as yardsticks to measure the success of Malaysian educational blueprint and transformations in the next 13 years?

Or was Muhyiddin taken for a ride by the consultants who were paid RM20 million to prepare the MEB?

If Muhyhiddin and MEB accept PISA and TIMSS as authoritative educational assessments with credibility and integrity, then this would imply grave doubts about the value, credibility and integrity of local examinations like the PMR.

Is this the real reason why the PMR public examination for Form Three students will be scrapped this year to be replaced with the secondary school-based assessment test starting from next year?

By continuing to maintain a thunderous silence on the poor performance of Malaysian students in 2011 TIMSS and 2012 PISA, Muhyiddin is in fact trying to camouflage and hide from the Malaysian public the grave national educational crisis of deteriorating standards in Malaysia in recent years.

The 2012 PISA, for instance, shows that Malaysia’s 15-year-old students are not only falling below the international average in the three critical subjects of maths, science and reading, but are from three to five years behind their peers in the top-performing PISA countries/regions such as Shanghai, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

In fact, the World Bank’s latest “Malaysia Economic Monitor: High-Performing Education” contained an indictment on the failures of the Malaysian national education system when it said that the 2012 PISA results suggest that “schooling is not translating into learning” in Malaysia.

Equally shocking is the discovery in 2012 PISA that more than half of 15-year-old Malaysian students do not reach basic proficiency levels in mathematics.

The Pakatan Rakyat leadership council at its meeting in Kuala Lumpur last night has called for an emergency meeting of Parliament in January over the twin economic and educational crisis facing Malaysia.

Will Muhyiddin agree that Malaysia is facing a grave national educational crisis which deserves the convening of an emergency Parliament in January?

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  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Saturday, 21 December 2013 - 6:16 pm

    The truth is UMNO and Muhiyiddin in particular believe the Malays are not enligtened enough to feel the crises of education of their children.

    Its high time the Malays are reminded what sparked the Arab Spring, in particular in the name Mohamed Bouazizi and whether they want to see their children doing the same thing..

  2. #2 by sheriff singh on Saturday, 21 December 2013 - 11:55 pm

    ‘ … Why such a vast contrast in the results of the local PMR examination and the two international educational assessment benchmarks? …

    … 30,988 or 7.33 per cent of the over 462,940 PMR candidates nationwide who scored Grade A in all subjects”

    Isn’t it obvious?

    What was the ‘passing mark’ for PISA and TIMSS? What was the ‘passing mark’ for PMR ?

  3. #3 by bruno on Sunday, 22 December 2013 - 12:53 am

    The standards of our education going uphill or downhill? Even some of our ministers spoke broken English.Go figure.

  4. #4 by boh-liao on Sunday, 22 December 2013 - 7:38 am

    AiYAH, LKS, Y U keep harping on dis issue 1!?
    A few mooooo’s mah chai oredi spoke on his behalf what
    An ex-DG MOE oredi gave a glowing account of our superior education system

    LISTEN, listen, LISTEN

    “If our education system is bad, how are our students excelling abroad?” he asked.
    “Malaysia is at the forefront of Third World countries when it comes to social, political and economic progress and that the evaluation of the education system was not just based on TIMSS and Pisa.”

    Y ask 4 change when d system works SOoooooooooo well, moooooooooooooo
    http://www.theantdaily.com/news/2013/12/16/ex-dg-education-malaysia-right-track

  5. #5 by boh-liao on Sunday, 22 December 2013 - 8:39 am

    Evidence of our wonderful education system dat works:
    https://forum.lowyat.net/topic/3073201

  6. #6 by boh-liao on Sunday, 22 December 2013 - 9:50 am

    Who said our education system does not produce creative individuals?
    Creativity at work:
    http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/two-senior-telekom-malaysia-officials-to-be-charged-for-rm400000-graft

  7. #7 by Cinapek on Sunday, 22 December 2013 - 10:39 am

    Our former DG of education claims:
    “If our education system is bad, how are our students excelling abroad?” he asked.

    A real dumb answer from a person in denial and who knows he was part of the rot.

    TIMSS and PISA are a general assessment of the larger student population and not the few who are at the top who will excel anyway. They succeeded in spite of the system either through sheer hard work or additional tuition classes that supplemented the poor education they were getting.

    Scratch deeper and you will find more answers. Many of these Malaysians who excelled at top universities abroad were beneficiaries of better education such as the Asean scholarship from Singapore that enabled them to have better pre-university preparations or others whose parents had to fork out a fortune to send them to expensive private schools.

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