20 September 2014

With a Sigh ( Part 22 ) – Kertas Bocor!! Leak in exam papers.

Now it leaks ! What's next?


It saddens me that I have not in this blog written an entry crediting on our country’s system of education. I moan and sigh whenever the ‘gods’ of education speak with high praise for their endless plans and blueprints, to make our universities more of ‘taraf antara bangsa’(world class) than those in other countries. They talk about importing Indian English teachers, American peace corps etc. etc. to help in teaching of English. This reminds me of a conversation I had with then the director of a state education department. When I casually asked him why there had hardly been one scholarship given to  an outstanding student in the state to study English  at a university in England, he went to a great length to convince Pakcik that England was no longer the best country to study English language! Fortunately India was not his best choice either. I found no reason to waste my breath in arguing with that self-proclaimed expert. He must have been convinced by the ‘gods’ up there, those who found him deserving to be promoted to run the state education.


I have never heard of a suggestion from our wizards in education that, perhaps, it is of immediate advantage to the country to invite experienced teachers, those trained in Kirkby, Brinsford and locally. Many of them would be too happy to come out of retirement to help our failing system. In the local dailies several readers did voice suggestions to this effect without being given any notice by those in authority who were bent on listening to the expensive consultants from overseas. 


And now we hear about the leak (bocor) in certain UPSR question papers.


In my part of the world I have, over the last ten years, been hearing rumours of leaked examination papers just about UPSR examination time.  Many teachers are convinced of that and I am inclined to believe them, too. Deep in my heart I know there is some truth in the rumours. Coincidentally, over the years my state is proud of holding a record of sort in achieving the highest percentage of children obtaining all A-grades in UPSR examinations.  


I thought the current unfortunate situation (of leaked UPSR papers) would hasten the replacement of UPSR examination with the new system publicised  not long ago. On the other hand, the minister categorically stated that UPSR would stay.

What does an A grade in UPSR mean?


The three girls pictured above are from a small group of Form 1 children attending tuition at Almanar. Two of them achieved 5A’s and the third 3A’s in their UPSR examination last year.  They decided to join Almanar a week ago. All the three girls excelled with A-grade in Mathematics and two with A-grade in English. It is not easy for them to come to Almanar , about ten kilometers away from their homes. But they do with their elders’ support.


Nine months into Form 1 these children claimed to have completed their Form 1 Mathematics for the year. That is encouraging. But I cannot take it for granted. They are at a disadvantage learning Mathematics in Malay as Pakcik would want children at Almanar to learn technical terms in English.  


The first chapter of Form 1 Mathematics is all about numbers, the odd, even and prime numbers, factors and multiples, etc.  It is enlightening to these children to learn to say; Ali is an odd boy; he is at odd with so and so; the top of a billiard table must be perfectly even; Their score at half time were even; He did not even open the envelop, etc. When asked what they guessed a ‘prime number’ would mean they looked totally puzzled. When asked what ‘prime minister’ meant, their faces sparked with delight – perdana menteri! I do not wonder why people like our Dr Mahathir feels strongly for English to be used in science and technical subjects.    


Like in many cases, it is most disappointing to see what a calculator has done to these children. Pakcik cannot help recalling the years I was in standard 2 and standard 3 seventy years ago. We had to commit to memory the multiplication tables up to 12. We would get a cane for not being spontaneous in giving an answer to say, 7x6.  These children are good at using the gadget but failed to divide 69 by 3 without one.


Hopefully our standard of education will remain at ‘taraf antarabangsa,’ and I say it with a sigh.



Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan


kaykuala said...

Dear Pakcik,
What I gather about the current situation is based on negative laments from many sources.These comments are from people in the know. I just fail to understand why no concerted efforts are made to address the issues head-on. The policy statement recently offers lots pf hope.Passing English is compulsory in the SPM beginning 2015 was a long awaited event. Hope to see more announcements where English is given emphasis!


Anonymous said...

I am looking forward to buy your English textbooks. Are they ready?


Al-Manar said...


I think we have ministers who are political more than professional, creating opportunities to go publicity. Some years ago one truly academician from USM was brought in to head the ministry of education. It was a breeze of fresh air, initiating a number of projects one of which was developing greater number of vocational colleges to produce skilled workers in industries. much needed. He was not after more universities of 'world class' which are mass-producing unemployable graduates.

Suddenly passing English is now seen important. During our time English was in everything. And above all we had sadly thrown out JAWI (our Quranic base) to make way for bahasa baku and to harmonise language with Indonesia!

Hence, I sigh with despair, Hank.

Al-Manar said...


...and I am looking forwards to you assisting me !

Aziela said...

Pak Hassan,

I read your post in the negative intonation developed unwillingly inside me. I really need to gather up myself and stand tall again. It's difficult to overcome the sad and frustration feelings. Unbelievable. They really are doing this to the small kids. If the 'gods' can victimized the small kids, imagine what they will do to us.

And I can't wait for their next action for disaster recovery procedures. I hope they will be smart and creative enough to put up some efforts.

Unknown said...

ahlan bikum Pak Cik Hassan
just a note to say hello through your blog as per your request in the email yesterday.
will revert via email just so I can write a bit more as opposed to this somewhat limited space.
But that's not to suggest I wont be visiting this site again.
By the way, do you know that there's a TV channel called Al Manar owned by Hezbollah here in the middle east?

Best rgds

Ahmed Faez

Al-Manar said...

Dear Aziela,
My critical mood writing this posting must have given you the 'negative intonation'. The unnecessarily sensational reports on the leaked papers are more political than what should be our real concern over the covered-up failures in our education.

I am glad you share my view point.

Al-Manar said...

Dear Ahmad Faez,

We are pleased to hear about the three children, being educated where they would be able to flourish fully. I share your sentiment and similar one felt by many - including Puan Aziela above. It is difficult to be objective without being seen political. Let us do so privately without hurting any one.

Al-Manar said...

Dear Ahmad Faez

I missed out to say that when I thought of Almanar 20 years ago I had no knowledge of that TV until several years later. The term serves that broadcasting station as well as my little 'beacon' for the children needy of some knowledge.

Anonymous said...

AK, When the news of the leak of UPSR question papers was pulished, my immediate reaction was not only disgusting but feeling sorry for those kids sitting for the exam. What has happened to our supposed to be very efficient systems claimed by Ministry of Education? AK, you and I LEFT SCHOOL 59 years ago after sitting for our Cambridge School Certificate During those years we had never heard or experienced, any leak in question papers, although at that particular time we only had ONE exam, the Senior Cambridge to sit for. There were no UPSR, PMR and SPM but we still had the three term exams. The irony of the present systems is the leak which occurs almost every year in these exams, but conveniently denied and put aside. We always have world-class top scorers!! Therefore, what has gone wrong? It seems that our wizards at the top level never learnt anything, taking things easy and giving lame excuses to suit their fancy. Apparently, there seems no concrete solution, leaving the issue to die a natural death, the typical Malaysian culture. The victims are the students who sit for the examinations. Are there truly NO remedies or solutions? We all know how proud those at the Ministerial Level are with strings of qualifications, PhDs and all but unable to create full proof system and solve problems. We do not wish to penalise the innocent students for the folly of the ‘gods’.
Wassalaam, ZUL.

Al-Manar said...


You have been hibernating, old boy! Thanks for your support - a lunch at Aziz's.