I NEVER thought I would see the day when we would have 50% fewer straight As students in UPSR compared to SPM. But it has happened. The performance of the candidates for UPSR 2016 was actually worse than their results for the trial exams. How could this happen after the endless hours they put into studying?
The 1.11% who managed to score straight As were considered by some as “high quality students”, forgetting the fact that some of them might have a lower overall percentage average than the non-straight A students.
The obsession to attain the imaginary “high quality” – even at the cost of slashing the number of students scoring As by a third in Science, Maths and Malay Comprehension and by half in Malay writing – led to these miserable grades. Can you believe that only 30,000 students all over Malaysia were given an A in Science by our Examinations Syndicate? And this is just UPSR Science; wait until they get to SPM Physics, where only 30 students or, worse, three could be given A+ to maintain the imaginary “high quality” of SPM.
Among all the pain and misery I saw during UPSR 2016 results day, one image stood out – that of a 12-year-old girl struggling to wipe her tears with her bare hands as she surrounded herself with her equally dejected friends. They were being comforted by their teacher, a brave soul who stood next to his students when they needed him most. He probably told them this was not the end of the world, everything would be fine and that the pain and injustice they were experiencing would dissipate with time, but that image of misery was unbearable to look at. A 12-year-old should not be crying after giving her soul to an examination that cared very little about her. That was the iconic image of KSSR and UPSR 2016 for me.
I feel a certain degree of bitterness with our English and Malay language teachers who created the questions and graded UPSR 2016. They set the standard so high it seemed as if they wanted Othman Putehs and Enid Blytons from these 12-year-olds who should, according to their criteria, be able to pen great and flawless narratives and essays. It seemed like they were guarding the dens of As and Bs to chase away the students to Cs and Ds.
Even with a confusing instruction in the English writing paper, nothing was done to remedy that mistake. Instead, the students were penalised and, I am assuming, given a big zero. So, you have students scoring A in English writing during trial exams but receiving C and D in the real UPSR! These are students who are more proficient in English than me when I was their age. How could this be done to our young students?
I also have deep anger towards our Science and Maths teachers. Please spare our kids your HOTS questions. It is painful to think that you assumed only your HOTS questions are bound to create great scientists and engineers of the future.
I am also angry with the parents and teachers of the candidates who bought into the myth that everything would be fine in UPSR 2016. They duped the children into believing that if they studied very hard, 6As would be within their reach.
But the hopes of the students were clearly dashed on Nov 17.
To parents of UPSR 2017 candidates, the wise move now would be to opt out of this exam. It is not worth the time, pain and struggle. School exams are fairer towards your children than UPSR. Please fight for the end of UPSR or else a year from now you will be watching this misery being repeated.
As an adult, I would like to apologise profusely to all UPSR 2016 candidates. Like all the other adults in Malaysia, I have failed you. Looking at images of you crying at the tender age of 12 over an exam created and graded by adults who have forgotten that you are just 12-year-olds has made me both sad and mad. I felt like I have allowed pain to be imposed on you without raising my voice. The misery of Nov 17 would not have happened if adults in Malaysia had empathy, sympathy and humanity towards you. Every single drop of your tears is our fault.
MENTALLY TIRED MALAYSIAN