SPM whoppers... and how useless they are

Seven. Eight. Ten. Oh, wait, those are regular figures now. Twelve. Sixteen. Seventeen. Twenty-one. The number of A’s and the number of attempted subjects increase as the years pass. However, when we look at the two students who have obtained 17A’s and 21A’s respectively, two things come to mind : the results may either overwhelm us, or make us get turned off by the idea of SPM scoring. Ever since the results day, everyone has been taking the “number-of-A’s” issue with a pinch of salt. And so have I.

Des the number of A’s really matter when it comes to scoring ? Or should other factors be counted in ?

I, for one, did not get all A’s for all the twelve subjects I have taken, and I’m quite happy. At least, there should be some sense of satisfaction while obtaning the result slip. The students have all done their best ! The sad thing is this - some students are rewarded lavishly for each A obtained in the examination. (Ugh, had I been in this predicament, I would have been given an iPhone, a PlayStation 3 and a drum kit - all of which are in my wishlist right now !) Conversely, if they fail to impress their parents and other people around them, they are subject to all kinds of calumny and punishment. May I ask, what do we take our teenagers for ? Robots ?

Moreover, the media makes a big hoohah over a tiny slip from the Ministry of Education. Cluster school or not, there are definitely a few faces in the papers and in the news on all main television channels - smiling people who have obtained all A’s, tearful faces who have not reached their targets. These images give us the impression that first is first and second is nothing. They make us fail to realise that there are more chances of self-renewal : think A-Levels and beyond. A notable person who renewed himself after his school life is Bill Gates - it was reported that during his years in school, he was far from being first in class.

The high number of A’s makes us sit down and think : what happened to the 12A’s policy passed by the Ministry of Education in late 2006 ? Is our standard of education deteriorating, or are examinations less challenging ? The significance of the A obtained in the SPM is next to nothing these days. In fact, even though the SPM slip is a passport to our future, the A can now be compared to a piece of toilet paper.

Worse still, in most subjects, the SPM papers test naught but memory. The students have hardly any application of facts, and that alone is detrimental to our future ! There seems to be no foundation for further courses such as the A-Levels, which is mainly based on critical thinking and application. Now, students doing their AS Levels subjects begin to feel the pinch. In SPM, we were just being brainwashed and spoon-fed. Full stop.

Mind my strong criticism, but the SPM examination has truly lost its value. Many people, especially university scholars, would agree. I look at some of my friends who have joined me from O-Levels in international schools, and they are adept in applying and reasoning. Yes, they generally know more than we do. Now, don’t pass the buck and say “no wonder-lah, they were international school students !” but let’s press on for better education, better examinations and well-presented facts - for the sake of our kids. Technology alone is never enough.


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