Hornbill Unleashed

October 6, 2014

Heads must roll for serious blunders in exam questions

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM
Tags: , , , ,

Sonia Ramachandran

Never has the Primary School Evaluation Test (UPSR) examination been more highlighted than this year and for all the wrong reasons.

First the Science paper was found to have been leaked, resulting in a postponement of the paper to Sept 30.

This was then followed by the English paper found to be leaked and later the Mathematics and Tamil papers as well, resulting in students having to take all these papers again.

With the national uproar caused by the leaks and demands for heads to roll, one would naturally assume the new examination papers of those that had been leaked will be handled with the utmost care.

This, however, does not seem to be the case.

I’m not talking about the papers being leaked (the students sat for Science and English papers on Sept 30), but about the standard of care involved in the preparation of the questions.

Malaysian Indian Education Transformation Association (MIETA) chairman Elangovan Annamalai shared with theantdaily two of the questions present in the Science papers that the students in Tamil National Type Schools (SJKT) sat for on Sept 30.

Question 22 which involved a diagram 12, had no apparent answer in the multiple choice answers provided, while the Tamil version of question 4 (b) was different from the English version.

Question 4 (b) in English reads: “Based on your answer in 4(a), what conclusion can be made about the distance of the Earth from the Sun and the average surface temperature of the Earth?”

The Tamil version apparently says:”…..the distance of the Earth from the Moon….”

A very disappointed Elangovan was not amused.

“The Education Ministry came out with radical questions but this question (Question 22) has no correct answer. It’s not about the students getting free marks but about the ministry being responsible and the standard of care used in coming up with these questions.

“I want to question the credibility of the exam question setting team. Don’t they check before sending the question paper for printing? If this happened during the first time the questions were set, it is excusable but this is the second time. The Education Ministry should be more responsible and diligent when setting these questions. Many parents have complained to me about this,” he said.

Not one to mince words, Elangovan wants accountability from those in power and calls for Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (who is also Deputy Prime Minister) and Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh to resign over this fiasco.

“In countries such as Japan, ministers resign honourably and with dignity when mistakes occur.

“We in Malaysia expect the same from our ministers, with them stepping down honourably. If they cannot control this basic exam, how can we trust them with the crucial higher exams in the future? People have already lost faith. Malaysians easily forget but we don’t easily forgive mistakes, especially when it concerns our children and their future,” he said.

Elangovan was referring to former Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who announced his resignation in 2011 amid widespread criticism of his handling of the tsunami and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant crisis.

He said the mistakes indicated a lack of care for the 12-year-olds who are already so distressed.

“Many have complained about the time factor during the exam because they spent valuable time deciphering questions and trying to find a non-existent answer,” he said.

The Tamil translators, said Elangovan, are also not spared from blame.

“This Science paper is a common paper for vernacular and national schools. The only thing different is that the questions are translated into Tamil for Tamil schools. Question number 4(b) is purely the fault of the Tamil translator. We hope the Tamil translators are more responsible in conducting their translation duties,” he said.

An uncle of a Year Six student M. Saminathan also chastised the Education Ministry for the apathy shown towards the Year Six students.

“The Education Ministry does not seem to understand the agony children have to go through in answering such tricky multiple choice questions. They already have gone through the agony of the first examination being leaked.

“As parents, we expect things to be different with the examiner going through the questions multiple times to ensure no mistakes. It feels like we can’t seem to get things right. I’m questioning the credibility of the Education Ministry officers and examiners.

“We want more investigations conducted, not just having teachers being hauled up like criminals but also those involved in setting these questions. These 12-year-olds have gone through enough,” he said.


  1. BodohLand truly bodoh

    Comment by tigerykey — October 6, 2014 @ 6:52 PM | Reply

    • Bodoh & malu internationally, so popular now even Aussie PM gag Order on currency printing…LOL, & yet a Super Idiot still claiming Bodohland’s education sysytem is 1of BEST in the world…world of coconut shelf–temputung. That is why we are having endless coconut shelf brain ministars, paid to bark E”n”d “G”heeby “O”oh.

      Comment by tiuniamah — October 6, 2014 @ 7:34 PM | Reply

  2. Don’t hope too much as all civil servants are guaranteed their bonuses regardless of job performance.

    Comment by Vinoo — October 6, 2014 @ 5:38 PM | Reply

  3. Most of the teachers are half past six standards. Teaching is no longer a noble profession of choice but a career as a last resort. The composition cannot bemore obvious and racist when the top personnel are dominated by one race.

    Comment by Irene Kana — October 6, 2014 @ 2:07 PM | Reply

    • Kulitfication is enough liow.

      Comment by tiuniamah — October 6, 2014 @ 7:36 PM | Reply

    • Good lecturers in Teachers college quit or have opted for early retirement in disgust at the messy education system and the interference from the top.

      Comment by Peter Liew — October 7, 2014 @ 7:31 AM | Reply

  4. If in Japan or Korea when this things happened the Minister and the Director General incharge of Eduction will honorably resigned. But in Malaysia they will find all sort of reasons to protect themselves. Somebody will become the black sheep.
    How are we to become a developed nation when our responsibility and cauntion are still with the third world.

    Comment by Ali bin Abu — October 6, 2014 @ 8:45 AM | Reply

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