Yet the ability to pass a school examination is a valuable quality. It shows a student has acquired a certain level of competence in some subject and is able to express his thought and ideas in a manner others can understand. If a sportsman, or auto mechanic, has intent to pass down his area of expertise to the next generation, he has to document his skills with educational tools for enquiring minds. It is believed that the mind of a student, even if he is dull, receives good exercise when he prepares for an examination. A student’s success in an examination, therefore, helps employers and others to assess his mental or general ability.
It is strange, therefore, to read that some Members of Parliament (MP) are advocating that the PSLE be scrapped. The teachers who are supposed to prepare their young wards for the big test, are going to be relieved of a bundle of work. Makes one wonder what the 8 percent salary increment was meant for. Teach even less, to learn more? Work less, earn even more, was that the original lesson plan in mind?
Then again, most of the MPs skipped their own big test of facing the electorate mano-a-mano - instead of getting an individual passing grade from the ballot box, they simply rode on the coat-tails of someone else more senior (who probably scooched into office the same way). Hri Kumar said there must be an alternative way of deciding who goes to which secondary school, other than by way of a common exam. Let's hope he's not thinking of a GRC system for the kids, or an invite to tea at the Istana, the way guys are invited to participate in the National Conversation.
Folks, there's nothing wrong with exams. One needs to pass a test to drive a car, operate a crane, fly an aeroplane, or pilot an ocean going vessel. The real problem is the preparation, specifically the reliance on private tuition, which would not have been necessary in the first place if teachers are earning their pay the correct way. If Hri Kumar is serious about slaying a sacred cow, how about nationalising private tuition?