UPSR & PMR, Abolished?

May 10, 2007

I was reading the newspaper today and came across a couple of articles about people being against the plan of abolishing the Standard 6 examination; UPSR (ujian penilaian sekolah rendah) and the Form 3 examination; PMR (penilaian menengah rendah).

Basically the Malaysian public school system works like this.  A kid at the age of 7 is required to enter Primary School (elementary schools in western countries?) where you start off as Standard 1 (similar to the grading system of western countries). Primary schools consist of Standards 1 to 6 whereby Standard 6 students would be 12 years old.  Standard 6 students are required to take a final examination at the end of their term which is called the UPSR which acts like a grading system which determines your qualification upon entering Secondary Schools (High School).

Secondary School starts from Form 1 (Age 13) to Form 5 (Age 17). Form 3 students are required to take the PMR exam which is like a midway exam to determine which stream you would qualify to enter during Form 4 to Form 5. The streams are Science and Art, with many variants of subjects within those two streams. Form 5 students would then be required to take the SPM exam which is like the final examination which would be your determining factor to be able to enter colleges/universities of your choice.

Malaysia’s education system initially was adopted from the British as they occupied Malaysia during the second World War for a time. Post-Independence, over the years, the system has been changed and not for the better. The standards had been steadily declining, to most people’s suspicions, to make it easier for more students to pass the exams. Worse now is that there are actually plans on abolishing 2 examination phases. Lowering the standards of education does not help anybody but rather hurt the country’s progression towards being a more developed country. If you need to ask why and how then this article is not for you.