Thursday, December 19, 2019

Jawi will lower an already low PISA score for Malaysian vernacular students

Jawi to PISA, the distance between us and the world


Instead of tossing lifebuoys to save our drowning students, the government is throwing them an additional burden in the form of Jawi calligraphy as if to make them sink further 

Two weeks ago, education director-general Datuk Dr Amin Seni announced that Malaysia had improved on its PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) performance and had closed the gap with OECD countries.

The news looked spirit-lifting at first sight, but a better look at our students' PISA scores and ranking showed otherwise.

Staring at Dr Amin's smiling face on the newspaper, I wonder what made him feel so delighted.

Let me make it very clear that PISA is no magic potion. It is just an internationally recognised reference for the academic performance of students in various countries.

PISA evaluates 15-year-old high school students' ability in three areas: reading, mathematics and science, categorising them from the lowest level 1 to the highest level 6.

Of the 77 countries providing complete data, Malaysia was ranked 56th in the latest report, being at the bottom third. Be it in reading, mathematics or science, we were at the lowest two levels.

Indeed, we managed to close the gap with OECD countries compared to three years ago, but that gap is nothing like the Straits of Melaka, but the Pacific Ocean!

Sailing a couple of nautical miles into the Pacific should not be reason enough for anyone to feel excessively excited. Our real rivals are still many many more miles on the other side of the ocean.

On top of the table were students in China's Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang. Their scores in reading, mathematics and science were 555, 591 and 590 respectively. Coming close at second place, Singapore's students scored above 550 in all three parameters.

Malaysians' scores, meanwhile, were 415, 440 and 438 for reading, mathematics and science respectively.

So, what do the scores actually mean? Scholars say a difference of 39 points marks the equivalent of roughly one year of schooling!

The scores of students in China, Singapore, Macau and Hong Kong were between 110 and 150 points ahead of Malaysians in each of the parameters.

A simple calculation should reveal that the academic standard of a Secondary 1 student is Singapore is roughly that of a Form 4 student here in Malaysia!

Should such a gap good enough for our education DG to feel so proud and smile?

The students' ability in reading, mathematics and science should constitute their foundation for their absorption of knowledge and a force that will thrust them and the nation forward.

A student's ability in reading, mathematics and science will determine how well he or she will survive in this world, and how strong the nation's global competitiveness will be in future.

We don't need a crystal ball to reveal to us that the Chinese, Singaporeans, Koreans and Europeans will dominate in our world in future. All we need is a PISA table!

Being at the far bottom of the table, we can safely say that youngsters of this country can only manage low-productivity jobs due to lack of competitiveness and competency. Many may even work oversea to make a living. And we will still not make it to the league of developed countries by 2030, as we will get stuck in the low- to medium-income trap.

With ethnic Chinese Malaysians being three levels below the Chinese in Mainland China, Singapore, Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan, the future of this country is anything but promising.

The reality here is that our education ministry has done nothing to improve our students' ability in reading, mathematics and science, but has demanded our Chinese primary school students to learn the outdated Jawi script.

I would like to ask our minister as well as other government big shots who wholeheartedly endorse the learning of Jawi whether Jawi competency will help lift our students' performance in reading, mathematics and science, and significantly boost their PISA scores in the next report?

Our Chinese primary school students already have too many things to learn, and the teaching method is way behind time, not to mention the hurdle of connectivity they have to cross when they proceed to the secondary school. As such, their performance in reading, mathematics and science has become poorer and poorer over the years.

Instead of tossing lifebuoys to save our drowning students, the government is throwing them an additional burden in the form of Jawi calligraphy as if to make them sink further.

And the distance between us and the world is getting further and further apart!

The caption for above photo of Chinese Malaysian students says:

Instead of tossing lifebuoys to save our drowning students, the government is throwing them an additional burden in the form of Jawi calligraphy as if to make them sink further.

Whoa, "... to make them sink further ..."? Exactly.

And what do you think PPSMI, the teaching of maths and science in English has been for?

Wikipedia tells us of PPSMI, as follows:

Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran Sains dan Matematik Dalam Bahasa Inggeris (PPSMI) (the teaching and learning of science and mathematics in English) is a government policy aimed at improving the command of the English language among pupils at primary and secondary schools in Malaysia.

In accordance to this policy, the Science and Mathematics subjects are taught in the English medium as opposed to the Malay medium used before.

This policy was introduced in 2003 by the then-Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad.

PPSMI has been the subject of debate among academics, politicians and the public alike, which culminated to the announcement of the policy's reversal in 2012 by the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

I support the improvement of English standards amongst Malaysian students but I do NOT support nor accept PPSMI because the argument a student can improve his/her command of English through Science and Maths is sheer kerbau.

A language is learnt via three process/activities, namely, reading, writing and listening, of which the last, listening is the most difficult. How much English will be learnt through Science and Maths?

Why don't history, literature, civics/moral education, local studies and subjects involving lots of communicative interactions be taught in English, instead of Science and Maths?

I am suspicious that because Mahathir has been the conceptilizer of PPSMI, it's another of his attempts to waste time for vernacular schools and hold back their scary progress and advancement, this time by stealth.


  1. 3 pages of Khat is going to bring down the PISA score for Malaysian vernacular students ?
    Tay Tian Yan is sounding more and more like Donald Trump's fake news Tweets day by day.

    Malaysian Vernacular Schools are without doubt increasingly falling behind if compared internationally.
    This is mostly because of the deep conservatism of Dong Zong and Jiao Zong which maintains a largely 1950's style teaching system in Malaysian Chinese vernacular schools, emphasis on rote learning, memorisation and obedience.

    An appropriate level of rote learning , memorisation and conformity is no doubt necessary for primary level learning, but when it forms the Core of the school teaching method, you get pupils who are unprepared to navigate the challenges of the 2020's world where people increasingly need to be able to think fast and think on their feet.

    They need to change , but Dong Zhong fears change and resists change.
    You may be better compared to Sekolah Kebangsaan, but you are not good compared to the rest of the world.

    What do you do when you are faced with a situation where nothing in your rote learning memory bank matches it ?

    1. Wakakakaka……

      Do u know that the past recent International Mathematical Olympiad has ONLY Asian-looking contestants in its final?

      The IMO individual winners who have won at least three gold medals:

      Lim Jeck Singapore 2009
      Zhuo Qun Song Canada 2010
      Chung Song Hong North Korea 2011
      Dong Ryul Kim South Korea 2012
      Allen Liu United States 2014
      Sheldon Kieren Tan Singapore 2014

      The Chinese team wins gold medals at International Mathematical Olympiad 2019.

      Nothing in your rote learning memory bank to matches it ?

      BTW, excels ib mathematics can't be a role learning process!

      There have a lot of misunderstood & fake hypothesis about the prevailing role learning methodologies in Chinese/vernacular schools. There r also many propagators of such misconception, especially the bananas & the coconuts!

    2. but no one mentioned is from our msia chinese school, moreover the asian looking face won gold medal only tell one is good at maths exam, exercise n competition ie they work hard.

      i think rote learning is fine. i believe many western successful academician n so called genius hv a strong background in memorisation technique. the diff is perhaps a freer environment m culture, that go through a liberation process, but not the kind like peoples liberation army, its a fake liberation.

    3. Mfer, u r on it AGAIN!

      "liberation army, it's a fake liberation"

      Then WHO liberate China from the tumours caused by the kmt warlords?


      There are amble theories to prove that maths IS not a role subject. Working hard on maths subject DOESN'T create IMO champions. The IMO tests need more than unlimited hours of math clamping.

      But how does a f*ckhead know, except does the usual shoot from the mouth!

  2. Ketuahnan Melayu practitioners,please kiss the donkeys asses.These dumb asses wouldn't know the difference between a mule and a donkey.

    These dumb asses better ask that stupid mother fucker,Donald Trump,who just had his dick culled by the Democrats and he was squealing like a pig.That is what moronic people like these ketuahnan Melayu and Donald Trump deserved.A culled dick.

    1. wakakaka, it's great to hear/read about your curse at Trump

  3. let the parents choose, whether jawi khat or m&s in whatever language.

    1. Do most of the parents have the time, skill & knowledge to choose any study subjects/syllabus?

      80% of them just follow the current trends, either set by knowledgeable scholars, noisy loudmouths of know-nothing & udangs.

      Just like the zombies choose to let those religious pondok corrupting the minds of their ypungsters!

  4. So Sin Chew is saying if we learn:

    "Bersatu Bertambah Mutu",
    "Ringgit Malaysia" and
    "Bank Negara Malaysia"

    in Jawi we will fail PISA?

    BTW I think no vernacular school were selected to sit for PISA. Only Malay schools, and even then only the TOP Malay schools.

    1. you like to twist words in a very childish manner