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Should Public Examinations in Malaysia be Abolished

The Malaysia government has started discussing about whether public examination in primary schools and secondary schools should be abolished. This issue has become hot topic among citizens in Malaysia. The purpose of this essay is to discuss the necessity of public examination. Examination can be defined as “a formal test of a person’s knowledge or proficiency in a subject or skill” (Oxford Dictionary of English 2nd Edition, 2005). Many countries have their own public examination which compulsory for all students to take it to test the progress of the students in their academic performance.

Public examination has different name in different countries. For example, in our country, Malaysia, we have a few type of public examination. One of the public examinations is SPM, Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia or also known as Malaysian Certificate of Education (MCE). Malaysian Certificate of Education (MCE) was claimed to be equally same with the British General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) (Esa, A et al. 2009). When the time for public examination arrives, educators and parents will work together in order to help the students to achieve the best possible result they could.

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This is because the government has set an achievement targets for schools to reach. Schools that achieved the above targets will be awarded as the best school in the country with the highest ratings.

This will then boost the parents’ or guardians’ confidence to send their child to that school so he or she can also achieve good result. Many people believe that taking public examination is just another stepping stone for students before moving on to higher education and help their parents to know their performance in schools.

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However, it is also undeniable that public examination can cause many inconvenience to the people who are involved. Currently in Malaysia, all Form 5 students in secondary schools are compulsory to take this examination in order to further their studies in tertiary education or to work. According to statistics 2009, overall number of students that sat for SPM in year 2009 is 465,853 (The Star online, 2010). This essay will discuss whether public examination should be abolished or not. Although many people say that public examination should not be abolished, there are many reason such as burden to the government, teacher, parents, and children for public examination to be abolished. First of all, public examination should be abolished because authority like member of examination boards will take this opportunity to misuse their power to influence students or teachers. Since public examination is a compulsory exam taken by students every year, examination boards are taking this opportunity to make the highest profit out of them.

According to an article written by Shepherd, she claims that examination system in England is almost corrupted because the member of exam boards is making profit by publishing books that contain examination questions; thus, publishing it to earn an extra profit (Shepherd, J, 2010). As a result, examination board’s member is trying to inform the teacher that in order to make their students pass the examination, they should purchase those books provided by them. Besides that, government can use this chance to restructure the education system which is currently available now. According to the article published by local news agency, he claims government plans to abolished public examination so that they can modify the education system which is too exam-based. (Giam, S.K, 2010). Moreover, public examination is definitely costly. Abolishment of public examination can help government to reduce the cost used to spend on the education. According to a foreign online magazine, McMorrow (2009) says that the abolishment of public examination can help the government to save € 30 million in a year. Thus, if we reduce this amount, the government will have the opportunity to invest in the economy of the country while increasing the standard of living of citizens.

Apart from burdening the government, children are also one of the most important aspects for abolishing public examination. Public examination can determine the future of a student, however, not all the student is available to score the result that their parents or teachers wanted. Besides that, public examination also can cause stress among students. Studies show that in a group of students who are taking the examination, they found that increasing neutrophil activity in the body of students. Neutrophil activity is one of the sources of oxidative stress which can raise the possibility of aging process and diseases (Carroll, J.E, 2006). In addition, abolishing public examination can also decrease the possibility of suicide among children. They are many incidents showing that students nowadays cannot handle the pressure given by teachers and parents to achieve high scores in public examination. For example, according to the news which was published in Korea around 462 students in between secondary schools and primary schools commit suicide in the year 2000 to 2005 (Card, J, 2005).

This result shows that students are not capable of handling the stress given by the examination. Besides that, public examination is not the only way to determine the future of that student. Different types of student have different types of potential and that is why not all the students can score well in their grades for final examination. In this case, we need the alternative ways to determine the potential of the students such as their ability in different fields like creativity, interactive, co-curricular activities and sports. Moreover, burden to parents also is one of the aspects that public examination should be abolished. Parents opt to spend their money on programs or events on their children. For example, in Malaysia in order to making profit some of the companies are using internet products that can improve the children grade in public examination such as Score A. Score A is an e-learning program which is introduced by Kenshido International Sdn Bhd with the help of Ministry of Education of Malaysia in 2006 (Hana, 2010). However, these products cause parents to spend more money because they want to help their children to get an ‘A’ in public examination. Therefore some parents purchase access code to login into the webpage.

Besides that, parents also spend their money in buying extra workbooks for their children in order for their children to get familiarise with the subjects that will be tested in the public examination. Undeniable this has increased the total expenses of the parents. Lastly, the stress faced by the teachers is also one of the aspects that public examination should be abolished. Every year before the public examination, teachers who are in charge of their own respective subject need to prepare early to educate and guide their students. In a research done, teachers are the people who are taking all the stress during the examination period. They will be teaching all their knowledge on subject matters to the students in order to help them to achieve a higher grade; however some of the student doesn’t appreciate the effort and hard work given by their teacher (New Straits Times, 2010). In this case we can see that teachers are facing psychological problem due to stress in educating their students to get a higher grade in public examination. In addition, teachers also spend their time with the student after class especially in the public examination year. For example, during examination period, the teachers in government schools are required to conduct extra teaching lessons. During that time, the teachers will do thorough revision on the particular subjects.

Opponents strongly argue that public examination will help students to be more focused and motivated in their studies while setting their own targets. There are many students who are not focused in study. Some may be due to having personal problems. But by having public examination, students will be forced to study harder. For every exam, students should set their own targets so that they can achieve higher grades. Besides that, in this way it will also motivate students to study harder. Parents should also play a major role in motivating their children to study. The next argument brought forward by the opponent is that the students will be too relaxed if exams are to be abolished. Without the public examinations, students will be too free and they might not study at all. Students will always play around in the schools and will not focus on their studies. This is because they thought that studies are useless as there are no longer examinations to grade their academic performances in schools. How will the students succeed in life if they do not study? If they are careless in primary and secondary schools, once they enter tertiary education, they will be a need to study in order to receive a certificate. In tertiary education system, students are assessed from examinations.

If they are not exposed to this kind of exams they will have difficulties in future while studying. Next, the opposing party proposes that public exams should not be abolished as the parents can see the performance of their children. Through exam, the parents will get to know how their children are studying. Parents can amend changes to their children’s way of studying and learning, if necessary. Without this, parents will not know how their children will fare in schools. Besides that, children good performance in public examination will allow them to get a scholarship. This is because nowadays college, university or other independent departments focus on the result of public examination. For example, Jabatan Pendidikan Awam (JPA) has provided the chances for the students who are interested to further their studies in the top university chosen by JPA however the result of their public examination should be excellent under overseas scholarship program. (Malaysia-Scholarship, n.d.)

However, exams should be moderated and not be too excessive, as this will impose stress among students. Students are still young, and it is not healthy to make them stress. By forcing them to study, which is something that they dislike, it will give them stress. There are a few stress-related diseases which may be fatal. Stress can cause students to go wild, and then lead to disciplinary problems. Nowadays, discipline problems are caused by stress. Besides that, examination stress also can bring neutrophil activity to the students body and increase the oxidative stress which can raise the possibility of aging process and diseases (Carroll, J.E, 2006). Students should be relaxed so that they have more time to study. With exam, they have to rush their studies; some even do last-minute studies. They study as if exams are their future; if they fail in the exam means they fail in their future. The education system can replace exams with academic assignments as well. Instead of rushing for last-minute studies, students can take their own sweet time to do assignments. It should be a way where we treat assignments as exams, or part of exams. Besides, students have more time to attend to night classes or tuition for extra learning. Moreover, with relaxed time, they can have more time to do their homework and leisure activities so they can enjoy their life. Public exams are not the only way to judge students’ academic performance.

Schools also have monthly exams or small class test for students. These exams are consistent and very often, compared to public exams which in some cases in every two years, three years, so on and so forth. However, after public exams there is no Parents’ and Teachers’ Day. This day is for parents to consult the teachers on their children’s performance. Usually after year-end exams or mid-year exams there will be this day for parents and teachers to meet and discuss about the student’s performance, but not after public exams as there is no marks nor percentage given but only the grade is given. Even the students can get a good result but the attitude of the student doesn’t promise that he will use the scholarship in the proper ways. So in this case, scholarship is not helping all the students in their future. In conclusion, public examinations bring many negative impacts to our current life. Once public examination approaches, it will bring pain to government, children, parents and teachers. Many children who cannot handle the stress given by the examination will commit suicide. How can we solve this problem if it continues to happen? Thus, public examination should be permanently abolished to reduce the burden of government, teachers, parents and children. As a recommendation, the government should restructure existing examinations to suit the academic purpose instead of bringing burden.

Source : Essays, UK. (November 2013). Should Public Examinations In Malaysia Be Abolished Education Essay. Retrieved from

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Should Public Examinations in Malaysia be Abolished. (2016, Apr 08). Retrieved from

Should Public Examinations in Malaysia be Abolished

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