DAP calls for review of Standard V Assessment Examination 1971

DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, today issued the following statement.

DAP calls for review of Standard V Assessment Examination 1971 to find out why there are such a high percentage of failures among national primary school students in science and mathematics despite Government’s emphasis on these subjects.

The mass failure of Standard V students in last year’s Assessment Examination is indeed unbelievable, as they hit all language-stream primary schools.

A study of the overall results show, however, that the Tamil and Chinese primary schools have done badly compared to national-type (English) primary schools and national primary schools.

What is more shocking is that there are schools where not a single student could pass the Standard V Assessment Examination.

The detailed results of the national primary schools are, though better than Chinese and Tamil primary schools, poor by themselves. What should concern Malaysians is their generally poor performance in science and mathematics subjects, considering that the key to the breakthrough of Malay poverty and backwardness must be science and technology.

There is at present in the Universities over-emphasis of Malay students taking up arts and religious subjects. This must be corrected and rectified for what the country needs is more scientists, technologists and professional men, and not more religious teachers and art graduates.

It is therefore highly disappointing that we see the national primary schools failing to provide the necessary grounding for Malay pupils to catch up in science and mathematics subjects to enable them in university to pursue professional courses.

Thus, this following is the percentage of failures in science and mathematics subjects in last year’s Std V Assessment Examination for national primary schools:

1971 Standard V Assessment Examination Results
(percentage of Failures)

Mathematics Science
Kedah 62.29% Kedah 54.54%
Trengganu 61.01% Kelantan 53.52%
Pahang 60.37% Trengganu 52.34%
Kelantan 60.37% Pahang 51.02%
Selangor 55.04% Johore 43.94%
Johore 54.73% Selangor 41.83%
Perlis 53.19% Perlis 40.34%
Negeri Negeri
Sembilan 52.25% Sembilan 40.07%
Malacca 49.92% Malacca 38.02%
Perak 40.63% Penang 35.61%
Penang 37.90% Perak 35.10%

Thus, from above results, 38- 63% of the Malay primary students failed the mathematics paper and 35% to 55% failed the science paper, when we make a comparison on a state-by-state basis.

This is not the way to help the Malay students to master the key of science and technology to make a breakthrough to a modern life and break away from poverty and backwardness. What the education system is doing is merely to put the Malay pupils in school without teaching them anything useful for their use in adult life, whether to find better jobs or lead a better life.

The result of the national primary school in other subjects of last year’s Std V Assessment Test is also not encouraging:

Percentage of Failures

Bahasa Malaysia II Bahasa Inggeris I
Kelantan 39.47% Kedah 62.90%
Kedah 38.37% Trengganu 60.67%
Trengganu 36.58% Kelantan 58.52%
Pahang 34.69% Pahang 58.18%
Johore 29.80% Johore 55.28%
Perlis 26.83% Perlis 54.40%
Perak 26.09% Negeri
Malacca 25.27% Sembilan 49.81%
Penang 25.3% Selangor 49.37%
Selangor 24.22% Malacca 47.94%
Negeri Penang 37.90%
Sembilan 23.91% Penang 32.82%

History- Geography

Kelantan 52.80%
Pahang 51.05%
Kedah 50.81%
Trengganu 50.48%
Johore 45.29%
Sembilan 43.24%
Selangor 40.49%
Malacca 40.63%
Perlis 39.40%
Perak 35.10%
Penang 32.32%

The mass failures of Malay primary students in all the subjects of the last year’s Assessment Test are a course rave concern. There is something basically wrong with the entire education system at present, for the mass failures are taking place in all language-stream primary schools.

It is plain that if the primary base of our children’s education are weak, their secondary and university education are going to be gravely affected.

There is grave need for the government to awake up from its indifference and appoint a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the low standard and quality of education in Malaysia primary and secondary schools.

However, educationists whether from Malay, Chinese, Tamil or Indian streams should not wait for the government to act, which may take a long time. They should take it upon themselves to convene a meeting of Malaysian educationists to discuss and find ways and means of overcoming the grave problem of low quality and standards of Malaysian education. They owe it to themselves, to their profession as educationists, to the school children and to the nation to take this initiative.