The mass failures in Johore schools

Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, when speaking at DAP Public Rally in Tangkak, Johore on Sunday, 30th July 1972 at 9 p.m.

The mass failures in Johore schools

There is great urgency that parents should waken up to the very poor quality and standard of education their children are getting in Malaysian primary and secondary schools.

One of the reasons why the grave problem of mass failures in Malaysian schools have not attracted the attention and concern it deserved is because of the secrecy of the examination results.

The government was trying to hide the examination results so that parents would not know that their children have been mass failures in school, learning nothing after five or nine year’s education.

There is no point in the government and the taxpayers spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on education, if our children are not getting a proper education in schools but are on the contrary being mis-educated and failing en masse.

Johore State did badly in last year’s Standard V Assessment Examination.

If we take the English subject, we find that the Chinese primary schools achieved the worst results, with 56.62% failures. Even the national primary schools (which had 55.28% failures) and the Tamil primary schools (with 35.73% failures) did better.

Surely, this is a matter for heart-searching by the principals and teachers in the Chinese primary schools.

In the Chinese language, 40.30% o the students in the Chinese primary schools failed. The question must be asked: Why did such a high rate of failures occur in Chinese language. Surely there must be something basically wrong in the entire educational and teaching system in the Chinese primary schools. What shudders me is that this state of affairs had been going on foe several years, and the Chinese educationists, principals and teachers have not done anything about it. I wonder how many hundreds of thousand of children have been sent out from Chinese primary schools and other language-stream primary schools illiterate despite their six years’ of primary education, fit for nothing in society in the last few years.

A comparison of the result of other language-stream primary schools shows that the Malay students and the Tamil students did better than the Chinese students in their mother-tongue subject.

Thus, the Malay students in the national primary schools in Johore had 29.80% failures in Bahasa Malaysia II while the Indian students in national-type (Tamil) primary schools had 35.73% failures in Tamil language – both less than the 40.30% failures of Chinese primary school students in the Chinese subject.

It is clear that the Chinese primary schools in Johore need drastic overhauling if the parents are not to lose confidence in the standards and quality of Chinese schools.

On the whole, the results of all Johore primary schools of all language-media are very unsatisfactory.

Thus, the following are the percentage of failures in each subject in last year’s Std. V Assessment Examination for all school in Johore.

Standard V. Assessment Examination 1971
Percentage of Failures (Johore)
National-type (Chinese) primary Schools
Bahasa Malaysia I 55.25%
Bahasa Inggeris I 56.62%
Mathematics 33.60%
Science 26.86%
Geography-history 41.44%
Chinese Language 40.30%

National-type (English) primary schools
Bahasa Malaysia II 24.73%
Bahasa Inggeris 36.68%
Mathematics 35.45%
Science 33.33%
Geography-history 28.96%

National primary schools
Bahasa Malaysia II 29.80%
Bahasa Inggeris I 55.28%
Mathematics 54.73%
Science 43.94%
Geography-history 45.29%

National-type (Tamil) primary schools
Bahasa Malaysia I 47.13%
Bahasa Inggeris I 40.83%
Mathematics 39.13%
Science 43.77%
Geography- History 43.89%
Bahasa Tamil 35.73%

The public, the parents and the teachers must do something to check the terrible mess in the present education system. This is why Alliance Ministers and leaders have no faith in their own education system, and send their children abroad for not only university, but secondary and primary education.

Education holds the key to our child’s future. If our child gets a bad education, which in fact equivalent to no education, then we are wrecking his future. We have all a duty and responsibility to do our bit to ensure that our children get the type of education they deserve – one which equips them to play a creative and positive role in society.

I urge Old Boys’ Associations and Parent-Teachers’ Associations to take up this grave issue, to find ways and means of highlighting the causes of the educational disaster in the country before applying the remedy.