by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, 30th July 1994:
The headmaster responsible for the educational malpractice of stopping 12 pupils from sitting for the UPSR in order to get good name for school should be suspended as a stern lesson for all other school principals
The headmaster responsible for the educational malpractice of stopping 12 pupils of Sekolah Kebangsaan Bandar Baru Bukit Kayu Hitam from sitting for the recent Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) so as to give the school good overall performance in the examination should be suspended as a stern lesson for all other school principals.
While a school’s overall performance in the UPSR or any other examination is important, it should not be achieved at the expense of the educational needs and rights of the school children.
It is clear that the school principal who could stop 12 pupils from sitting for UPSR on the ground that they are ‘stupid’ has completely misconceived his educational responsibility and deviated from the trust placed on him by the parents, the school, government and society.
The whole purpose of UPSR is to asses the educational attainment of Std. Six pupils after six years of primary education.
By compelling the pupils whom the principal considers to be ‘stupid’ from taking part in the UPSR, these pupils are in fact being denied the right to undergo such an assessment and being driven outside the mainstream of the educational system.
What is even more shocking is that a parent of these ‘stupid’ pupils was told y a teacher that his son should ‘just quit school’ on the ground that he was ‘a very slow learner’.
Schools are not meant just to teach clever or fast learners, but also to provide basic education for all children, regardless of whether they are regarded as ‘stupid’ or slow learners.
Something is very wrong with the Education Ministry’s teacher-training programme that the principal and school teachers could gang up to prevent pupils from sitting for the UPSR so that the school can get a good academic record.
It has been reported that the Sekolah Kebangsaan Bandar Baru Bukit Kayu HItam, categorized as a rural primary school, was adjudged the second most beautiful school in the country by the Education Ministry last year. Furthermore the school principal is currently away on an Education Ministry sponsored trip to Australia.
I do not know whether this Australian trip is the reward for the principal for the school being adjudged the second most beautiful school in the country last year – but clearly, such ‘beauty’ hides frightening ugliness in the school.
The Education Ministry should conduct a thorough probe as to how long such educational malpractices had been going on at the Sekolah Kebangsaan Bandar Baru Bukit Kayu HItam, whether other schools in the country had prevented Std. VI pupils from sitting for UPSR to get a ‘beautiful’ record for the school, and whether such educational malpractices extend to other examination as well.
The Education Ministry must take a serious view of this educational malpractice and save school children from principals and teachers who have completely lost sight of their educational mission and are being driven out of the educational system as they are not allowed to sit for UPSR or other examinations.