KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 13 — Senior Education Minister Datuk Mohd Radzi Md Jidin today explained that the plans to transform Malaysia's education system are underway by ensuring students in schools learn to their best capabilities, based on their own individual strengths.
In his keynote speech at the Education Transformation Showcase in Alamanda Shopping Centre, Putrajaya, the Bersatu Senator said that he had been made aware that parents' and teachers alike were worried about the abolishment of the UPSR and PT3 examinations.
He said parents have nothing to worry about as with the abolishment of these exams — taken typically in Standard 6 and Form 3 — as the focus to score on exams would reduce, and a more holistic approach and classroom learning-focused regime would be the priority.
He said this is to ensure each individual student's strengths and weaknesses are properly addressed.
"Students, parents and teachers right now are too focused on exams. Us, at the Education Ministry, do not want exams to be the main focus. That is why we discussed what it is that we actually want from our education system," he said.
He also noted that with the abolishment of UPSR, parents' are worried about admissions into boarding schools, asking which results would be used for these boarding schools to access the students.
To this he said that the ministry has implemented the Specific School Admission Assessment (PKSK) for students who are interested in attending these fully residential schools.
"Our children that want to enter boarding schools, if they feel like they want to and if parents feel like they want to send them there, they can apply for the PKSK exams.
"If you don't want to send them (to boarding schools), you don't have to sit for the exam," he said, adding that in 2020 and 2021, only around 180,000 students have taken the PKSK exams to get spots in boarding schools.
Radzi said that with this new education system, the ranking of students in classrooms after exams and the termination of the prestigious schools status have also been done away with.
He said a student's growth in schools will not merely be based on their year-end results.
"With this transformation, we will look at education as a whole. We need to have the will to properly educate and groom students to be the best versions of themselves, and not pit them against each other.
"We want to build and lift up our children in schools," he said.
He also addressed a concern told to him by a school headmistress, wherein she said that she was concerned that with no UPSR and PT3, students would not attend school.
"I told her that she needs to take a second look at this, from a different angle. Is it because there are no more exams that students won't come to school or is it because your school is boring?
"If the school is fun, an area where students feel that they can be with their friends and teachers, got exams or no exams, they will still come to school because they appreciate what they gain in schools," he said.
He said the ministry aims to help children feel empowered, and to want to go to school on their own, without feeling the dread and stress of incoming major examinations.