KUCHING, Dec 7 — The Sarawak government would complement the efforts of the Ministry of Education (MoE) to arrest the decline in the scholastic performance among 15-year old pupils in mathematics, science and reading, Datuk Seri Roland Sagah Wee Inn said today.

The state minister of education, innovation and talent development said Malaysian students’ below average scores in a recent Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) was very worrying.

“We in Sarawak are ever willing to complement the efforts by our federal counterpart as we have shown all these years,” he said in a statement.

He said both the federal and state governments have spent billions of ringgit on infrastructure, programmes, and activities for education advancement in Sarawak.

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“All these efforts and resources would go to waste if concrete and concerted efforts are not put in to address this decline in performance,” Sagah said.

He said the state’s emphasis on the teaching of science and mathematics in English under the Dual Language Programme is one of initiatives taken that would need cooperation from all parties to succeed.

“Our initiative to introduce common assessment at Primary 6 is also our effort to gauge performance so as to enable interventions where deemed necessary.

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Sagah urged MoE to be open to the state’s input, recommendations, and participation in educational programmes as both have the same objectives.

“MoE, must endeavour to improve our students’ performance by thinking outside the box, giving highest priority to teaching English, Science and Mathematics by allowing more contact time and reduce other subjects,” Sagah stressed,

He pledged that the Sarawak government will continue to collaborate, complement, and provide the necessary resources to improve the quality of education in the state.

In a recently published worldwide PISA study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for 2022, 15-year-old Malaysian students scored 409 points in mathematics compared to an average 472 points in OECD countries.

On average, 15-year-olds score 388 points in reading compared to an average of 476 points in OECD countries while the average performance in scienc is 416 points, compared to an average of 485 points in OECD countries.

Singapore occupied the top spot in the education capabilities, beating even the European countries.

The PISA survey is carried out every three years by the Paris-based OECD to assess the ability of 15-year-olds to meet real-life challenges.