Media statement by Tony Pua Kiam Wee and Dr Ong Kian Ming in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, 16th January 2013
It has been 30 days since the results of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study 2011 was released which showed shockingly poor performance by Malaysian students.
Malaysia’s ranking in Math fell from 10th in 2003 to 26th in 2011 while its ranking in Science fell by an ever greater margin, from 20th in 2003 to 32nd in 2011. However, the most damning outcome of the test is that Malaysia has suffered the biggest drop in test scores among all countries for both Mathematics and Science between 1999 and 2011.
The number of students who scored “Below Low” for Mathematics increased from only 7% in 1999 to an incredible 35% in 2011. For Science, the percentage rocketed up from 13 to 38. If the students who scored “Low” were taken into consideration, 64% and 66% of Malaysian students scored “Low” and “Below Low” in Mathematics and Science respectively.
If there ever was a yardstick of a non-physical national disaster, this is it. At least two generations of young Malaysians will fail to achieve their potentials as a result of rapidly declining education standards.
However, despite the scale of the crisis, the Minister of Education has to date, has remained stoically silent on the entire issue, as if it will blow away just as long as he does not comment on it.
The irony of it all is that Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has flown to the United States to receive an honorary doctorate from “United States Sports Academy” on the 17th of January for his ‘Satu Murid, Satu Sukan’ initiative to ‘enhance physical education to help in the building of a nation’. While Tan Sri Muyhiddin is being ‘honoured’ with a doctorate for this supposed ‘achievements’ in developing sports in schools, our students continue to be ‘dishonoured’ by a Minister of Education who has failed them miserably in the academic arena.
Tan Sri Muhyiddin’s only “achievement” to date has been the controversial decisions to enforce “History” as a compulsory examination subject for SPM level to “inculcate nationalism and patriotism” and to scrap national examinations at PMR and UPSR levels. The preliminary education blueprint which has been launch to date fails to aggressively address the drastic decline in our standards. Neither of these will serve to improve the standards of education in Malaysia, while it may arguably make our students worse off than their current deteriorating predicament.
Tan Sri Muhyiddin must immediately take the position to recognise the complete failings of our national education system and announce the willingness to leave no stone unturned and slaughter the sacred cows of our education system to put an immediate halt to the decline to ensure that our young Malaysians today will remain competitive globally tomorrow.
Tony Pua Kiam Wee, DAP National Publicity Secretary & MP for Petaling Jaya Utara
Dr Ong Kian Ming, DAP Election Strategist