09 January 2011

Unnecessary to Have Must-Pass

This is another piece of views from Mr. Liong Kam Chong which was published in The Star, 9 January, 2011, page N34, Views.

If the recent comments on the contents of our History textbooks are true, I am worried for our young ones. The Education Ministry must act fast to correct the wrongs.

While I agree that History should be a core subject, I have my reservations about it being made a must-pass subject for Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).

First, a compulsory pass in History, or for that matter any other subject except the languages, is making a mockery of the open certificate system proclaimed for SPM.

I can remember the pain that the Education Ministry had to go through years ago when explaining the scrapping of the then closed SPM certificate system and expounding the merits of the new open system of certification.

Does all that effort not mean anything anymore? Today, you add History; tomorrow you may want to add religious or moral studies and then Science or mathematics.

Second, do we have enough History major teachers to teach the subject competently at Form 4 and 5? The demand for quality and specialised teachers will be much more crucial and critical if the subject is made a must-pass in SPM.

Besides classroom teachers, we will need experienced and qualified question setters and answer script examiners.

Third, the thinking that making History a must-pass in SPM will raise the patriotism of our young ones is too simplistic. And we are not even talking of how patriotism can be measured.

If the contents of the History textbooks remain as they are, dissatisfaction may rise among knowledgeable parents. It will elicit exactly the opposite sentiment that the ministry hopes for.

Also, do not forget that children spend more time at home than in school. Patriotic values, whatever they may be, taught in school can easily be negated by parental opinion and influence.

If students force themselves to learn the subject just to get an SPM certificate, I do not see how that will bring about true patriotism.

Fourth, it may be interesting to know if there is another country or another education system in the world that has made a compulsory pass in History a condition for securing a public examination certificate or qualification.

The Education Ministry must do a rethink on making History a compulsory pass in SPM


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