According to an article in TheStar, we have been running a pilot programme for students in our MARA Junior Colleges where 180 students are in a programme to take Cambridge IGCSEs alongside our national SPM examinations.
A quick read of the website shows that there’s even a Malay Language paper to take. I’m guessing that all our students would ace that paper. I’m also guessing that the IGCSE papers are in English, which would place more emphasis on learning that language.
The article claims that the programme would equip these students for education abroad by arming them with an internationally recognised school certificate – “we want our students to be global, but at the same time, maintain the character that is synonymous with Malaysia”.
This got me thinking (a silly thing, I know).
Our SPM rot has gone so deep that nobody recognises it as a school certificate anymore. Actually, even Malaysians no longer think much of the SPM exams where even mediocre students are capable of scoring strings of As. The right thing to do would be for our government to tighten standards or scrap it altogether.
However, that would have repercussions across the country if students start losing their As and their ‘right’ to pursue a higher education. Many a kampung kid’s dream to climb the ivory tower would come to a pre-mature end if standards are too tight.
Unfortunately, I don’t think that this will change our government’s view of the GCSEs, which are still not going to be recognised in Malaysia as entry qualifications. However, if the government does recognise it, that will open the doors for more people to continue their studies in Malaysia – in line with our plans to be a regional education hub.
I do welcome our governments plans to incorporate IGCSEs into our education system. I think that our local SPM/STPM exams should be scrapped until such time when the government can get it’s act together. We’ve become experts at out-sourcing in recent years.