Unwise and impractical to do away with SPM exam, says Sarawak Teachers Union

Adam Prakash Abdullah

By Emma Victoria

SARAWAK Teachers Union (STU) disagrees with the call to scrap the 2020 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations, scheduled to be held next month.

Its president Adam Prakash Abdullah said it was not a good idea to scrap the exam, as unlike the UPSR and PT3 examinations, SPM is not only an exit certification but also played a role as an admission criterion into institutions of higher learning.

“If we are to award SPM certificates based on school exam results, then we will have difficulties in ensuring standardisation. How is an A+ in School A the same as an A+ in School B?” he told Borneo Post.

He said there would be issues of reliability and validity of the certificates awarded, thus putting the students involved at a great disadvantage.

Moreover, the SPM candidates for 2020 do not have any Classroom Based Evaluation scores that could be used as merit points to award the SPM certificates, he said.

He was commenting on Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen’s suggestion to do away with SPM as it was not safe for students to sit for the exam, in view of the high number Covid-19 cases reported daily.

Chong also proposed the the SPM certificate be issued to the students based on their past school examinations, course work or mock examination results as assessed by their teachers.

“Although we are aware of the danger of having students present physically to sit for the SPM exams during the Covid-19 pandemic, he hoped the Education and Health Ministries could come up with a workable and safe solution to ensure everyone adhered to the SOPs during the exams,” Adam said.

“STU also urges all parents and members of the public to focus on supporting students in their quest and not derail them from their mission of completing their SPM exams with flying colours,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Management Board of Kuching Chung Hua Middle Schools No 1, 3 and 4 chairman Datuk Richard Wee said it was impractical and unwise to suggest scrapping the public examination.

“To use the results from school examinations, course works or mock exam results assessed by their teachers would not give a fair and common standard that a public examination like SPM offers.

“Each school has different standards. If we were to use school exam results, it does not achieve what SPM as a public exam is intended for,” he said.

He also believed there was a need to look at the far-reaching impact of the move.

“You do not want people to look back next time and say SPM 2020 results are worthless,” he said.

Wee felt that the Education Ministry could look at ways to prevent the spread of Covid-19 by reducing the number of subjects in the exam.

“Maybe they could consider reducing the exam time or subjects. Say, from 10 subjects to six core or important subjects only so that the exam period will not be too long,” he said.