KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s future could suffer as its students continue to score low in key subjects of science and mathematics, a situation the opposition blames on the government’s refusal to deal with its weak education policies hands on.
The latest Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2011 survey published online showed Malaysia scoring 440 points in Form Two mathematics which is the equivalent to eighth grade worldwide, trailing countries like Singapore who are among the world’s top scorers.
Malaysian 14-year-olds were found to have performed worse than Israel who chalked up 516 points, Lithuania (502) and Lebanon (449), but beat neighbouring Thailand, which scored 427 points on tests by a narrow margin.
In science, Malaysians scored 426 points, tying with Syria and just pipping Palestine, Georgia and Oman, which totted up 420 points each in the tests.
This means Malaysia’s ranking in maths fell from 20th in 2007 to 26th last year while its science dropped drastically, from 21st to 32nd in the same period.
The only country which suffered declines in scores in all content and cognitive domains for the two subjects is Jordan.
Malaysia, however, is the worse performer among all countries between 1999 to 2011 with students achieving low percentage points in scoring full credits for what should be basic math and science questions.
DAP national publicity chief Tony Pua said the drop must be blamed on the Barisan Nasional government’s national education system.
“This is extremely worrying, a great concern. We are losing quality that is crucial for the country’s growth,” he told reporters at the party’s headquarters here.
Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin pledged for an overhaul with the announcement of a new National Education Blueprint that Putrajaya said would put Malaysia back on the right development path.
But even so, the blueprint only admitted to “some” mistakes while highlighting past achievements now invalidated by the survey.
PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar, speaking at the same press conference, also urged Muhyiddin to explain the disparity between the performance of male and female students with the latter scoring better.
“They cannot keep glossing over when we have a problem like this,” she said.
DAP election strategist Dr Ong Kian Ming said the opposition will raise more issues pertaining to the report.
The opposition is expected to issue its own comprehensive response to the matter and is likely to use it as an election issue as key national polls loom.
Extracted from Free Malaysia Today