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Maths, Science grades classified as secret?

 | August 29, 2013

In 2003 the Trends International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS) ranked Malaysia as 10th out of 46 countries for Mathematics, now we are 36th.

KUCHING: A baffled opposition here has questioned Education Ministry’s need to classify students’ SPM grades in Mathematics and Science subjects under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen had written to the ministry seeking a breakdown of the grades for General Mathematics, Additional Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and English Language for the years 2006-2012 and was told that the information was “secret”

“I cannot understand why Mathemaics and Science grades are classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA). How can revealing the grades jeopardise national security?” he asked.

Chong told a press conference here that he wanted the statistics after observing obvious drops in Science and Mathematics standards among Malaysian students in recent years.

Chong said he was disappointed and surprised when he received a reply from an officer from the Education Ministry three weeks ago following his request.

It a short reply, the ministry said: “According to the Education Act 1996, Part II, Section 4(b), producing examination papers, preparing examination materials, and ensuring the safety and confidentiality of the examination papers and materials including marks obtained by the candidates are confidential and is under the Malaysia Official Secrets Act”.

Chong has however denied the existence of such a law. He claimed the lawnet.com.my portal had no mention of such a regulation.

“It had nothing to do with examination results at all,” said Chong who provided copies of the ministry letter and the relevant Education Act subsection to the reporters.

Chong said he has since forwarded his written questions to the Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin for the upcoming Parliament sitting.

Chong said he based his parliamentary question on Malaysia’s sudden drop in standing within the Trends International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS).

Additional Maths passmark is 20?

TIMSS is an international assessment of Mathematics and Science knowledge of students aging 9-10 and 13-14 worldwide.

He said standard for Malaysian students in Mathematics and Science had noticeably dropped since 1997.

Malaysia is currently ranked 36th in Mathematics and 32nd in Science among 45 participating countries for the eight graders’ ranking.

In 2007 Malaysia was ranked 20th out of 49 countries for Mathematics, while it was 21st in Science.

He said that in the 2003 TIMSS ranking, Malaysia was ranked 10th out of 46 countries.

Chong said he had heard rumours in connection with the ‘secrecy’ relating to the SPM grades.

“There are suspicions that the current passing marks for Additional Maths in SPM are as low as 20.

“I’ve asked about what is actually the passing mark for the subject, but I could not get it. It ought to be disclosed.

“This is shocking. The (Education) minister should give a written statement publicly on this issue alone,” opined Chong.

He however disagreed with the suggestion that the drops in Mathematics and Science standard among Malaysian students were indications that the country’s education system was a failure.

“But it defies logic to be so secretive about the examination grades,” Chong said.


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