Sarawak teachers’ union supports call to abolish UPSR

The UPSR for Year 6 pupils was introduced 33 years ago to replace the Standard 5 assessment exam. (Bernama pic)

KUCHING: The Sarawak Bumiputera Teachers Union (KGBS) has supported the call by the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) to abolish the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) for Year 6 pupils.

Its president Ahmad Malie said Year 4 to 6 pupils have been caught up in an exam-oriented education system.

“Teachers at schools focus on how many As their pupils can score in exams, contradicting the education ministry’s aspirations to create a student-based and fun learning environment,” he told FMT.

Ahmad said the abolition of UPSR would allow teachers to implement 21st century teaching methods, which are more student-oriented.

“Teachers at the moment are still bound by conventional teaching methods,” he said.

Earlier this month, NUTP called for the abolition of UPSR, which was introduced 33 years ago to replace the Standard 5 assessment exam.

Its secretary-general Harry Tan said UPSR was unnecessary and only added pressure on pupils.

He said that instead of taking the UPSR examination, pupils could be assessed through tests set by their respective schools.

Ahmad also suggested that the education ministry provide a platform for stakeholders, such as the teachers’ union, to discuss whether or not the examination should be abolished.

Education expert Jeniri Amir said the call to abolish UPSR was not new and “had been ongoing for years”.

He said the education system must be reformed to produce competitive individuals in the future.

“Schools are not factories that produce students who score As,” he told FMT.

Apart from schools, parents have also been focusing on making sure their children score As by sending them to tuition classes, he said.

Jeniri, who has more than 30 years of teaching experience, said schools should be fun for pupils to learn in as well as platforms to foster creativity and positive values.

“There should be a focus on writing, communication and language skills as well as positive values in primary schools,” he said.