Othman Talib of UCSI says the education minister must show her resolve in improving students’ basic literary standards.
PETALING JAYA: An academic has raised concerns over the education ministry’s failure to provide concrete strategies to address Malaysia’s drop in last year’s international student assessment (Pisa) scores.
Othman Talib from UCSI questioned why education minister Fadhlina Sidek had only given a short response, saying that the ministry was taking the matter seriously, following the announcement on Malaysia dropping seven places to 55th from the year before.
He added that the education ministry not only has to resolve the issue of Pisa scores but also address other outstanding concerns, such as the burdensome curriculum.
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“The statement that ‘all those problems and issues related (to Pisa) have been addressed and will continue to be addressed’, is not true when we consider all education-related problems, such as the decline in the quality of the country’s education.
“I’m concerned that not even one of these issues has been resolved,” he told FMT.
Othman also urged Fadhlina to stop using the Covid-19 pandemic as an “excuse” for Malaysia’s poor performance in Pisa scores.
He said Fadhlina should instead announce concrete solutions to address the problem and show her resolve to improve students’ basic literary standards promptly.
“Why are you trying to justify the decline in the Pisa scores? It shows a lack of accountability,” Othman said.
The latest Pisa scores show that Malaysian 15-year-olds scored 409 in math (down from 440 previously) and 416 in science (down from 438 in 2018). In reading, Malaysians scored 388, down from 415.
Only 1.2% of Malaysian students were excellent at math, and only 0.5% were good at science. Less than half, or just 42%, were good at reading.
The Pisa study serves to gauge the readiness of 15-year-olds who receive formal education to seamlessly adapt to contemporary society. The assessment took place from April 17 to May 31, 2022 across 199 schools, including private schools.