The Star paper reported yesterday (3Oct09) that a new grading system will be implemented from this year. With SPM just round the corner (less than 50days) this has created havoc amongst the young people who will be sitting for the exam.

To add to their already stressed up mind; now they have to worry if they are able to achieve the A+; as getting 1A is already a challenge; now it is A+!!!!!

I quote the Education DG, '...system will enable more qualified candidates to be chosen for training programmes and new scholarships...'

The thought behind this upgrade is definitely good as there will be a marked difference between excellent students and borderline excellent students; thus less headache in the selection of students for scholarship etc based on academic achievements. But implementing this system and implementing it this year has raised quite a few question marks not just amongst students but society at large.

1. Why implement it in such a hurry? Isn't it unfair to the students to have this bombshell dropped on them all of a sudden when the exam is just a few weeks away?
For every action that the MOE takes it will affect a great majority of the citizens of Malaysia both negatively and positively. It will be of great wisdom I believe if the MOE gives the students more time to prepare themselves for the new system.

2. Is getting As all that important? Unfortunately; the answer is yes and this new system itself speaks volumes on this matter. Now the students are pressured not only to get straight As but it must be A+. I can sense the tension and pressure going on in the hearts and minds of every Form 5 student who aims to excel as I type here. The question in their mind , ' What if....I don't get A+ but just an A'?

3. How will this affect the selection of students for scholarships and training programmes? After spending five years in the secondary school preparing for THE exam that will determine their future; many students have worked hard and planned towards getting scholarships. They are encouraged to excel not only in their academics but also in their extra-curricular activities. With 1As fixated in their minds and thick files of certificates to prove their involvement in extra-curriculur activities(school level right up to national level); their well planned strategies are shaken by this change of grading system! To some; getting 1As is within their abilities but A+ is a totally different story.

I guess I speak here on behalf of the many disgruntled voices that I have heard the whole of yesterday and as a parent and teacher; I totally empathise with them. To my students who are sitting for the exam soon, leave this worry with God and focus on what you need to do now ie STUDY and be PREPARED for the exam.

May the MOE have wisdom and sense to do the right thing that will not jeopardise the future of those who really need the extra boost in their future like a scholarship.

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