Form 6 is one of the toughest phases in student’s life. Traditionally, the Form 6 examination will determine student’s entry into the Institute of Higher Learning. Many students find it difficult to deal with Form 6.
During the 60s, when it was my time, we have to take a common examination and only the qualified students are allowed to take Form 6. Hence, there are many first grader during my time who failed to make it into Lower 6 and for a lot of students, it often marks the end of their dream of entering universities. As the result, some went to teachers college, others went into private institution and many just dropped out after their Form 5.
In those days, you have to take General Paper (GP) and a lot of science students hated this paper, especially the essay writing per se. Often good science students may fail the paper. The general paper gave no avenue for memorizing or route learning and it was a test of creative thinking and general knowledge. Students who don’t read besides their textbook have difficulty in answering the GP.
With liberalization of education and the advancement in education facilities, a lot of students opt for pre-university and for bumiputras and very small number of non-bumiputra, matriculation classes.
One should not compare the students who go through matriculation and the 2-year system of Form 6. In the matriculation system, students are evaluated every semester rather than a one-off examination at the end of 2 years as in Form 6.
I can appreciate the difference between semester examination and the one off examination at the end of 2 years studies. That examination, to a certain extend, will determine your future since the acceptance into Institution of Higher Learning and the course you prefer will be determined by your result.
In short, it’s a challenging 2-year course. Doing away with the STPM so that all will be pre-university or matriculation would only serve to aggravate the falling education standard.
Maybe in addition to the final examination, the semester assessment should be taken into consideration. This will relieve tension and stress. It would also be a better platform to evaluate student’s performance. There should be greater emphasis on the quality of education to meet market demands rather than mass production of graduates.
The government should reduce intake of students for courses that are popular among students but its market demand is dropping. We are still sadly lacking in graduates in pure sciences and pure arts.
Today, in the market, we see mass production of graduates from the field of business studies, IT, lawyers and mass communication. There is a need to curb mass production of graduates in these fields.
Government and education sector should pay more attention to the connection between popular courses and the market demand. Otherwise this mismatch will get worse. Students should be exposed to career counseling so that they have more options to choose from.
It is hoped that in the future, there will be a better balance between the courses offered and market demands.