LAST_UPDATEWed, 18 Jul 2018 11pm

UPSR Leak: After The Shock And Dismay, What Happens Next?

The seriousness of the exam paper leak eventually led to the decision for UPSR students to re-sit for 2 papers/Pic:FMT The seriousness of the exam paper leak eventually led to the decision for UPSR students to re-sit for 2 papers/Pic:FMT OVER the past few weeks, the UPSR exam papers leak has captured the Malaysian public’s attention. This issue has continued to be in the media spotlight and generated much public outcry and concern, particularly in terms of how it can affect the credibility of our education system.

The seriousness of the exam paper leak eventually led to the decision for UPSR students to re-sit for 2 papers and ongoing investigations have revealed that only a small group of individuals are involved. 

Police have so far not found evidence of large scale fraud or any links to organized crime and the leaks have been confined to the Science and English papers which the students are required to retake.

Education Minister Tan Sri Muhiyiddin officially announced last week that the date for the students to retake the affected papers has been fixed for 30 September 2014.

Dismay And Disappointment Over UPSR RetakeTan Sri Muhyiddin YassinTan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin

There was an outpouring of concern for the affected students when the UPSR retake was announcement as well as for the dilemma and inconvenience faced by the affected parents and teachers.

There were also public concerns voiced about attempts to sabotage the Education Ministry and the extreme measures taken by some as a shortcut to achieve exam success; all these issue adding to the overwhelming pressure that the affected students, parents and teachers are already facing.

President of National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP), Hashim Adnan, told Malaysian Digest that he was extremely disappointed by this leaked UPSR exam papers issue.

“This action is a serious criminal act as it taints the image of the Education Ministry and the good name of the entire teaching profession; and obviously it causes great hardship to the 472,853 UPSR candidates who have to retake the affected papers,” he said.

According to Prof. Madya Dr. Mariani Mohd  Nor, a psychologist with the Educational Psychology and Counselling Department of University of Malaya, parents, teachers and affected students should try to alleviate the additional stress that they might feel when faced with having to retake the  exam, she had  stated in an Astro Awani report earlier.

Prof. Madya Dr. Mariani Mohd  NorProf. Madya Dr. Mariani Mohd Nor“This issue of leaked UPSR questions will affect the teachers, parents and school communities emotionally and psychologically, especially the affected students who will feel the strongest pressure. Parents should try to guide the children to overcome this obstacle as another normal challenge and help them to see that the retake is no different from the original exam, just a different set of questions,” she said.

“Due to the postponement and delay, affected students who do not get the support and guidance of their parents might lose focus, get distracted and forget what they have learnt and this will definitely affect their retake of the exam papers,” she added.

Who Is To Blame?

Could it have happened during printing? Who else could have had the opportunity to leak the papers? Many accusations have surfaced since the incident and unfortunately, school teachers seem be the focus of much of the attention.

Malaysian police (PDRM) has assigned a task force which is currently looking into all leads in connection with the case.

According to KL Criminal Investigation Department Chief, SAC Gan Kong Meng, when contacted mentioned that his team had initiated investigations immediately upon receiving a police report on 3 September 2014.

“The case is being investigated under Section 8 of the Official Secrets Act that provides for a fine and jail term of not less than a year but not exceeding seven years.

Indeed, as serious as the matter is, the issue quickly became a source of online jokes especially when it came to the topic of printing the exam papers overseas, when several parties in the social media network made it a laughing stock, especially questioning the professionalism of printers and printing procedures in Malaysia.

Education Minister Tan Sri Muhiyddin Yassin had earlier suggested that the ministry might consider printing the UPSR exam papers overseas similar to the SPM papers and his comment led to the issue being joked about online.File PicFile Pic

According to the official web portal of the Education Ministry, SPM exam papers are printed in the University of Cambridge, whereas UPSR and PT3 (Pentaksiran Tingkatan 3) exam papers are printed locally.

Although this entire UPSR exam papers leak incident has affected many parties negatively and the blame game has tarnished many innocent individuals and groups, there are some people who have chosen to view this unfortunate incident in a more positive way.

Is There A Positive Side To This Entire Fiasco?

Most people have expressed how shameful and unfortunate this exam papers leak incident has been as well at the great inconvenience it caused especially for affected students and their families who have already made holiday plans for the one week school break immediately after the UPSR exams were supposed to have finished.

“I did not foresee this happening; the date for the Hajj pilgrimage was already fixed and according to the original exam timetable, by now I would have been able to focus on fulfilling the fifth pillar of Islam peacefully.”

However, the Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Siong, Baling, Kedah student, Siti Naziatul Iffah Yaakub,  will still persevere in her quest to fulfil her religious obligation although the Year 6 pupil is worried about having to do revisions for her upcoming UPSR retake.

Pic by Harian MetroPic by Harian MetroIn preparation for her coming Hajj pilgrimage, she has to divide her time between continuing her UPSR revisions and attending her Hajj preparation classes.

Other students have also put forward a different view of the re-scheduled UPSR exams.  When contacted by Malaysian Digest, Abang Mohammad, 12, from Sarawak described the unfortunate incident as giving him more time to prepare again.

“I am not a smart student, neither am I a fast learner; honestly I am quite weak in my English studies so now I have more time to revise again when the ministry ask all UPSR students to retake the  Science and English exams,” he said.

From the parents’ point of view, Zainab Abidah who has a child taking the UPSR exam this year stated that she had initially been unhappy with her child’s carelessness in answering the original Science exam questions when she had a chance to review the exam paper.

“My child was so careless in answering the Science paper and I was upset with the amount of mistakes made because the questions were not carefully read in the first place but now there is a second chance to attempt  to answer the questions correctly again on 30 September,” she joked casually to Malaysian Digest.

Malaysian Digest also sought the opinion of tuition centres on this matter.  The proprietor of Pusat Tuisyen Minda Kreatif Berhad in Johor Bahru, Sim Chia Jun, gave us his opinion on the issue.

“We serve as a platform to strengthen the students’ mastery of the subject and now given the additional time, we will give more emphasis in improving their approach to answering exam questions but we do not condone any shortcuts that involve conspiring with any party to obtain leaked examination papers,” he said.

“We usually distribute forecast questions and topics that based on past experience, we feel the students should focus on so that they are more prepared to answer the questions they face in the actual exams,” he explained when interviewed by Malaysian Digest.

UPSR Leaks Will Not Tarnish Image Of Teachers – MuhiyiddinFile PicFile Pic

Tan Sri Muhiyddin Yassin had said in a local online news portal, mstar, that although the incident had cast a negative spotlight on the Education Ministry, but the good name of our dedicated educators is still intact.

“I am confident that the image of teachers remain intact as most or rather 99.9% of them  have always worked hard to maintain the integrity and honour of their noble profession. They will continue to enjoy the respect and gratitude of our society,” he said.

A handful of errant teachers should not tarnish the reputation of the entire teaching fraternity and the blame should not be put solely on the teachers in this case.  Without the untiring efforts by our teachers, where will our society be today?

According to a school teacher who did not want to be named, this whole episode was very sad as it seem to put the blame solely on the teachers.

“Must all teachers be criticized because of the actions of a few?” she had asked.  Teachers are untiring in their daily efforts as educators of young minds and students, parents and school administrators must be more sensitive to how easily it is to crush our feelings. 

Malaysians should also consider the feelings of the 500,000 innocent and hardworking school teachers who have been affected by this scandal as well.

To date, the police have detained 30 individuals for questioning in relation to the leaked UPSR exam papers case. Among them are 8 individuals from the Malaysian Examination Board, 19 teachers, an official from the Education Ministry, an engineer and a reporter.

- mD