Group name: It Doesn't Matter.

Group members: Victor Tan, Avinaash Subramaniam, Brandon Khoo, Nickolai Anthony Fernandez Field of choice: Education Policy: Regulation of academic streaming in Malaysia. Background: I directed last year's promotional video for the Malaysia Public Policy Competition - In the video, a boy decides between two academic streams - Given the choice between science and art, he opts to assert his individuality and chooses to become a science student - Confronted with the reality of society, represented by his fuming mother and his angered teacher, he realizes that his 'choice' is but an illusion, and where society thinks he belongs is within the confines of a classroom that teaches science, nothing more and nothing less; several months ago, I wrote an article advocating an end to subject-based streaming in secondary schools in The Malaysian Insider. (§). My views have not changed since. Background: Society views an influx of science stream students as desirable, and this is evidenced by the Malaysian Education Blueprint, which will benchmark PISA and TIMSS scores in Mathematics and Science in Malaysia over the next 15 years to an international standard, aiming to achieve the same level of mastery. As a team, we believe that this is misinformed. Almost all of Malaysia's top SPM scorers are science students in the true sense of the word - Yet, far less of these students head on into science-based careers contrary to what numbers might suggest - Each one of our group members followed the science stream prior to entering college and university, and all but Avinaash have chosen to deviate from that path. Our view is that streaming is poorly regulated in many schools - Nowhere is it mentioned in the Malaysian Education Blueprint, and the process of streaming is largely decentralized - Schools often opt to place students who are in good academic standing into Science streams and students in poor academic standing after PMR into arts stream classes - This creates, for better or for worse, an 'elite' mentality that distorts the incentives that students have to enter the science stream, thereby creating gluts of high achieving students who take science careers not because they are interested in science, but because they view it as a vehicle to success, and underrepresents students who may not have done well during the Penilaian Menengah Rendah(PMR) exams, but have their interests in science shut out simply because they failed to succeed. Policy: Ours is a policy is to redistribute the incentives that academic streaming have vastly skewed and to provide greater leeway to students to follow their academic interests Streaming is poorly regulated - It is not mentioned in the Malaysian Education

undertake placement tests. In determining the suitability of this policy. it promises uniform ability students. It selects for such students among the academic elite of each school. as overall academic success does not necessarily imply an inability to cope with certain subjects. but uniform ability students grouped not by test scores as they are by self-selectivity. if there is a statistically significant increase in this figure. as the current system of streaming seems to arbitrarily place students in science simply because they are capable of performing in general. the preliminary KPI's measured being the proportion of A's and credits obtained by students in their respective streams. rather than simply tick a box and indicate their preference . aimed at representing schools in both sides of the urban-rural divide . neglecting ability differences that often manifest only as time progresses . Our team holds that streaming based on overall academic scores as a practice should be replaced with test-based assessments administered after the SPM examinations.Such a . will comprise subject knowledge. as well as the overall number of A's obtained by students in each school over these five years . As per status quo. The number of students for each academic stream would be selected based on a cutoff percentage negotiated between MOE superintendents and each individual school. while providing a second chance for students who did not do well for PMR. the ministry will have good reason to re-evaluate the way streaming is conducted in this country and to place more emphasis on regulating the way students are streamed into arts and sciences. nor is it mentioned in the Ministry of Education(MOE) website.It will be offered to students who wish to develop their knowledge in specific areas after the PMR examinations. implemented over the course of fifteen years. It is a short term policy that is meant to 'test the waters'. The tests that I propose will be offered at the beginning of the academic year. we would begin the first third of our plan by introducing the series of tests we propose through a trial period in a random sample of twenty SMK schools over a period of five years. contrary to the fact that not all of these 'elites' may show any interest in science at all.Blueprint(MEB). It will be followed by development of curricula that provide greater options to students in terms of pursuing their interests. the ministry will collate data from the SPM examinations. in order to assess the degree of success of this policy. yet at the same time assist in allowing students to select for areas in academia that that truly resonate with their interests.While this policy does not account for students who may attain success in science but do poorly in exams.We believe that the first step comes by redistributing the means by which students are allocated to different academic streams. This policy would provide greater barriers to entry for students to follow science courses. as students have to prepare specifically for the curriculum that they wish to take. aiming to have the talented and the academically skilled populate the top science classes. and the relevant syllabi(as well as syllabi for arts) will be benchmarked according to the first three months of the current national syllabus .Throughout the five years.

and it may act to enable the MOE to develop a selection mechanism that targets gifted education programmes to gifted students (Defined in the MEB as catering to the top 1% of the Malaysian student population and divided into disparate categories such as music. in dealing with smaller and more focused groups of students. and in the long run be in line with the government's desire to develop balanced and holistic human capital. as outlined in the Malaysian Education Blueprint.policy would allocate teaching resources more effectively to students who desire it. the ministry. Additionally. provided that the policy is successful in narrowing students down by levels of interest. science) more efficiently. mathematics. would be able to create more targeted initiatives towards science students and ensure greater participation. linguistics. .

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