#SPM2020: Cancel? Postpone? -- Teachers' Perspectives

Honored to be amongst some of the most recognized teachers in Malaysia in a private session with YB Syed Saddiq of MUDA. This is the first time I have ever been consulted by a minister. I'm impressed that we had representation from all over Malaysia. We even had someone from a P3 school. Kudos to the person who set this up.

During the session, YB wanted to hear from us about the situation on the ground. What the students & teachers are going through preparing for SPM 2020. Also, what were our recommendations.

==Personal Thoughts/Notes From The Session==

1. YB was punctual & stayed beyond the 1-hour session. I'm so impressed with this because this demonstrates his respect for our time. I've lost many hours of my life just waiting for VVIPs to arrive.

2. YB didn't talk much. He was mostly listening & asking questions.

3. Teachers were very much echoing each other, on our experiences and thoughts from our students.

4. TLDR: There is no win-win situation when it comes to SPM 2020. People are going to suffer regardless of whether it is carried out, postponed, or cancelled.
- Not fair to use trial results as it is not a true reflection of a students’ ability.
- Cancelling will lead to 3rd party testing that burdens lower income groups, like in US.
- Our students' drive to excel is diminishing over time.
- Lower-performing students just want SPM to be over & done with so they can move on with their lives, like seeking employment or training. Many have already started working during the MCO.
- High-performing students are also raring to go.
- There needs to be clear SOPs on how to handle COVID in SPM. What happens when a student gets COVID in the middle of the month-long exam? Quarantine everyone? How safe will the students and invigilators be?

5. Side Topic: - 📺 Indonesia & Afghanistan have dedicated TV channels for education. Malaysia’s TV Pendidikan program is inadequate. We have 3 channels playing educational content for Year 1 to Form 5. Not even 12 hours of broadcasts in total per day. Average of 1 hour per academic level per day. Looking forward to the ministry’s multi-million-ringgit video lessons to materialize.
- 🤳 Effectiveness of PDPR? Realities of life & family income are a major factor. Nonetheless, government teachers have come up with plenty of unique solutions tailored to their own students. Private sector innovating with paid online tuition services, like MC+.
- 🙆 Autonomy for teachers? Yes, for it’s great potential. No, for examples of its misguided use.
- 😕 Why high-stakes standardized testing? Why does one test represent all of 11 years of schooling? Why can't we make every year count for something?

6. Notice some identities in the photo have been blurred out? Most of the teachers in the session asked for their names & faces to be excluded from any record of the session. I understand that higher-ups can take offense at the slightest indication that the session resulted in an unfavorable comment or difficult question by YB SS. 🙊

7. Hopefully, YB Dr Radzi is also doing his own consultations with major stakeholders like students, parents, & teachers. I know that this would be something that Dr Maszlee would be doing. He set the gold standard for listening to & empowering the person on the ground. Dear sir, I’m available if you’re interested. 😉

**Added 24/01/2021: YB Syed Saddiq tweeted a screen capture of this blog post! What an honor!

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