Fadhlina: Closure of schools during pandemic caused drop in PISA scores

EDUCATION Minister Fadhlina Sidek said the country’s extended closure of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic was what caused the drop in Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) scores.

According to Fadhlina, despite many countries facing the impact of the pandemic, the Malaysian government’s initiatives had set the nation apart in terms of how it dealt with the issue.

“The way issues such as internet, devices, and children’s access to education were handled – including the decision to close schools for a longer period – set us apart from other countries and had an impact on education results and our children,” she said.

“We cannot wait for PISA scores to be released before we start making plans. I don’t think that is what we are doing in the (Education) Ministry.”

Fadhlina was speaking on the “Suara Anak Madani” programme with Shamsul Iskandar Akin last night (Jan 25).

The Nibong Tebal MP further stressed that the implementation of programmes to strengthen literacy and numeracy is the priority right now.

“We must remobilise in terms of access to education, look at the dropout rates, see which states have achieved zero dropout rates, and so on,” she said.

“We are also launching a digital education policy, which is our focus with regards to the development of the nation’s direction. We cannot compromise on this. Whatever happens, our children cannot be left behind given this policy.”

The latest PISA scores indicated that Malaysians 15-years-old scored 409 in Mathematics, which is down from 440 previously, and 416 in Science, down from 438 in 2018. Meanwhile, in reading, Malaysians scored 388, down from 415.

FMT reported that only 1.2% of Malaysian students were excellent at Mathematics, and only 0.5% were good at Science. Less than half, or just 42%, were good at reading.

PISA is a study used to gauge the readiness of 15-year-olds receiving formal education to seamlessly adapt to contemporary society, with the assessment held from April 17 to May 31, 2022 across 199 schools, including private institutions. – Jan 26, 2024


Main pic credit: Utusan Malaysia

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