KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4, 2014:

Teresa Kok has urged the Education Ministry to scrutinise its system after a deputy minister highlighted a top scorer’s failure to gain entry into a university following an unsuccessful oral interview.

Citing a media report today, which quoted Deputy Education Minister Datuk Mary Yap revealing that many top students had experienced this, the DAP national vice-chairman wondered whether there were serious flaws in the system.

The Seputeh lawmaker said that Yap had claimed of a case where a 10As scorer who applied for an A Levels scholarship could not even name the Prime Minister in the oral interview.

Kok, in a statement, also called on the Education Ministry to be more transparent and reveal more details on how applicants had failed in their interviews, rather than citing an extreme and isolated case, if it wanted the public and students to accept the explanation.

“If many top scorers have failed their oral interviews just like the case cited by Yap, it is obvious that the student is a mere bookworm, then the ministry must look into the bigger question of the weakness that exists in our education system — why is it producing top scorers who are bookworms?”

Again quoting Yap, who had said that oral interviews were a very important part of the selection process and advised applicants to be well prepared for interview, Kok said that top students failing to gain admission into their preferred courses at public universities has been a perennial issue.

Although the poor oral interview performance has always been cited by the authorities as a reason for this phenomenon, Kok pointed out there had always been much public scepticism over such explanations.

“Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has said before about improving our education system and raising it to world-class standards.

“How can this be achieved if many of our top scorers lack the basic general knowledge to do well in oral interviews?”

Kok added Malaysia’s education weakness was not confined to just the secondary school level.

She said that sufficient quality human power was necessary for a developed nation and the government must therefore ensure that the weaknesses in the country’s education system, at both the secondary school and university levels, were effectively addressed and resolved.

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