Ujian LINUS – Is our Education Ministry in touch with reality?

I am thankful my little boy who attended only one year of kindergarten turned out to be quite a brilliant kid. He can read English story books well and he has no problems with his Maths and Science.

However, being Chinese, he needs to learn from scratch all the Bahasa Melayu terms. Learning a language is not too difficult for children. But language is something either you take naturally like duck to water or you have to struggle a bit. I think it is an inborn thing in us. Either you have it or you need to struggle to learn.

School started oin January 4th 2010. In late February, the six years old and seven years old school children have to sit for their LINUS test on top of their monthly test.

LINUS test is like the litmus test to some. Eventhough I thought I am in the know of what’s happening in my kid’s school, I also missed the information. I didn’t know such test exists. I really don’t care because I dislike the idea of putting six years and seven years old boys to test how smart they are. Long time ago, my older boys only get segregated in Std. Two, after two exams. But three years ago, the Edu. Min. introduced the BM tests and all six/seven years old kids are segregated within the first few months of primary school.


Just before Chinese New Year holidays, my boy brought home a piece of printed paper with their test schedule. But, before the monthly test was over, my boy insisted and argued with me that he has more tests the following week. I kept telling him that the printed paper said only three days. He wrote the extra days later on.

True enough, he came back from school one day and told me, “Today test I must read and answer questions.” The first one is Maths where they have to re-arrange some numbers, read zero to ten and say whether it is a bigger or smaller number. This is in English. And for the Bahasa Melayu, he has to read a passage and then, answer some questions verbally.

Wow, six years old having to do oral tests? For real? My boy reads BM with an Ingrish slang, so how to answer? For him, it is still manageable as he has quite a good foundation at his Tadika JG. But for those students in Chinese and Tamil schools where the parents are not fluent in either English and Bahasa Melayu, can you imagine how the kids cope?

Personally, I think our Education Minister is out of touch with the children. Do they even know what six and seven years old kids are capable of? Must they put these little boys and girls through such a test to filter them? Can’t they wait for at least six months or even better a year to do so? Imagine a six years old kid being given the impression that he is dumb just because he hasn’t have time to command the two languages?

This is why some Chinese parents tend to whisper the conspiracy that our Gov. purposely put the children through such tests to remove the cream. It is public knowledge. But how many dare to actually bring the issue up? No one. I for one will not put my head out simply because it is a losing battle.

So, looks like our children are going to be given the bad news that they are stupid simply because they haven’t have time to have better command of languages. This of course will lead to even more tuition for some children.

Today, many parents were outside the school compound complaining how their kids have been singled out because they did badly in the Linus test. These children are bright students with good Maths and Science but one surprise test like that probably killed off their enthusiasm and self-confidence.

I told my boy about the article in the Star which is a piece of news featured in Sin Chew. (link here, second story, after Jack Neo)

I asked my boy’s class teacher if the children are going to be sent to different classes according to their ‘achievement’ in this Linus test. She said the school has not confirm yet. I don’t really care. My boy is only seven years old.

13 thoughts on “Ujian LINUS – Is our Education Ministry in touch with reality?

  1. I took a glance on the Chinese newspaper wrote about linus and show the linus paper : SJK school passing rates? 30-40%. OTH, SRJK only with 20% passing rate.

    Some of the question make me laugh, it seems MOE setup the linus just to FAIL the children. e.g. question
    – (pic 1- fish, pic 2 – 2 man playing soccer) Now write a sentence base on each picture. No hint, nothing, just 3 blank line below each picture.

    – Tons of question testing the children bahasa vocabulary. If Bahasa not their first language , they will fail. And some word scramble question as well, the best things is, if the children haven’t learn how to assemble the word, even they fluent in bahasa, they will fail too.

  2. ur boy soooooo cute la..
    Haih, nowadays kindergarten also have exams every sem (That is 3 sem in a year). You should see how the parents argue with the teachers to get 1/2 or 1 mark so that their child can top the class.. lolz..

  3. Our education system is screwed up and they are screwing it up further. They keep making changes so often. As parents, we must speak up and one avenue is through the PIBG. I know many parents just want to keep quiet and don’t want to make things difficult. But this is the problem. We are just too nice and let the rot continues. Read today’s NST. A parent wrote that maths is already being taught in BM but the book is still in english. Many parents feel that there is no hope that the government will change the decision to stop teaching of science and maths in english. But I do not. Whatever little or no hope, has given me more hope to convince the government to reconsider the decision. I do really hope that schools will be given the option to continue teaching science and maths in english. For those who want the two subjects to be in BM, then let them have it. Question is how many parents are prepared to bring up issues via the PIBG. As parents, let’s not suffer in silence and have our children becomes victims of the system

  4. I think pushing kids into an exam-based system this early is a HORRIBLE idea. It creates so much stress and misery among young children, and everybody knows you make stupid mistakes when you’re kancheong. More developed countries like the US recognize that testing is not the best or only way to evaluate the intelligence and hard work of a child, so their final marks at the end of semesters/school years also include homework and projects.

    In theory I guess the idea is to identify kids who score lower on this LINUS in order to give them extra help, but knowing the poor attitude of many public school teachers, what will probably happen is that the low scorers will just be labelled “stupid” or “bad” kids and be treated worse from the beginning.

    Malaysians can “ooh” and “aah” and “that’s so inspirational” about movies based on true stories of American teachers helping inner-city kids reach for a better life…but fail to demand AND reward (pay peanuts, get monkeys) the same kind of fairness from our public education system.

    Btw, I am not speaking in a spirit of “sour grapes” since I did surprisingly well on the SPM despite being lazy and rebellious in school… Which goes to show that exams are a bad way of evaluating high-performing students also! To use some scientific jargon, the SPM is “saturated”. That means the cut-off for As is so low now that large numbers of students are gettings straight As, rendering it useless for differentiating between the smarter students. According to my old Add Maths teacher, in his time, to get 9 As meant that you were literally a genius. Now 9As are expected from students in the “top” classes…and you get all these chow muggers who take 17 or 18 papers.

    What language is used as the medium of instruction is another story. At 6 or 7, kids do pick up languages fast, so if English was taught properly there shouldn’t be a problem (it’s not taught properly either, and that’s another issue). In my parents’ time everything was in English what… The biggest problem with PPSMI is that the curriculum was merely translated and not improved, so it was a huge waste of time and money. If you paint a blue Proton red, it’s still a Proton, not a Ferrari.

  5. but then when i was going into primary one (20 years ago?!) i also had to take a test to segregate us into classes by ranking. i ended up in the second last class, and i remember thinking myself as stupid compared to my peers for a long long time.

    situations have not improved much since huh.

  6. there’s a spelling mistake in the word ‘februari’ for wednesday. wonder if they’re teaching the kids the right thing in the first place? lol. hope you little one does well!

  7. ok, harap parents smua faham pasal LINUS ni.. aku ni sorg guru juga. so mcm ni la, utk pengetahuan smua ibubapa, LINUS ni bukan utk mbezakan saper pandai or tak pandai. ianya utk menapis sesiapa yg pguasaannya dlm Bm dan Math belum tercapai pada aras yg ditetapkan.
    Ujian ini dijalankan 3 kali setahun dan ianya secara myeluruh kepada smua murid di Malaysia tanpa mgira kaum dan agama.
    bagi yg tak mguasai, mereka akan diajar menggunakan modul yg bersesuaian agar mereka dpt menguasai subjek dgn lebih berkesan. sekiranya murid2 ini mmg baik, mereka pasti dpt melepasi saringan kedua(Jun) dan ketiga(Sept) yg akan diadakan nnt. masa tu la mereka akan dimasukkan ke kelas perdana. tujuan utama LINUS ni adalah untuk mengelakkan mana2 murid diMalaysia daripada tercicir dari menguasai 3M. senario murid sekarang amat kritikal. hanya 6 murid daripada 33 murid disekolah saya yg melepasi ujian LINUS ni. dan saya dapati ianya memudahkan pihak sekolah utk mengenalpasti murid2 ini dan dibahagian manakah murid tersebut lemah. bukankah ianya sesuatu yg menggembirakan apabila pihak sekolah tahu anak kita lemah di bahagian mana?? so guru2 boleh fokus yg mana nak ditekankan kepada murid tersebut.

    Ujian LINUS ini akan berterusan sehinggalah mereka ke tahun 3 nnt. so, apabila murid dh masuk tahun 4, tiada masalah mguasai 3M dah. ok, harap smua puas hati dan sekiranya tdapat soalan, direct email me: lie_immortal@yahoo.com.


  8. I’m a malay and we (my family) speaks dual language i.e. english and BM. Since previously our govt make it compulsory for maths and science to be teach in english, I have enrolled my son to international kindergarten with an aimed ensuring him mastering the englsih communication. However, our no decision education minister or dept revert back to BM and the best is to introduce a test, i mean LINUS in BM although with a translate in english, my son having difficulties in answering the questions. In actual fact he can read, write, do a simple maths (plus, minus) but not able to answer the questions. He has problem to understand the question since the teacher directing in BM and he’ll try to translate it to english. I know teachers will back up this as they surely will have to support the employer but my point is if the 6/7 years old kids already can read, write and do a simple math I would say it already acceptable for that kind of standard. The aimed just to ensure by year 4 they already have full 3M. But that when you reach year 4 and not after 2 months at school! FYI, I’m 35 years old and I’m born in small kampung in Kedah. Never attended kindergarten due to my family income but i managed to completed my quran reading before i enter std 1. I do not what is ABC or 123 and of course can not read or write at all. For this I have to gave credit to my kampung teachers that have ensured all of us have the required 3M knowledges. No tuition etc,etc as compared to now especially in KL where I believed most teachers providing tuitions (maybe govt gave low salary) and I have became the best student in my school Penilian Darjah 5 plus representing my school in many academic competitions till state level. Now I believed I’m better of if want to compared with city kids that have many available infras.
    My point is when I enter std 1, i do not have any basic knowledge at all and the school never separate me from the others as by doing this you’ll be feeling like a loser! If my son fail and refused to go to school because need to be put at separate class i’ll sue the school as well as the minister! Pls do not keep on continues with rubbish ideas in school and pls get endorsement from parents and not from PIBG since this PIBG being controlled teachers!

  9. My daughter came back with a piece of brown paper from school today, and at first thought, I was thinking probably another piece of info abt something from school. To my surprise, it was a damning piece of news stating that my kid has no grasp on reading and counting as in, here I quote ‘tidak menguasai Literasi (membaca & menulis) and Numerasi (mengira)’. What a load of bull! And I read this piece of nonsensical result after watching her complete her Mathematics homework all on her own and all I did was just to check if she did them correctly! Because of this damning test, my kid had to be relegated/segregated to the ‘rehabilitation class’. What is this? The school did make some explanation on Linus on orientation day, but it’s totally unfair to do that test a month plus after that they started Std.1. We speak English and Cantonese at home, and English being the dominant language for daughter and she could very well read in English AND understand what she’s reading and I cld say that Maths is probably her stronger subject. But this damning test is telling me that my daughter knows naught! And all because of what? All because the language of instruction is in BM. How do you expect a 6/7 yr old kid who does not speak nor understand BM yet when she entered Std. 1 to do a test in BM within the very 1-2 mths of school and then using that very test as the basis to judge their level of competency? That is damning! My reaction was guilt! Self-guilt! I started questioning if I have done too little to help her,was it because of my beliefs that has now landed her in such an unfair situation, how was I to tell her that some of her friends are going to a different class bcos that damning piece of paper says she’s not competent, how would that make her feel? I have nothing against the language, mind you, and in fact, I want her to learn it and learn it well, and I am happy when she’s home and she starts chatting to me in BM and learning to speak the language. But the test was just not necessary at this stage, if you ask me. At least, give them a chance to learn it and master the language before putting them to test, then the test is qualified. And what I’ve learned from Glenn Doman, tests defeats the very purpose of learning and the joy in learning which is much more that just knowing alphabets and numbers. I am so glad to read your post and knowing that I am not the only out here fuming! Thanks!

  10. so, once again the politicians are playing pygmalion with our kids education, by making children and parents suffer thru all these test and programs. come to think of it, during my time there were no such cumbersome tests,and we all turn out well. so, is the education system or the children needed revamping? or maybe there’s nothing wrong to begin with.

  11. Kalau u all rasa benda nie menyusahkan anak u all, baik tak yah hantar anak ke sekolah. kalau u all rasa u all pandai sngt kenapa u sendiri tak ajar anak. kenapa hantar kat guru di sekolah juga? (sebab menidakkan hak kanak2 berumur 7 tahun untuk bersekolah?) Kalau dh mmg tak suka cara moe kenapa tak hantar je anak kat sekolah private.

    ni la manusia zaman sekarang, mcm2 nk komplen dari buku teks, yuran, ppsmi dan skg linus. Ada je yang tak puas hati.. nak salahkan moe la, sekolah la..guru la..

    I as a parent setuju dgn linus bcoz teacher acknowledge lebih awal yang mana perlu diberi perhatian. Sedarlah yg sebelum nie pun siapa yang ajar u baca dan mengira kalau bukan guru? siapa yang sediakan prasarana sekolah kalau bkn moe? cuba la fikir pasal tu semua.. jgn asyik nak komplen. mungkin sebab skrg ni u all dh berjawatan besar….???

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