Teachers join in protest against Malaysia's school-based assessment system

BANGI, Malaysia - A group of teachers showed up at a rally to protest against the school-based assessment system (PBS) with many saying they were not afraid of the repercussion of joining in the protest.

Two of the rally leaders had been "punished'' recently for joining in the event organised by Suara Guru-Masyarakat Malaysia (SGMM).

SGMM working committee head Mohd Nor Izzat Mohd Johari claimed he was given a transfer order to a school 80km from his current base while English teacher Mokhtar Razak Badri claimed he was sacked in a letter sent to him on Feb 6.

Left with no avenue to voice their objection against the controversial system, a teacher who showed up yesterday described his situation as "being at the end of the road".

Mohd Nor Izzat said he had exhausted all avenues to complain about the PBS before deciding to confront the Education Ministry openly.

"It's not that we have not tried speaking to the ministry, complaints have been filed at the online PBS application system and we have met with (Second Education Minister) Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh but they have refused to listen to our reasoning," said Mohd Nor Izzat.

On Friday, Mohd Nor Izzat, an Arts teacher from Pahang, was served with the notice of transfer with immediate effect.

"We have waited for three years since PBS was first implemented. Yet (another problem is) the online PBS application system is still running at a very slow speed," he said.

The PBS system was introduced in primary schools, starting with Year One pupils in 2011 and in secondary schools with Form One students in 2012.

He said although teachers lamented that they had to provide many "evidence" data of their students' learning outcome while keying into the PBS system, the ministry only promised to reduce the number of evidence data required.

"But it failed to look at the possibility of doing away with the requirement to submit the evidence," said Mohd Nor Izzat.

"NUTP has done nothing to fight for teachers who are burdened by the PBS system. How can they claim that we are an unrecognised group when we have been invited to a meeting with the ministry last year?" he asked.

The protest ended with a resolution to call for the abolishment of the PBS system with a five-point memorandum dubbed the "Bangi Declaration" that SGMM wanted to submit to the ministry and Parliament.