Ideas: Positive school findings but reality is extremely worrying

PETALING JAYA - A nationwide study by the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) has shown that about 90 per cent of parents feel the schools are effectively run by the Government and that teachers know their subjects very well.

The study was conducted between August and November this year, and involved 1,200 households with 40 per cent of parents living below the poverty line.

The results shows that vast majority of parents are happy with the schools their children are now attending, and they trusted the government in providing good education.

However, Ideas CEO Wan Saiful Wan Jan said in a statement that although it appears to be a positive finding, the reality behind it is extremely worrying.

"The recently released Pisa scores also show that our education system is at crisis point, with the performance of our 15-year-olds languishing far behind other less developed nations such as Vietnam," he said in response to the recently released the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) scores for 2012.

In the Pisa 2012 results, Malaysia was ranked 52 out of 65 countries, with local students scoring below the global average in mathematics, reading and science.

Pisa is administered by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) every three years on 15-year-olds in both OECD and non-OECD countries, and offers students questions in the main language of instruction in their respective countries.

Wan Saiful said that the Ideas survey indicates how wide the gap actually was between the perception and reality of our education system.

"These parents seem to have a very positive perception about our schools, whereas when the products of these schools, the students, are assessed internationally, the findings are near disastrous," he added.

"We urge more people to get into this important debate and demand for immediate and real improvements. There are too many illusions of reform created by the various announcements by the Govern-ment.

"If we really want to safeguard the future of our children, we must make sure our perception is as close as possible to reality," he said.