Niki Cheong blogging

I only took 9 subjects for SPM

And I think I’m doing pretty fine.

The whole people taking over 20 subjects for SPM thing for the past few years have irked me. Seriously, I can see no reason why anyone needs to take so many subjects other than to show off.

From stories we hear and articles we read, it’s already quite obvious that getting many As doesn’t guarantee a scholarship – probably the only thing that really bank on your SPM results.

So why the fuss now that the Government has put a cap on 10 subjects?

I woke up this morning to read an article in The Star where Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk S.K. Devamany said that students were being penalised by not being allowed to take more subjects.

In the same article, DAP MP Teresa Kok said it was “suppresion of their rights to knowlege and talent”. Wah, a bit kua cheong right?

Anyway, Ms Kok is allowed her own opinion lah, but I think Devamany needs to have more discussions with his colleagues. In the NST, also published today, Education director-general Datuk Alimuddin Mohd Dom said that from next year onwards, there will only be four core subjects for students to allow them to have more choices with electives (I prefer it this way – last time, I was forced to take subjects I wasn’t interested in or had not benefit to my career aspirations).

Devamany was quoted in the article saying that the 10-subject cap would limit students ability to take language and religious based subjects.

I really am for the 10-subject cap because I think that puts all students on an equal platform. I don’t know how fair it is to compare a student who does 28 subjects and say, 12 subjects when it comes to offering scholarships. Because if say each does well in all the subjects he/she is taking, then he or she is still a “straight As student”.

I think DPM and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin got it right also when he said that this will give chances to students to be more active in extra-curricular activities. People need to realise that school is not just an academic environment. Your progressive years are spent in school – surely there are other skills and talents to be honed.

Not only that, all this obsession with tens of As show that people are putting so much emphasis on results (as we all know). I wonder if these students, their parents and some teachers realise that academic achievement is not indiciation of intelligence and intellectual ability?

So I say, stick to the 10 subjects cap. Forget about Ms Kok’s theory that sutdents these days are smarter and as such will be able to do much better in exams and get more As.

Because if that really is the case – and I am being my usual cynical self – then I say change the syllabus and teach subjects at a higher level.

Besides, 90% of students take less than 10 subjects anyway (compulsory is 6).

1.50pm Malaysian time (+8 GMT)

Discussion (13)

There are 13 responses to “I only took 9 subjects for SPM”.

  1. I also took 9 subjects for my SPM! I applied for the Arts stream after PMR, and I don’t regret one bit that I didn’t suffer for two years on the Science subjects that I have no interest in.

    And yes I agree that students having more choices for electives is better than being forced to do subjects they don’t want.

  2. good post. i think moral studies is irrelevant as a exam. conducting classes is ok, but having an exam paper is unnecessary!

  3. during my time, i took all my study subjects plus music

  4. do you know the implication behind taking 10 subjects????
    chinese which known as hardest subject to score will be dropped by students when they want to choose between account/lukisan teknik and chinese!!!! ocbc didn’t care!

  5. well written, niki.

    just a point to ponder…is ms kok’s theory that students these days are smarter really true, or is it easier to score A’s now as compared to years back then?

  6. I am too with a 10 cap subject but I suggest, the students can go to the other classes as we are not trying to supress their intelligent.

    And maybe the sponsors need only to judge on how a student performs in the respective subjects and extra curricular activities rather than the whole 20As or more.

    Just my 2 cents.

  7. I think there’s a difference between people who wants to take more subjects and people wants to take scholarships who so happen to be taking more than 10 subjects…

    The objective of taking more than 10 is their own personal initiative however I don’t think by limiting or cap, it will or it can reflect equity per se..

    Technically one than can score 16As surely already has 10As in the bag, if purely comparing results standpoint to another whom just has 10As, wouldn’t it be easier to identify who is smarter ( Not qualification or how deserving of the scholarship )?

    Therefore… whatever issues there is that started the debate… still doesn’t have a solution by the “cap”…

  8. ai-ling: That’s a good point :)

    square: I think you’re right – but that would only work if the scholarships are not given out as general scholarships but instead based on academic interest. Therefore, for example, if one wants to do a science degree, there are certain science subjects that one should take and do well, and be judged on that. Instead of blanket – oh, 10A students all get scholarships. And like I said, other non-academic factors should also be considered.

    Freethinker: I see your point, but I think it works for the moment in a way to change the mindset. Students were not always allowed to take so many subjects – it was only in the last few years did this happen. So it created a mindset that academic achievement is everything. The point of school, I think, is to become wholesome students – it’s about studying in a holistic environment. Intellectual stimulation is what first degrees are for, and specialisation comes after that with post-graduate or with real life working experience.

  9. Trecia responded:

    · Reply

    I’m 16 years old now, and I disagree with the 10-subject cap. I’m in the science stream but I’ve been taking Accounts since I was in form 1, so am I suppose to drop the subject now and waste 3 1/2 years of education? No siree. The government should have just limit the subjects to the ones that are taught in public schools. eg, cooking and sewing should not be counted as a subject! They should have discuss this issue at the start of the year, not now, when us, students have studied so hard for the past 5 months for the subjects we planned to take next year.

  10. victoria responded:

    · Reply

    NO! SPM isnt even a relevant gauge to our academic abilities, considering that grading systems are so often lowered, as claimed.

    it’s pretty obvious really. the Govt needs to do more than just limit the subjects to really select scholarship recipients fairly.

  11. YZ responded:

    · Reply

    Seriously, I think that the government should give an early notice for this 10-subjects-cap. At least not to implement right away and affect this year’s form 4 students.

    I have a younger brother who is planning to take two extra subjects after taking Chinese language subject. And this cap really affects his batch a lot. Furthermore, my brother has been preparing and taking tuition for these subjects from the beginning of this year. Now, six months have passed and he has to stop studying these subjects. But he chose not to stop as he has interest in these subjects. That’s why he chose to walk the extra mile.

    I took 11 subjects last time because I came from a Chinese medium school besides that EST was compulsory for us too. That means I didn’t take extra subjects (from my school’s point of view).

    Only during my tertiary studies I realised that Economics is really an interesting subject. I was from Science stream and didn’t have much exposure to Economics.

    In a nutshell, if the purpose of taking more subjects is genuinely because of interest and exposure, the government shouldn’t cap the subjects at ten. At least give some space for students from Chinese or Tamil language medium schools, who are already having their mother toungue as their tenth subject.

  12. AhChui responded:

    · Reply

    Well, I agree with YZ. It’s really a bit too late for the the government to implement such thing. Instead of this year’s F4 students, why not next year’s F4 students?

    It’s good to cap the maximum subject, but not for everyone. Some may want to become English teachers and they need to take other subjects such as Literature in English maybe some who are interested to become accountants and wanted to take Principles of Accounting, especially those from Chinese school like me. So, I suggest the maximum should be 12, instead of 10. This will ensure the future of bright student.

    We shouldn’t be so closed-minded, thinking that all student must be equal. If some can do well, let them make full use of their potential. And only through this, the future of our country will be bright.

    Malaysia BOLEH!

  13. i believe that the cap should be allowed. wait… anyone know when its in effect?? im 16 now and i heard that it was going to take effect next year meaning my generation is going to be the last to see more than 10 subjects taken or will be the first?? reply me at arrifff@hotmail.com anyways i strongly agree seeing that the students taking more subjects has a higher chance of getting a scholarship whereas students at mrsm or any sekolah berasrama penuh who take only 10 will have a smaller chance. so its quite unfair really

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are bold.

Please copy the string nio3zd to the field below: