The following is from a Facebook post by Amir Faizal whose English is a pleasure to read.
Our latest 2022 PISA scores (released in December 2023) are actually quite depressing.
Of the 81 countries that participated in PISA, we ranked at the bottom 35% in Math (Fig 1), the bottom 27% in Reading (Fig 2), and at the bottom 37% in Science (Fig 3).
Taking participating ASEAN countries as a benchmark, we are below the ASEAN average in Math, Reading, and Science.
However, people in the ministry seem to suggest that the decline is mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Fig 5).
While the pandemic is certainly partly to be blamed, the reality is that we have been on the decline since 2015 (Fig 6). So, our dwindling PISA performance is not really a recent phenomenon.
In fact, compared to all the other countries that had participated in the 2018 and 2022 rankings, we recorded among the top 10 worst/largest drop in PISA scores for Math (Fig 7), Reading (Fig 8), and Science (Fig 9) literacy.
I really don’t understand why people are not more worried about this.
I know I sound like a broken record when I keep sounding the alarm, but I will say it again nonetheless: the surest way to destroy a nation is by ruining its education system.
But will anyone listen?
I then commented as follows:
You wrote: 'But will anyone listen?' I will. I am not a trained teacher and in 2004 I was persuaded to teach a kid to read. He had gone to school for 2 years and was unable to read a single sentence. I decided to research and taught more than 80 similar kids from 2004 to 2019. By 2017 I was confident that the existing theory at that time that phonological awareness deficit was the cause of dyslexia was incorrect. I wrote more than 100 articles and comments from 2010 until that theory was debunked in 2017. My name is in 3 scholarly articles about this, which you may read by Googling. LINK
The obvious follow-up question, Amir Faizal Abdul Manan is, if Phonological Awareness Deficit is not the cause then what is the cause of dyslexia? Would you like to discuss this?
Amir Faizal Abdul Manan had earlier commented the following:
Darrel Webber, You know me well enough that I am sure you can guess what’s on my wish list, but the bigger question is, though, would you rather that we sweep this under the carpet and not talk about it at all? Unfortunately, this seems to be the preferred approach today, to simply ignore the elephant in the room. If we are to have any chance of affecting a positive change at all, it is more likely to happen in a democracy than under any other regime. Hence, the need to democratise the discourse, dialogue, and debate.
We should not underestimate the power of planting a seed.
Wow! That is music to my ears. I thought that there is one guy who meant business and commented as follows:
Amir Faizal Abdul Manan I agree with the power of planting a seed. But in Malaysia, it is like the parable of the sower - almost all the seeds I plant fall on the rock and do not grow. My work is accepted elsewhere. You will note my name on the acknowledgment pages of both of Dr. David Kilpatrick's books. You will note my name on page 109 of the Tennessee Foundational Skills supplement but several of our past and current Education Ministers do not even acknowledge receipt of emails sent to them. I am willing to debate this matter openly with anyone interested. Why is Singapore number 1 in the PISA tests each and every year while Malaysia looks for excuses such as Covid-19 as if we were the only ones affected by it?
There was no response from Amir Faizal just as in the case of Anuar Ahmad from University Kebangsaan Malaysia and Maszlee Malik our previous education minister who incidentally shared the above post and made the following comment on Amir Faizal’s post:
Dr Maszlee Malik: Something to ponder…
I wonder for how long he will keep pondering instead of saying anything that may reduce illiteracy.