PETALING JAYA: Teachers are allegedly being forced under the current school-based assessment system to provide better grades to students just to meet key performance indicators (KPI) for themselves and the school, said academician Prof Dr Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi.

He added that many teachers were feeling pressured as they had to ensure their students receive good grades despite poor access to internet facilities and other educational tools that affect those in rural areas.

“Some teachers do not care which locality the students are from, what they need and lack, or how to improve their learning (conditions). All they want to know is whether the students can sit for the examination and achieve good grades under the school-based assessment system.

“Such an attitude epitomises the culture of meeting KPI set by the school and Education Ministry. The schools do not care how teachers are going to maintain their KPI as they only want to see numbers and great results,” he told theSun.

However, Tajuddin said some teachers were creative in teaching their students so they can comprehend the concepts of particular subjects, instead of memorising key points. These teachers are doing the right thing by being creative.

“Also, we lack quality teachers in schools, as some of them are from unconventional backgrounds, such as those with engineering degrees being trained to teach chemistry. It is vital to ensure our students are taught by those who have a passion for teaching,” he said.

A Mara Junior Science College (MRSM) English teacher, who requested anonymity, said the marking for English language essays was done strictly following grading guidelines.

“We did not discuss if we should be more lenient or strict in grading students from rural areas compared with those in cities. But we have vetting sessions to ensure everyone marks the papers with similar standards.

“In my opinion, the current grading guideline is sufficient for teachers. Also, the new examination format is very helpful for students too,” she said, adding that she did not feel any pressure to pass her students or meet her KPI.

She said for MRSM teachers, Mara has been providing clear KPI to follow in marking examination papers.

“I feel this is necessary because it sets clear goals on what to achieve every year. However, I think the KPI and grades can be manipulated, but I have not seen it in practice. At least, not yet.”

Meanwhile, National Union of the Teaching Profession secretary-general Wang Heng Suan denied that teachers were being pressured to give students passing grades, adding that there is a difference in the KPI of schools in rural and urban areas.

He said KPI in rural schools are much lower than those applied at city schools because of the number of students and teachers there.

“The ministry and district education office set the standards based on locations. For example, in rural areas, not many receive straight As in their examinations and obviously, schools in cities have many students. Hence, there is a difference in the grading margin.

“The only problem that teachers face at the moment is to make parents understand that we are now practising the school-based assessment system, and that teachers are professionals who apply the assessments based on their students’ performance,” he added.