Skip to content

Education 101: Do Extra SPM Papers Required To Be Top Student?

education students SPM

(SPM students with their results but is doing more subjects for the exams makes the student brilliant than others? Image source:

The Headlines

First, read these Malaysiakini news snippets:-

Sometimes I truly don’t understand some people and their true intentions especially when one is having politicians in the picture…

QUIT! NGOs tell MIC, MCA, Gerakan ministers – The NGOs are peeved with their failure to speak up in the interest of the Chinese and Indian communities over the SPM controversy.

Let PM resolve SPM ruling controversyMIC president S Samy Vellu has asked all parties disputing the Education Ministry’s latest SPM ruling to give time to the prime minister to resolve it.

Vernacular examination not acceptable, says Dr Subra – The MIC vice-president says he is not agreeable to the suggestion by the Education Ministry that schools conduct their own vernacular examinations for SPM students.

Quit! DCM tells ‘deaf’ Education DG – Continuing to see red over the ’10 subject’ cap for SPM, Penang’s P Ramasamy accuses Alimuddin of not listening to the people.

Rally against 10-subject cap for SPM – About 30 Indian-based NGOs will hold a rally on Dec 12 in protest against the government’s decision to cap the maximum number of SPM subjects at 10.

After several years in the making and general complaining, the Government have finally made the right move of restricting the number of subjects that student can take for SPM to 10 (or is it now 12 after some selfish quarters had made noise?).

Hopefully with this, gone the days when we see students with 18As or 20As for SPM who then have a tough time getting seats in the local universities or unable to capitalise effectively on their hard-earned exam papers.

Don’t get me wrong but forcing students to go all out to sit for all available SPM papers under the sun does not necessarily make brilliant students in the end. In some cases, they may end nothing but ‘great memorisers’ or stressed out geeks.

The core subjects are already been covered namely Bahasa Melayu, English, Islamic Education or Moral Studies, History, Mathematics and Science. The students have another 6 papers for other subjects.

Students Point of View

Saying that one got 18As or 16As for SPM may look like that they are some ‘super whiz kid’ for some and seem to be a good excuse to be boasting around for some parents but is it really worth it?

Nut Graph posed this question:-

Why do SPM students take so many subjects? – Quest for knowledge or a race to obtain more straight As?

Would a student with 10As be any dumber compared to the students with 20As?

What about their co-curriculum activities?

What about their outlook on society and the country as a whole?

Would anyone care to answer?

(Exams can be very stressful and why need to add with more exam papers – image source:

Think of the stress and available time for revisions and learning of the subjects to be examined in SPM. Shouldn’t students be allowed to spend quality time on other things than just studying to sit for SPM and getting As which may worth nothing but a measure to gain into local universities?

Tamil School Point of View

It is rather strange to see an all-out fight for Tamil papers for SPM. No, it is not strange but rather laughable. It is nothing but very political in nature.

At the moment, especially for MIC, Pakatan Rakyat politicians and those “30 Indian based NGOs”, there are more pressing issues than just worrying of having Tamil as one of the subjects for SPM exams.

If you think about it, which is better for Tamil school students sitting for SPM – better school and facilities or more exam papers for Tamil?

(Classes are done in the school canteen and without proper chairs and tables – Image source: Malaysian Tamil Schools Blog)

For years, despite MIC gung-ho participation in Tamil schools administration (including one where the land designated for school was rumoured to be under the President’s name), quite a number of schools are still in a sorry state – some with lack of facilities and space for students (remember classes held in canteen or cargo container or in some shop lot?).

Instead of shouting for one more paper for SPM, the politicians and NGOs should be shouting out for better facilities and teaching access. There is no lack of brilliant students wanting to learn and better themselves with a good education. This is despite the sorry state of their schools and the financial standing of their families.

Read this post that states the current sorry state of Tamil schools:-

There were about 10 students who are having transport problem coming to the school. Actually most of the students are from surrounding the estate.

One girl from standard 4, Thevadharshini who has other 6 siblings, whose alcoholic father had deserted them, was about to drop out of the school. Her mother had send the elder brother to a welfare home. Quick intervention from the Headmaster managed to keep her in school.

Everyday a teacher picks the girl up and drives her to the school and drops her back on the way home. I went through Thevadharshini’s records and she has scored nothing less then 90% in most of the subjects.

Throughout the 4 years, she has done well in the school.

(Source: Malaysian Tamil Schools Blog)

There are still many students especially in the estate located schools who do not have proper learning facilities, uniforms, transportation and meals. With almost everyone jumping to be IT savvy, there is a clear need for computers for the Tamil schools

Last Words

During my time, the number of papers that we sat for in SPM was definitely less than 12 papers and despite higher passing marks and better quality of syllabus, many of us did not end up in the slums. Not doing more than 12 papers for SPM was not the end of the world for us back then and it still should be so for the current generation of students.

Let’s strive for quality instead of quantity for SPM and all exams at the national level. Get a better learning environment for our students. Times are changing – learning not necessary have to be endorsed in exam papers.

With the advent of technology and many sources of information readily available at one’s fingertips, are we still going to decide the fate of our students on the number of papers that they sit for?

It is also time to revamp the whole education system in favour of common schools for all students.

Read Also

How many As are too many?

Our Tamil School Charity Plan – The Story

1 thought on “Education 101: Do Extra SPM Papers Required To Be Top Student?”

  1. The fact that taking 10As or 20As doesn’t matter when the quota system is still in effect. What’s the point when sometimes students with 2As is being accepted for a scholarship in UK while a 12As student is denied entry into local matriculation?

    Will getting another paper to do Tamil or Mandarin or Cantonese make a difference? As it is now, having a A1 on your Tamil paper doesn’t provide much weight while applying for tertiary studies.

    Does having a Tamil paper ensure the continuity of the Tamil language? Bullshit.

    What they should be fighting for, is to make it compulsory to learn the language (or any other as the 3rd language) from primary school. This would ensure continuity. Achieving A1 doesn’t prove shit. The Tamil culture will not fall because of the Tamil language being omitted from public examinations. When they should be responsible for long term plans to ensure survival of culture, they are instead bullshitting around the less-educated folks trying to champion something. Something which I have yet to know what it is.

Please Leave Your Thoughts on the Post

Discover more from BJ - Thoughts

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading