Sunday, August 31, 2014

Two Years On... Still On CPT

Two years ago, I wrote about having to sit for the Cambridge Placement Test (CPT). And the results were finally released to the teachers. I happened to walk into the Staff Room a couple of days ago and my KP congratulated me and passed me a set of forms to be filled in. Apparently there was a one off incentive given to the teachers who passed the CPT with a C1 or C2. I had no inkling of what she was talking about as I had forgotten about the exam. I wasn't even sure whether I sat for it.

Anyway, a colleague sent me the website to check my status, which I did. And my name appeared. It is strange that we needed 2 years to process a set of results. And during those 2 years, many teachers had already been asked to attend the APTIS course which is kinda like a remedial... they have a nicer sounding term. They call it upskilling.

The MOE took away our Critical Allowance last year. The PPSMI was supposed to continue till 2018... (I might have the year wrong) and the Critical Allowance was supposed to be till then. But I supposed, with most schools teaching Maths and Science in BM, it was only logical that the allowance be taken away. One of the reasons for the failure of PPSMI I still believe is the lack of teachers skilled enough in English... If a teacher cannot convey a lesson across effectively due to the lack of language, that is already problem enough.

If the CPT results are anything to go by, they point too, to (in)competency problems among the English teachers. Results were dismal, I read. And where I am, I think it's a real problem too. Grades for CPT are C2 (Mastery; 90-100), C1 (Effective Proficiency; 75-89), B2 (Vantage; 60-74),  B1 (Threshold; 40-59), A2 (Waystage, 20-39), A1 (Breakthrough; 10-19) and Pre A1 (0-9).

From among those I know, there were some C1(s) and fewer C2(s). And from the C2 group, many of them had retired. We keep saying that our education system is world class... if it is so, then there should be a big group of C2(s) and even bigger group of C1(s). Yet it is heavily skewed towards the B(s) and A(s). But like the proverbial frog under the coconut shell who has only a narrow view of one spot of blue sky, we believe that all is well.

This Merdeka Day... while many adverts keep heaping praises on our diversity, yet when you go out onto the streets... the Merdeka spirit seems kinda lacking. Fewer flags seem to be flown, the air of Merdeka-ness just doesn't seem to be in the air... It feels kinda dampened. I think many are weighed down by many things... being squeezed by rising costs, GST looms ahead... But I think too, it is hard to build a Malaysian race when so many policies around us still divide us by ethnicity. What has that to do with the CPT results? Well... the CPT result is an indication too at a nation blinding itself to our skewed values which has brought us where we are.

Well, maybe that's just me feeling it.

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