Malaysian students call for review of hectic ‘Squid Game’ exam timetable

Malaysian students sitting for their exams. Photo: Lan Rasso
Malaysian students sitting for their exams. Photo: Lan Rasso

Malaysian students are urging the Ministry of Education to loosen up the year-end exam schedule by taking out weekend papers and staggering the dates for core subjects. 

Graduating high school students across Malaysia have been rallying online for changes to be made to the “insane” timetable comprising exams on Sundays and back-to-back papers for main subjects like English, History, Mathematics, and Islamic Studies. More than 20,000 people have signed an online petition

“This timetable….is insane!! They really have no mercy on students huh. SPM on a Sunday even???? Wtff #UbahJadualSPM (Change SPM Schedule),” Twitter user Fl0ffytae wrote Saturday. Many have been using the hashtag #UbahJadualSPM to create online awareness. 

The SPM schedule from Mar. 7 to 11 2022 shows core papers back-to-back

SPM is the acronym referring to the Malaysia Certificate of Education.

Exams have been scheduled to take place for two-and-a-half weeks, from Mar. 2 to 20, which is much shorter than previously, when exams usually go on for a month and happen only on weekdays. The latest timetable also includes examinations on Fridays, which is considered a weekend for some states like Kelantan, Kedah, and Terengganu. 

“What is up with the Sunday papers???” another Twitter user Amandaamryy asked.

Member of Parliament Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, who is also a popular youth advocate, weighed in on the matter yesterday, expressing his concerns about putting excessive stress on students by making them do exams consecutively.

“Plus, the lockdowns have affected those without internet access, they are unable to participate in online learning. Please reconsider the SPM schedule. Give them some gap for the core papers. This is the only chance they have before the next phase in life,” he said in an online statement. 

Petitioners calling on the ministry to adjust the exam schedule have turned to the famed South Korean thriller to illustrate how unfair it purportedly is. 

“The 2022 SPM schedule is too hectic. It is not kind to students, parents, and teachers… On one end we are advocating for mental health and at the same time, we have our very own Malaysian Squid Game SPM schedule. Have mercy and be kind, please,” the petition page said. It was created by a Malaysian only known as Anora AH.

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