Students reflect on matriculation exam and their future


Matriculation (high school) exam results for the 2016-17 academic year have been released. Many in Myanmar assume that the matriculation exam is a turning point for youths in their future life. However, today’s youths no longer wish to walk the old path – just to pass the matriculation exam, to attain a degree, to get a job and then work on to success.

Photos : Supplied

Ye Lin Oo 

(external student, Basic Education High School 1, Thandwe township, Rakhine State)

I feel I’ve got a certificate that will pave the way for me to get a job. I feel confident now as I have attained social acceptance. Some jobs require only those who passed the matriculation exam, so I tried to pass it. But I think, there’s no direct connection between passing matriculation and being successful in life.

I’m trying to find a job, and attend distance education on my own. This way, I would get experience from the outside world. I will establish my own business when I have saved enough money. I had this idea for a long time. Depending on the marks I obtained, I can easily attend a government technological college. However, I have decided to attend the University of Distance Education.

For the sake of students, universities should be situated far from liquor shops, illegal small private dating bedrooms and gambling dens. I want students to be provided with facilities — such as libraries, books and computers. Universities should be situated near gyms, pagodas and restaurants where they don’t sell alcohol. At present, universities are situated near liquor shops and not libraries and gyms.



Thura Kyaw

(Basic Education High School 1, Mayangone township, Yangon)

To prepare for the exam, I studied my lessons steadily. My family encouraged me and motivated me. I studied three or four hours a day. People say that students can become abnormal if they try so hard. I felt a bit scared on the English examination day, but I knew I could answer beyond the pass mark.

I didn’t get the marks that I had expected. I want to give suggestion to those who are going to sit for the matriculation exam next year to study hard so that they will get high marks and not just a passing grade. Although I am happy I passed the exam, I am sad because I am not able to attend the university that I wished to go.

Although we don’t have to attend 12 grades, but only 10, I think I’m quite matured. But it would be better if students have to study until Grade 12. Government exam system should be introduced starting from Grade 10.

I do not like the education system that passes all students in exams from kindergarten to ninth standard. I want students to have a firm foundation in education. Students should be taught all lessons from a prescribed subject text, and not only selected ones. I chose the lessons that I wanted to study when I was in the tenth standard.

Kyai Zin Lin

(Basic Education High School 1, Mayangone township, Yangon)

My family urged me to study hard before the exam. I was not allowed to have long hair before the exam. Only after the exam, they allowed me to keep my hair long.

I think it depends on the country – that students pass exam with distinctions in all subjects only in Myanmar and not in other countries. In developed countries, students are outstanding all round – in sports and in other fields. They do not take exams after rote learning. In Myanmar, students study lessons by heart since childhood. It is difficult to change it. In our country, students are outstanding in lessons that they memorized. But they need to have more outside knowledge.

I have heard once or twice that students who should pass the exam failing and those who shouldn’t passing. Some pass the exam without trying hard. Some are bright and outstanding but they don’t get as much marks as they tried. It depends on fate.

I don’t go to school regularly, because I do my studies at the tuition classes. I think lessons I have learnt at tuition is more helpful for the exam than those taught at the school.

Aung Min

(Basic Education High School 2, Tatkon township, Nay Pyi Taw)

A person will attain a social status if they pass the matriculation exam. It changes one’s life because they can do whatever they wish after passing it.

I hoped I would get distinction in economics, at least, because I answered it very well. But I got only 74 marks – just one mark below the distinction mark of 75. I studied according to my own timetable. I tried very hard. But I was over confident and didn’t study regularly before the exams. So my marks were weaker than I had expected.

Subjects learnt for the matriculation exam would not at all be sufficient for one’s life. But some subjects, such as economics and mathematics, make us polite and teach us how to think.

I will continue my studies at a university. I want to go to a government technological institute [GTI] because I wish to become a civil engineer. I hope I can gain entrance to it based on the total marks I attained. If I can’t go to GTI, I will take the distance education and do other things that I want to do after my graduation.

Nyein Thu Naing

(Basic Education High School 2, Mayangone township, Yangon)

The matriculation exam is very important to me. I am very happy I passed the exam, because I tried very hard. My parents are also proud of me and they’re pleased to say, “our son passed the exam,” when people come to enquire about my status.

I don’t like the university entrance system that decides on the total marks of the matriculation exam. According to this system, a student can’t go to a university of his choice. On the other hand, students with low marks should not be allowed to attend medicine or engineering institutions. It would be good if students can choose whatever subject they want to pursue by sitting for an entrance exam.

If I were one of the examination board members, I’m not sure how I will change the exam system. I don’t know clearly how they do the marking system. But, I am against parrot-learning.

I’m going to attend the Myanmar language major at the University of Distance Education. It is an easy course. My parents as well as my sisters also asked me to do it. After I finish my schooling, I will work and continue to attend private English and computer classes.

Saw Thiri Khine

(Seint San Yay Private School, Mandalay)

Before attending the university, I am taking English and computer classes. Also, I am revising my Standard 10 subjects for the entrance exam for an engineering university opened here by India. It only costs K5000 a month. I want to hold a degree which is internationally recognized, so that I would earn wages in line with international standards.

I want to keep my hair long. I always had short hair. I will wear uniform at the university if the school provides it. If not, I will wear Myanmar traditional dress.

To meet international norms, it is better to train students since their childhood. At present, students try very hard when they reach Standard 10, learning in a parrot-fashion. Courses should be more systematic and teachers should use methods that will make their students really understand what they are learning. Likewise, students should listen carefully to their teachers.

I think our country is left behind in technology, although it is now nearly five decades since this country has been producing students passing the matriculation exam with distinction in all subjects. I want our country leaders to use the ability of outstanding nationals in inventing new things, like in other countries. Here, parents always ask their children to only pursue learning, and they never encourage them to do sports, physical exercises and learn other general knowledge. I wish parents would encourage children to be outstanding in all fields.

Translation by Win Thaw Tar and Zar Zar Soe

Source: Myanmar Times