Two reasons why we are lagging behind…


We are well behind many other countries in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS) benchmarks. It’s a sad reflection of the state of our education system. We are just, well, average in the global class.

Percentage of eighth-grade students who reached the TIMSS advanced international benchmark in mathematics, by country: 2007


Percentage of  eighth-grade students who reached the TIMSS advanced international benchmark in science, by country: 2007


What does our Education Minister have to say about this?

This doesn’t mean we should now focus excessively on maths and science to the detriment of the arts subjects. We need to produce students who also have a keen awareness of social realities. Our education system shouldn’t just churn out robots for industry. We need philosophers, artists, and social workers every bit as much as we need engineers, scientists, doctors and technicians.

Our education system must produce well-rounded individuals in various disciplines who are trained to think creatively, critically, analytically. Unfortunately, right now, we aren’t even able to get the basics right.

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Patrick Lee

Education Minister’s response:

“We are still better than Iran!”


It is certainly in line with international standards!

You Should

I think for the Malaysian portion please separate that by the race. You will notice that some race is above the median and suspectingly it’s the usual news that the other is one factor contributing to to the country being a laggard …. there is nothing new lar …so long as this country is not governt as Malaysian Malaysia …nothing is new …it’s all PREDICTABLE


Malaysia do better than Indonesia? it is true 20 years ago!


Our BN elite put their children in international / private schools. Perfectly understandable.

After all, the tens of thousands of unemployed local graduates speak volume of the quality of our local education system.


Top six countries in maths are using mother tongue while top three countries in science are also using mother tongue.

Facts speak the truth that teaching maths and science in mother tongue shall be encouraged.


How come when Malaysia do better than Indonesia in maths and science in TIMMS but Universiti Malaya is ranked lower than Indonesia?

Funny lah!

joo lee

i shouldn’t be surprised at these results but i am. from what i can see, the national maths and science syllabus is really extensive and if i may say so, extremely challenging compared to what i had to face 30 some years ago. frankly, if we look at the syllabus our kids should be stuffed to bursting with knowledge. why aren’t they performing well? some possible reasons: 1. i have to agree that the problem lies with the quality of teaching and the commitment of the teachers. 2. the common solution is pack the students off to tutors who largely… Read more »


guess there are more than 2 reasons why she is lagging behind.
doubt M’sia can get out of it. most of our problems are institutionalised. it would take a herculean effort to change and to learn how to be mean and lean & to compete. doubt M’sian have the stomach for it. possible but unlikely. guess most M’sians will be like the proverbial frog in the slowly boiling water. it will get cooked eventually.


The country prosperous main due to they have brainy peoples manage the country and brainy peoples to execute whatever have been planned. In order to have this brainy peoples we must have excellent education systems. The problems of our education are : 1. Education policy always change to suit, sometimes political agenda. Until today we still unable to decide whether to teach math and science in English or ethnic language.Why don’t we be bold and leave the policy alone and try to give our children a chance to excel and prove themselves. Those who against this policy, please ask yourselves… Read more »


Taiwan clearly holds on the pole position but their universities degree is not recognized by Malaysian government. Strange ! Oh no, its because they use mandarin and their answer might be wrong when translated into Bahasa.


He will come out with a Malaysian version of the survey, do ranking of stars and not rating. No need competition.

Our result sucks. Just average.


He’ll probably say “Who needs this TIMMS thing anyway? We’re OK, in line with the international norms. See, we’re better than Jordan, Indonesia, Iran and most other Islamic countries”.