PETALING JAYA: Allegations that Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) students are not taught Malaysian history are apparently baseless.
A check on the history textbooks used by Senior 1 to 3 students in Chinese independent schools shows that they contain sections on the histories of Malaysia and Southeast Asia, China and the world.
The prefaces state that the syllabus is based on the national curricula for Integrated Curriculum Secondary School (KBSM) and STPM.
UEC holders told FMT they learnt basic local, regional and world histories in their junior years and progressed to in-depth studies of the subjects in their senior years.
United Chinese School Committees’ Association of Malaysia (Dong Zong) chairman Vincent Lau yesterday denied that Chinese independent schools used the history textbooks of China and Taiwan, as alleged by some quarters.
He said Dong Zong published its own textbooks for Chinese schools. “The textbooks cover the same local histories taught in the national schools,” he added.
Earlier this week, Lau urged the Education Ministry to allow UEC students to sit for the SPM Bahasa Melayu paper so that they could apply to study in public universities.
Because UEC is not recognised by the federal government, UEC holders are disqualified from admission to public universities and jobs in the civil service in Malaysia, with a few exceptions.
Sarawak accepts the certificate for entry into the state’s civil service and state universities. Selangor admits UEC graduates into state-owned universities and Penang employs UEC holders in state-owned firms.
The certificate is also accepted as an SPM equivalent by more than 1,000 universities worldwide, including private universities in Malaysia.
The UEC syllabus was developed by Dong Zong in 1975 when the Chinese schools refused to adopt Malay as the medium of instruction. It is taught in 60 independent Chinese secondary schools in the country.
The federal government’s recent announcement that the UEC was being considered for recognition has met opposition from groups such as Gabungan Pelajar Melayu Semenanjung (GPMS) and Gerakan Sistem Sekolah Satu Aliran Demi Perpaduan (Serap). They cite the syllabus’ non-compliance with Malaysian education policies.
GPMS president Zambri Mohd Isa claimed the examination questions were set by foreigners. “We have our own Examinations Board,” he said. “Why do they need Taiwanese to set the questions?”
He also alleged that the UEC syllabus was derived from Taiwan and the students were not taught local history.
Serap chairman Shahril Hamdan said giving full recognition to UEC would be detrimental to national unity.
“Students taking the UEC are overwhelmingly monoethnic,” he said.
Objecting to Lau’s suggestion, he said, “SPM is more than just the BM paper. It is a whole educational and socialisation experience.” Conceding to the request would cheapen the examination, he added.-FMT