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Monday, September 29, 2014

Private college students made victims by ministry’s new entry rule, says DAP lawmaker

Serdang MP Dr Ong Kian Ming said he saw no reason why students could not use forecasted SPM results to apply for entry into private institutions of higher learning. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, September 29, 2014.Serdang MP Dr Ong Kian Ming said he saw no reason why students could not use forecasted SPM results to apply for entry into private institutions of higher learning. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, September 29, 2014.
Students who want to pursue tertiary education at private institutions are being punished by the Education Ministry's decision to bar Form Five students from using forecast results of the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) to apply for pre-university programmes, a DAP lawmaker has said.
Calling for a withdrawal of the decision, Serdang MP Dr Ong Kian Ming took the ministry to task for not giving a valid reason for its latest move.
He said the forecasted SPM exams were usually set at a tougher level than the actual SPM exams and saw no reason why they could not be used for entry into private institutions of higher learning.
"As long as no valid reasons are given by the Ministry of Education, this new restriction should be immediately withdrawn," he said in a statement today.
Calling the move "tremendously unfair" to students who wanted to pursue their studies at private colleges and universities, the first-term MP said the academic calendar of pre-university and foundation programmes were planned with the intake dates of overseas universities in mind.
Citing an example of the Australian Matriculation programme in Sunway College, which is a pre-requisite for those wanting to take up an Australian degree, Dr Ong said the programme starts in January and is completed within eight to ten months so that the results can be used by students to apply to and enter Australian universities at the start of the following year in January.
Those wanting to pursue a degree in the UK meanwhile will see many taking up the 1½ year A-levels foundation course which starts in January, so that they can enter a UK university in September or October the following year.
"Forcing students to wait 3 months until the SPM results are officially released at the end of March means that students will either have to go through compressed foundation programmes, spending 15 months to prepare for A-level exams rather than the normal 18 months, or their entry into university will be delayed by one year," he said.
He also voiced his concern this latest move would have on SPM students who are forced to resit their papers in the event of a leak.
"If the release of SPM results are delayed because of this, our students will be unfairly punished again by not being able to start their pre-university or foundation programmes as long as their SPM results are not available," he said.
The Star reported yesterday that the Education Ministry would no longer allow private institutions of higher education to accept SPM trial exam results for admission qualifications.
The SPM is the equivalent of the United Kingdom's O Levels examinations.
Students will now have to wait until March to receive their official SPM results before applying for pre-university programmes, which could push back their studies by a year.
The move has been criticised by parents and education groups who accuse the ministry of preventing students from wanting to excel, and of not giving any reasons for its decision.
The Malaysian Association of Private Colleges is reportedly appealing for the decision to be reviewed.
- TMI

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