Hornbill Unleashed

October 4, 2014

Why the fuss now over SPM forecast results?

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM
Tags: , , , ,

Sonia Ramachandran

The education sector in Malaysia is never boring. First there was the UPSR leak for one paper which then later extended to four, to the detriment of Year Six students who had to sit for two papers on Sept 30, with another two in Oct 9.

Then came the uproar over the “reminder” of the ruling against the use of Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) forecast results for enrolment into private higher education institutions (IPTS), though the practice of doing so had reportedly been going on for 30 years.

The Star quoted Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities (Mapcu) president Datuk Dr Parmjit Singh as saying they acknowledged one of the conditions in all the approval letters for IPTS was each course’s entry qualifications which have no provisions for forecast results.

However, Parmjit said the IPTS had been admitting students based on their forecast results for three decades which was allowed by the ministry.

On Sept 30, Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh was quoted as saying that there will be no review of the ruling against using SPM forecast results for enrolment into private colleges, saying the ruling was “nothing new” and that the circular issued in May to the IPTS was merely a reminder of the long-standing ruling.

A decision that naturally does not sit well with the IPTS and students alike.

On Oct 2, however, Idris was quoted by The Star as saying that the ministry has yet to make a final decision over the move to disallow students from using their SPM forecast results as a basis for admission into private colleges and universities, saying the ministry would continue meeting with stakeholders before a final decision is made..

“We are taking a middle ground, and hopefully, will come up with an amicable solution for everyone soon,” Idris was quoted as saying.

Taylor’s University vice chancellor and president Professor Datuk Dr Hassan Said, who is also the former higher education department director-general, told theantdaily that he hoped the Education Ministry would review the decision “to ensure competitiveness in the private sector and to allow students not involved in national service to begin their tertiary education earlier.”

“SPM forecast results have been used sometimes to ensure the students are able to pursue their education while waiting for their results.

“Most of those who have been admitted to our programmes in Taylor’s University and Taylor’s College were able to continue with their studies based on their actual results. Only about two per cent are not able to continue based on their actual SPM results.

“Those who don’t fulfill the requirements of the programme will have to leave the programme. As far as Taylor’s University and Taylor’s College are concerned, there is no problem with admitting the students based on their SPM results and we observe the criteria set by the Education Ministry accordingly,” he said.

It is understood that the rationale for the decision seems to be the protection of the students to ensure they do not waste their money and are enrolled in the right programmes.

The argument is that students who enrol based on their forecast results may lose their fees if they don’t make the grade of the programmes they enrol in or they might have to change programmes to a lower programme to suit their qualifications when their actual SPM results come out.

After all, SPM forecast results are not “legitimate” entry requirements.

There is also a fear that students who enter programmes with their forecast results and who are subsequently disqualified based on their actual results are allowed to continue with the programme instead of being dropped from it.

Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) Malaysia chairperson Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim however feels that parents who enrol their children in courses beyond their capabilities and the students who choose to do so should be prepared to face the consequences of their actions.

“Parents should know the capacity and capabilities of their child and so should the child.

“Students who enrol in programmes way beyond their capabilities and capacity based on their forecast results should be prepared to face the consequences if their actual results are below the programme’s requirements,” she said.

Noor Azimah feels SPM forecast results should be allowed to be used as entry requirements into pre-university or foundation programmes in IPTS.

“The colleges or the universities concerned themselves would want to ensure that only those who are adequately qualified are enrolled in their programmes as it is their credibility and reputations at stake as well.

“The universities and colleges should also advice the students on courses they should enrol in based on their capability and not allow them into programmes that are beyond them. These institutions must be professional in advising the students as that is also part of their responsibility. It is not all about money,” she said.

The ruling was put in place to ensure “best practices” by the nation’s education industry in maintaining recognised global standards set by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA), said Idris, who also expressed bewilderment over the uproar caused by it as he said the ruling had been accepted by Mapcu.

SPM examinations are held in November with the results usually out at the end of March the next year.

About 30,000 students annually reportedly use their SPM forecast results to enter pre-university programmes that start in January in the IPTS.

The ruling has also caused discord within the ministerial ranks as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong does not seem too happy with it.

On Sept 29, Wee, who is MCA deputy president and a former deputy education minister, had reportedly said that a blanket ban on forecast results for admission into IPTS would not work.

Wee was quoted as asking: “There have been no problems allowing students to use it for the past three decades, so what is the issue?” adding that if the actual results were found not to meet the minimum requirements, the admission could be revoked.

MIC national youth chief Sivarraajh Chandran too had asked for an urgent review of the ruling, saying it was implemented too suddenly.

“The Education Ministry should give at least three to five years advance notice and implement the plan in stages before suddenly coming up with such a decision.

“Coming up with the decision just a month before the SPM is sudden and unexpected. Do not mess up the minds of students who are already stressed out,” Sivarraajh was quoted as saying, adding that the ministry should make public its reasons for disallowing forecast results.

If the ruling has been in place, why has the practice of allowing the SPM forecast results been allowed to go on for 30 years?

An education ministry source had this to say for that: “Two wrongs do not make a right.”


1 Comment »

  1. Don’t Complain , be grateful !!

    Comment by sipaigong — October 4, 2014 @ 12:14 PM | Reply

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