Form Five students can no longer use their forecast Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) results to enter foundation or pre-university programmes, The Sunday Star reported today.
Many students told the English language daily that they did not understand why their school trial examination results were no longer acceptable, adding that the practice had been allowed by the Education Ministry for decades.
They said their study plans were now disrupted as they had to wait another three months for the actual SPM results to be released before they could apply for the programmes.
"This can really interfere with my plans. I want to pursue an Australian matriculation programme in January and study in Australia where the intake is in February," M. Raju, a Form Five student, told The Sunday Star.
The SPM examinations are held for Form Five students every November, while the results are only released in March the following year.
According to The Sunday Star, the Education Ministry distributed a circular informing heads of private institutions of higher education that the results could not be accepted as admission qualifications.
The Malaysian Association of Private Colleges has reportedly appealed for the decision to be reviewed.
Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan said a proposal had been submitted to Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.
"We are reviewing it," Kamalanathan was quoted as saying.
The Sunday Star reported that each year, about 30,000 students register for pre-university programmes, which begin in January, using their SPM forecast results.
"It will be frustrating to waste three months waiting for the actual results," Gabrielle T, a student, was quoted as saying.
"I don't understand why we can't use forecast results when our seniors could. It is really unfair."
Students told The Sunday Star that forecast results were reflective of their SPM results, making such a wait unnecessary.
"Our school sets really tough questions for trials to prepare us for the real examination," J. Nate was quoted as saying.
"Why should we waste time waiting for SPM results when the forecast results would be enough?" he asked.
Mapcu president Datuk Dr Parmjit Singh agreed that forecast results were representative of the official SPM results, according to The Sunday Star.
He told the paper that if there were doubts over its reliability, the solution was to specify higher grades of attainment rather than do away with it altogether.
Dr Parmjit also warned that students who wished to pursue their education in Australia and New Zealand could find their studies pushed back by a year due to the delay of their matriculation or foundation programme.
But, he said, Mapcu acknowledged that all letters of approvals for private higher education institutions set entry qualifications for each course.
"In the case of foundation courses, the minimum standard of SPM results is specified and there is no provision made for forecast results within those conditions and, therefore, admitting students based on forecast results is considered an infringement of these conditions.
"However, the admission of students with forecast results has been the practice in the past three decades and allowed by the ministry," Dr Parmjit was quoted as saying.
He said it was even encouraged during the mid-1990s, when the country was "plagued with the lepak (loitering) and bohsia (sex delinquents) problems", so as to ensure school-leavers were occupied with productive activities. – September 28, 2014.