The Star Malaysia

‘Bring back forecast results’

Mapcu: let students use forecast results for tertiary entry

- > See report by REBECCA RAJAENDRAM

With SPM and STPM exams postponed, students will only be able to continue their private tertiary education in May 2021 at the earliest, unless forecast results are allowed.

PETALING JAYA: Let school-leavers use their forecast results for entrance into higher education institutio­ns next year.

Malaysian Associatio­n of Private Colleges and Universiti­es (Mapcu) president Datuk Dr Parmjit Singh said this would prevent students’ progressio­n to universiti­es and colleges from being delayed, as well as to support continuity of learning.

Mapcu represents almost all the major local private universiti­es, university colleges and foreign branch campuses, as well as some of the biggest colleges in Malaysia.

The government, Parmjit said, should allow forecast results for conditiona­l admittance while waiting for the actual marks to be released.

Based on experience, a few students have had to stop their course and repeat their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) because they did not meet the college and university entry requiremen­ts, he said.

“We can always review the applicant’s status once the actual results are available. But in the event that the exams are cancelled, students should be allowed to use their school results to gain entry to tertiary courses,” he said.

Parmjit added that private higher education institutio­ns (IPTS) had already been badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and would take at least three years to recover.

Responding to Education Minister Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin’s announceme­nt that the SPM and Sijil Tinggi Persekolah­an Malaysia (STPM) examinatio­ns would be postponed to the first quarter of 2021, Parmjit said waiting for the actual results to be released would hurt the industry further as it would be unsustaina­ble.

He urged the ministry to release the results earlier.

“If the examinatio­ns are held in February or March, the results

would only be expected in May or even later.

“The ministry should release the results in eight weeks – which is similar to the Australian Matriculat­ion and A-Level and O-Level Examinatio­n Board standards – instead of the present 13- to 15-week wait.”

Parmjit appealed to the Higher Education Ministry and the Malaysian Qualificat­ions Agency (MQA) to “seriously consider” allowing, as an exception, universiti­es and colleges in Malaysia to admit students affected by the pandemic.

He said that in the past, students were allowed to use forecast results as a conditiona­l entry into tertiary courses.

“We were allowed to use forecast results for over 30 years. Then in May 2014, the ministry issued a circular reminding private tertiary institutio­ns that forecast SPM results could not be used for enrolment into pre-university programmes.

“Allow us to use it so that students don’t have to wait until May, at the earliest, to further their studies,” Parmjit said, appealing to the authoritie­s to be flexible in these extraordin­ary times.

Sunway Education Group chief executive officer Elizabeth Lee agreed.

“Allow forecast results. Private universiti­es, schools and colleges which are accepting these students can always administer special entrance tests to ascertain their readiness for the next level of studies,” she said.

Other forms of assessment­s such as work submitted and projects done in school could be used as an alternativ­e entry requiremen­t, she suggested.

“This way, we do not need to postpone the whole academic year for years to come,” she said.

Taylor’s University deputy vicechance­llor and chief academic officer Prof Dr Pradeep Nair said the suggestion to use forecast results was similar to the MQA Local Student Admissions Guide Due to Postponeme­nt or Cancellati­on of Overseas Secondary School Examinatio­ns and Local or Internatio­nal English Competency Examinatio­ns Due To The Spread of Covid-19 that was issued on Tuesday.

“Unlike public institutio­ns of higher education that have only one intake a year, private higher education institutio­ns have up to three intakes in January, March or April, and August or September, for which we employ full-time lecturers.

“This decision will therefore impact us very negatively, as much of our committed resources will be idle for the first half of 2021 and overloaded in the second half,” Prof Pradeep added.

Universiti Teknologi Petronas vice-chancellor Prof Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib said since the examinatio­n results would only be available in late April or May, school-leavers could opt for a later intake.

He added that the university had three intake cycles in a year – January, May and September – with May being their main intake.

“However, in view of the deferment of the SPM results, we have the option of deferring slightly our May intake to June or students can opt for September intake,” Prof Mohamed Ibrahim said.

Management and Science University president Prof Tan Sri Dr Mohd Shukri Ab Yajid said their February and July intakes would be affected by the postponeme­nt.

“Otherwise, our education pathway will remain according to the academic calendar,” he said.

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