The Star Malaysia
‘Bring back forecast results’
Mapcu: let students use forecast results for tertiary entry
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.