KUCHING: Entry requirements for Sarawakian and Sabahan school leavers into technical education institutes have been lowered.
For certificate level courses, the entry requirement has been dropped from four SPM pass subjects to two.
Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem said extra science and mathematics classes would be compulsory for students to enter the institutes under the lowered requirements.
“In order not to compromise on the quality of graduates, we are adding classes. Science was a must-pass entry requirement subject that we have now taken out. At the end of the day, for students to pass their course and get certificates, the requirements are the same. The lowering (of standards) is only at the entry stage,” Riot told reporters here yesterday.
For diploma courses, entry requirements (which were three SPM subjects passed with merit, and with English and History as must-passes) have been lowered to three subjects passed with merit, which must include mathematics.
Riot said the lowering of entry requirements was only for applicants from Sarawak and Sabah; applicants from Peninsular Malaysia would still be assessed under the higher standards.
The lowering of entry requirements was a request from Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem earlier this month.
“It was during a courtesy call when this was brought up. The Chief Minister requested that we consider lowering entry requirements so that more can get a technical education. For Sarawakians and Sabahans, even though the opportunities are there, sometimes they have no access to what is before them,” Riot said.
Drawing the example of the ministry’s three institutes in Sarawak, he said two had lower than expected enrollment. At Kota Samarahan’s Industrial Training Institute, the enrollment was 70% of the college’s capacity.
“Only Miri’s institute is fully enrolled. Actually that one has an enrollment of 110%, which is good, driven by Miri’s oil and gas industry,” Riot said.
The ministry’s other institute in Sarawak is the Advance Technology Training Centre in Bintulu.
The enrollment date for Sarawakians and Sabahans has been extended from Jan 12 to the end of the month.
Riot added: “With lower requirements and extended intake, I urge more Sarawakians and Sabahans to apply. They can also apply for institutes in Peninsular Malaysia, where the courses on offer are a lot more.”
Last Monday, Adenan first made public his request for entry requirements to be reduced when speaking at a vocational college near Santubong.
Adenan explained the state government had made the request because there was no point building more institutes, had high entry requirements, but with lower enrollment.