Forecast furore

Screenshots of circulars released by the Education Ministry with regard to the use of forecast results for application to pre-university programmes.

There was an outcry from relevant parties when it was reported by SundayStar that students were not allowed to use their forecast results when applying for admission to pre-university programmes in private institutions. Here is a timeline of events since the SundayStar report.

May 23

The Education Ministry issued a circular reminding private higher education institutions that forecast results could not be used for enrolment into pre-university programmes. The use of forecast results was only allowed for visa application by international students wanting to study here. The institutions have relied on forecast results to admit students for the past 30 over years.

Sept 28

Recognising the repercussions that it would certainly have on stakeholders, The Star was the first to inform the public.

Students typically sit for the SPM examinations in November and results are released at the end of March the following year. Each year about 30,000 students register using their school trial exam results for pre-university programmes that start in January.

  •  Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities (Mapcu) president Datuk Dr Parmjit Singh said that they had presented the issues and implications to the Education Ministry officials.
  •  Mapcu acknowledged that one of the conditions stated in all letters of appro­val for private higher education institutions was the entry qualification for each course, which in the case of foundation courses, was the minimum standard of SPM. “However, the admission of students with forecast results has been the practice in the past three decades and allowed by the mi­­nistry,” he said.
  •  Deputy Education Minister P. Kamala­nathan said Mapcu had submitted a proposal on this issue to Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh and that the ministry was reviewing it.

Sept 29

The move by the Education Ministry to disallow students from using forecast Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) results to enter pre-university or foundation programmes from 2015 has netizens urging the ministry to rethink its decision.

  •  Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong urged the ministry to give its reasons for the decision and hopes that the ministry will review its decision to disallow the use of forecast results for entry into private higher learning institutions.

Sept 30

In a media statement, the ministry clarified that it had never allowed forecast SPM results to be used as admission qualification and that institutions of higher learning were aware of this.

  •  According to the Private Higher Educational Institutions Act 1996, only actual SPM results could be used to enrol in matriculation, foundation, pre-university and diploma courses approved by the ministry.
  •  The ministry said it was concerned with the quality of services offered by the institutions and that the regulation follows the “best practices” of the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA). Compound fines were issued to several institutions in 2012 and 2013 for going against the law.
  •  With regard to the waiting period for SPM results, the ministry said those who have completed the exam could enrol in short courses at private institutions.

Oct 1

  •  Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh says that there will be no review of the ruling against the use of forecast results for enrolment into private institutions.
  •  He said the ruling was “nothing new” and questioned the recent hype. The circular issued to private colleges in May was “merely a reminder” of the long-standing ruling.
  •  He added that it was up to overseas universities to accept forecast results for applications.

Oct 2

  •  Some private education industry stalwarts who have been in the business of providing post-school studies for decades are calling for a review of the decision to disallow admission by SPM forecast results.
  •  They said the change in the admission criterion was too sudden and was being implemented without consultation with the private institutions.
  •  Such a move would leave thousands of parents and students in a lurch, and may cost many families to fork out more money for an additional year abroad so as not to delay their studies by a year.

Oct 3

  •  Idris said the ministry would continue meeting with stakeholders over the matter before making a final decision over the move to disallow students to use their forecast results for admission into private colleges and universities.

“We are taking a middle ground, and hopefully, will come up with an amicable solution for everyone soon,” he said.

Information correct as of press time.

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