A TOTAL of 182,409 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) school-leavers were offered a place in public universities for the 2018/2019 June academic session intake.
This is 33,409 candidates more than the previous year.
Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik pointed out that this year’s number was a 22% increase from the last academic session, where only around 149,000 students were offered a place in public universities.
“This year’s number includes 17,338 candidates from the B40 group, 299 special needs students, 384 orang asli students and 1,225 sports athletes,” he said.
The ministry, he added, has tried its best to ensure all eligible and deserving candidates are offered a university of their choice.
However, Dr Maszlee expressed regret to those who were not offered a place.
“The Government is focusing on helping students based on their academic performances as well as their socioeconomic background,” he said.
He urged students who were dissatisfied or failed to get a place in a public university to make an appeal to the ministry.
“We do not discriminate. I assure you that all appeals would be given fair and just attention,” he said before presenting students with their offer letters at a ceremony held at the Education Ministry in Putrajaya on Thursday.
Alyx Chew Chen Loong, 18, who was at the ceremony, said he was fortunate to be offered a place to study at an institution that was his first choice.
The Selangor-based school-leaver enrolled in Universiti Putra Malaysia’s (UPM) Foundation in Agricultural Science on June 1, and plans to continue his degree there after completing his foundation next year.
“I didn’t expect to get my first choice,” said the former SMK Bukit Sentosa, Rawang student.
Chew was also excited to meet Dr Maszlee.
Nurul Azzreen Nor Azam, 18, who is from Negri Sembilan, was also offered a place in UPM for a Foundation in Agricultural Science.
“I’m very proud of myself for getting a place in a public university,” said the wheelchair-bound student who has a spinal cord injury due to a severe car crash two years ago.
The former SMK Seremban 2 student was also excited to meet Dr Maszlee at the ceremony.
Meanwhile on another matter, Dr Maszlee said he has received more than 11,000 responses in the first two days after opening his feedback form to the public.
Based on the responses he has received not just through the Google Form but also through his social media accounts and Whatsapp messages, the main concern for teachers is their workload which involves a lot of paperwork.
He said parents were concerned over their children’s heavy school bags while the youth brought up issues on the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) and the Universities and University Colleges Act (AUKU) 1971. The form on Google allows the public to submit their suggestions to the minister.
The form can be found on his official Facebook page.
The link has been temporarily shut down due to the overwhelming response.