Ensure students treated fairly


  • Education
  • Sunday, 26 Apr 2020

PARENTS are worried that the cancellation of the Semester 2 of the Matriculation Programme Examinations (PSPM) will affect STPM students’ chances of pursuing courses like medicine, engineering, accounting and other Science-based programmes.

The cancellation will affect the chances of Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) students looking to get into these critical study programmes, said Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education chairman Mak Chee Kin, as there will be two sets of students competing for a place in the application of public university’s 2020/2021 intake.

“The 2019 STPM students must take three centralised examinations to pursue studies in public universities. The same batch of matriculation students have to sit for two.

“They’ve already sat for one exam but the other is being cancelled and replaced with only assessments and internal markings.

“This means that the PSPM students would only have sat for one centralised exam compared to the three STPM students would have to sit for,” he said.

Pointing out that the two different qualifying systems have resulted in an uneven playing field, he said the percentage of matriculation students given good courses and good universities has always been higher compared to STPM students.

Mak was commenting on the Education Ministry’s decision to cancel Semester 2 of the PSPM in light of the extended management control order (MCO).

The ministry said it decided to cancel the exam for the 2019/2020 session scheduled from April 27 to May 4 to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Aware that the results of PSPM would be used to apply for the 2020/2021 session intake in public universities, the ministry said results for Semester 2 examinations will be replaced by continuous assessments that have been carried out throughout the semester.

“This means that students’ final results will be calculated based on the combination of results from Semester 1 and assessments from Semester 2,” the ministry said in a recent statement. It added that the matriculation programme for session 2019/2020 ended on April 11.

Mak questioned if the matriculation students who were supposed to sit for the exam would be evaluated fairly in their assessments.

“Can it be guaranteed that the assessment of matriculation students will be done fairly?

“This is important as the students would not be sitting for the second exam.

“We must be just to the STPM students. Some of them even re-took papers to get better grades,” he said, adding that matriculation students also tend to get higher co-curricular marks – an important factor when applying to universities – compared to STPM students.

This, he said, is because matriculation students are marked at national level, whereas STPM students go through a district, state and national level marking system.

Hoping that some leeway could be given to STPM students, he said the ministry should allocate more seats for STPM holders with grades CGPA 3.9 and above.

“The universities should have qualifying tests for students to ensure that only those who are really qualified are eligible to secure a spot, irrespective of whether they came from the matriculation or STPM route.”

Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) Malaysia chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim, however, said the ministry’s decision was a fair approach.

“It is favourable for students who have been consistent in their work. It encourages consistency and penalises last minute work,” she said.

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