KUALA LUMPUR: Next year’s matriculation and Lower Six students who are in the second and third batches of national service trainees will have to leave the programme early and resume it in 2005.
This is because their academic year will start on May 10 and 15 respectively while the training for these two batches will only end on June 13.
Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad said the ministry had adjusted the entry dates for pre-university programmes to accommodate the national service training.
However, he said, trainees in the second and third batches entering Lower Six and matriculation classes would not be able to complete the three-month programme in one stretch.
“The first batch will have no problems but there is a slight overlap – three weeks to a month – for those in the second and third batches,” he told reporters after chairing his ministry’s post-Cabinet meeting yesterday.
Musa said those affected would have to appeal for permission to leave the programme mid-way and resume it a year later.
“All appeals must be directed to the Defence Ministry and not the Education Ministry,” he added.
A total of 85,000 students born in 1986 were selected this week to be part of the first national service training programme.
The three-month programme will involve three batches of trainees. Training for the first batch runs from Feb 16 to May 2 and that for the second and third batches from March 22 to June 13.
Musa said private college students enrolled in Australian pre-university programmes with only one intake a year such as the South Australian Matriculation and Western Australian Matriculation would also have to take the matter up with the Defence Ministry.
“I would advise students in these programmes to either appeal to defer their national service training to 2005 or start their pre-university course a year later,” he said.
He was commenting on a request from the Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities (Mapcu) that students entering Australian matriculation programmes – which start in January each year – be allowed to undergo national service training after completing their studies.
Mapcu council member Datuk Teo Chiang Liang urged the Defence Ministry to grant the request as attending the compulsory training would delay their studies by a year.
“The Australian programmes run for a year and examination dates are fixed. We hope the Education Ministry and Defence Ministry will consider this,” he said in a telephone interview.
Musa also announced that the entry date for local universities was June 15 while that for polytechnics and community colleges was June 20, both of which had been fixed to accommodate the national service.