PETALING JAYA: After the intense debate over the forecast Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) results, students can now use it to enrol in private tertiary institutions as early as January.
However, they can only formally register for their courses when the actual SPM results are released in March.
This was in contrast to the earlier circular by the ministry that forecast SPM results could not be used for enrolment into pre-university programmes.
For the first time, the SPM results will be released on March 3 – two weeks earlier than the norm – to enable students to complete their pre-university courses in time to further their studies overseas.
Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said the decision was made after extensive consultation with stakeholders from various private education institutions.
“Previously, the concern was that students could not complete the academic year in time for foreign university intakes.
“By bringing forward the SPM results release date, everything is now in full compliance with Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) requirements while giving enough room for students to go overseas (in time for foreign university intakes).
“With the results out in early March, students have time to complete the minimum 43-week requirement for the (pre-university) academic year,” he told The Star during his visit to Menara Star here yesterday.
Idris said this was the first time the release date for SPM results had been pushed forward.
“I’m very grateful to (Education director-general) Datuk Dr Khair Mohd Yusof for his help in resolving this matter quickly,” he added.
Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities (Mapcu) president Datuk Dr Parmjit Singh commended the Education Ministry for being responsive to the issue, adding that it was only right that the final decision focused on the students’ needs.
He noted that students had to complete at least 50 credits within the 43 weeks of their foundation courses, so they could still choose to enrol earlier and begin the “non-core” activities in their courses.
“But they will only begin the core activities (such as examination-based credits) once they are formally registered as students, after the SPM results are out,” he said.
Idris and Dr Parmjit had earlier attended a press conference on the matter at the Education Ministry in Putrajaya. It is understood that there will be further deliberation between the ministry, Mapcu and other stakeholders.
On May 23, the ministry issued a circular reminding private tertiary institutions that forecast SPM results could not be used for enrolment into pre-university programmes.
Following SundayStar’s report on the matter late last month, there was public uproar as students and parents were concerned by the potential delay in admissions caused by the ruling.
Those who wished to study overseas were particularly worried as they might miss intake dates set by foreign universities.
The ministry then issued a statement clarifying that it had never allowed forecast SPM results to be used and the regulation followed the “best practices” of the MQA.
After public feedback, Idris said the ministry would continue meeting with stakeholders before making a final decision on the use of forecast results and promised to come up with an “amicable solution for everyone”.