SPM Students Can No Longer Use Trial Exam Results To Enter University

For the past thirty years, students fresh out of secondary school have been using their SPM trial exam results to apply for Pre-U programmes that start in January. What will this new move mean for students eager to further their education?

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Education Ministry Backs Down On SPM Forecast Results Ruling

Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.

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The Education Ministry has backed down and allowed students to enrol into private higher education institutions in January next year with their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) forecast results, after its earlier decision created a storm with parents and education groups.

But, students can only formally register for their courses after getting their actual SPM results in March, The Star Online reported today.

The ministry will release the results on March 3, two weeks earlier than the usual. This allows students to finish their pre-university courses in time to further their studies abroad.

He said announcing the results two weeks earlier than scheduled will allow students to register and complete their pre-university studies in the period set by the Private Institutions of Higher Learning (IPTS) before furthering their studies to Australia and New Zealand for the February 2016 intake.

Idris said this decision is only applicable to this year's SPM results, while results for the next SPM batch will be decided later. He said the decision also demonstrated the government's concern for the needs of the public and for the good of education. "It was a difficult decision to make, but after discussions we decided that this is best for the educational institution, students and everyone involved," he added.

28 Sept: Secondary School Graduates Will No Longer Be Able To Use SPM Forecast Results To Apply For Pre-University Or Foundation Programmes

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SPM trial results will no longer be admissible for pre-university and foundation programmes entry beginning January, in a move that could throw the education plans of tens of thousands of secondary school leavers into disarray.

As SPM Results Are Only Released In March, Every Year 30,000 Students Would Use Trial Exam Results To Apply For January Intake Of Pre-University Programmes

Students sit for the SPM examinations in November and results are usually 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.

This Has Been The Practice For The Past Thirty Years

The circular shocked the private education industry, which has over the past 30 years, relied on admissions based on forecast results.

He said 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. “In the case of foundation courses, the minimum standard of SPM results is specified and that there is no provision made for forecast results within those conditions and, therefore, admitting students based on forecast results is considered an infringement of these conditions.

“However, the admission of students with forecast results has been the practice in the past three decades and allowed by the mi­­nistry. “It was even encouraged during the mid 1990s when the country was plagued with the lepak and bohsia problems to ensure that post-school students were occupied productively,” he added.

However, The Education Ministry Has Now Notified Private Institutions Of Higher Educations That SPM Forecast Results Would No Longer Be Accepted As Admission Qualifications

The Education Ministry notified heads of private institutions of higher education that such results would no longer be accepted as admission qualifications, unlike in previous years.

A circular issued by the Education Ministry dated May 23, 2014, which was sighted by Malay Mail Online, stated that SPM forecast results may only be used to secure travel documents and not for entry into higher education programmes.

“The use of forecast result (sic) for international students’ applications to further their studies at private higher education programmes is only for their visa applications to enter Malaysia. “This will not affect the process and conditions that have been enforced before this, where students still need to use their actual results when registering for private higher education programmes,” stated a letter dated July 1, 2013 that was contained in the circular.

This Means Students Who Are Ready To Further Their Studies Would Have To Delay Their Education By Up To A Year As Wait For The Release Of The Official SPM Results

Dr Parmjit said the discussions included the impact on students, especially those who had decided on what they wanted to do and highly motivated on furthering their studies. They would now be held back for a few months and might get into unproductive activities or idle away their time.

Dr Parmjit said students who planned to pursue their studies in Australia and New Zealand might lose a year because of the later start of their matriculation or foundation courses, thus delaying their Bachelor degree courses.

Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) chair Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said students who would otherwise be able to join courses starting in January must now wait until the July or August intakes for pre-university programmes like the A Level. “It makes a lot of difference, especially when you’re paying for higher education through your nose,” Azimah told Malay Mail Online. “If you do A Levels, let’s say you start in January 2015, by mid-2016, you’d finish. But if you start in July, you only finish in 2017,” she added.

Sighing At The Waste Of Time, Many Students Expressed Frustration At The Disruption Of Their Study Plans

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Many students told the English language daily that they did not understand why their school trial examination results were no longer acceptable, adding that the practice had been allowed by the Education ‎Ministry for decades.

They said their study plans were now disrupted as they had to wait another three months for the actual SPM results to be released before they could apply for the programmes. "This can really interfere with my plans. I want to pursue an Australian matriculation programme in January and study in Australia where the intake is in February," M. Raju, a Form Five student, told The Sunday Star.

"It will be frustrating to waste three months waiting for the actual results," Gabrielle T, a student, was quoted as saying‎. "I don't understand why we can't use forecast results when our seniors could. It is really unfair."

DAP Slammed The Move, Saying That It Will Force Students To Go Through Compressed Foundation Programmes Or Even Delay Their Entry Into University

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Students who want to pursue tertiary education at private institutions are being punished by the Education Ministry's decision to bar Form Five students from using forecast results of the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) to apply for pre-university programmes, a DAP lawmaker has said.

"If there are no major problems with the quality of forecast SPM exams, which are usually harder than the actual SPM exams, why should the ministry want to disqualify the use of these trial exam results for initial entry into private colleges and universities? "As long as no valid reasons are given by the Ministry of Education, this new restriction should be immediately withdrawn," Ong Kian Ming.

"Forcing students to wait 3 months until the SPM results are officially released at the end of March means that students will either have to go through compressed foundation programmes, spending 15 months to prepare for A-level exams rather than the normal 18 months, or their entry into university will be delayed by one year," he said.

Malacca Action Group for Parents in Education (Magpie) Says The Education Ministry Is Preventing Students From Wanting To Excel

Parent groups said the ministry was preventing students from wanting to excel, and without giving any reason for it. “These students use the forecast results because they want to enter college earlier. Our Education Ministry should encourage that kind of proactive, motivated attitude, not hold them back,” said Malacca Action Group for Parents in Education (Magpie) chairman, Mak Chee Kin.

“For these proactive students, they are wasting time waiting for the official results. Some colleges only have intakes for January and September each year, which means a difference of eight months,” Mak told The Malaysian Insider in Kuala Lumpur. “It makes us wonder what kind of officers we have in the Education Ministry. I really can’t think of any policies it has made that has benefitted stakeholders.”

Several Stakeholders, Including Students, Revealed That The Forecast Results Were Highly Representative Of Actual Exam Results As SPM Trial Exams Are Often Tougher Than The Real Examination

Parmjit also reportedly said results from the SPM trial exam were “highly representative” of the actual exam results and that higher grades should be imposed if the problem lay with the reliability of the forecast results.

Students told The Sunday Star‎ that forecast results were reflective of their SPM results, making such a wait unnecessary. "Our school sets really tough questions for trials to prepare us for the real examination," J. Nate was quoted as saying.

She said using the results of the Form Five trial public examination as admission qualifications was a way of helping Malaysian students catch up with counterparts in international schools who finish a year earlier after taking their O Level, the equivalent of SPM, at age 16.

Instead Of Disqualifying SPM Trials Results, Netizens Suggest To Reschedule SPM Exams For The Results To Be Released By January Instead Of March

Netizens urged the authorities to reschedule the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examinations so that students need not rely on forecast results for pre-university entrance. Many lamented at the delay imposed upon students who want to continue their tertiary education, with one parent, Andrew T.Y., urging for the official SPM exam results to be released by January instead of March.

Boon Haw Ang said this move should have been made a long time ago. “If forecast can be officially accepted, what's the point of having official examination? Roll out the result in early January instead of March then!”

Noel Leong said Malaysia’s school terms should follow major countries in either the Northern or Southern hemisphere. “With school term starting in either September or April, then schedules of private and public universities will be aligned and there will be no need to rely on forecast results,” he added.

Representatives Of The Malaysian Association Of Private Colleges Have Appealed For The Decision To Be Reviewed

Representatives of the Malaysian Associa­tion of Private Colleges have met senior Education Ministry officials over the issue. Mapcu president Datuk Dr Parmjit Singh said the association had appealed for the decision to be reviewed.

He told the paper that if there were doubts over its reliability, the solution was to specify higher grades of attainment rather than do away with it altogether.

When Asked, Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathin Said The Ministry Is Reviewing Their Proposal

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Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan reportedly said the ministry was reviewing Mapcu’s proposal.

The Education Ministry Was Previously Under Fire For Leaks In Four UPSR Exam Papers