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Back then, SPM students with excellent results were allowed to bypass the STPM system to pursue tertiary studies straightaway after they obtain their SPM results. Later on, the Ministry of (Higher) Education issued a statement saying that SPM students are not eligible to apply for public universities and must sit for the STPM examination for the Pre-University level. And now, according to this article from The Star, the ministry once again permits students who have sat for the SPM examination this year to apply for places in public universities for the 2008/2009 session.

Little did they know that people who can do well in examinations may not have high IQ and that people with high IQ may not be able to do well in examinations.

To me, this seems to imply one thing, that the standard of the SPM examinations I sat for in 2005 was supposedly lower than that for this year. Therefore, because we are not well armed with the knowledge required before going to universities, we have to either sit for the A Levels examination (if you plan on going to private universities), the Matriculation, Foundation studies, AusMAT, Canadian Pre-U, or the infamous Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia.

However, looks like that wouldn't be necessary anymore for SPM students now. Starting November this year, students who have sat for the SPM examinations can now apply for university entry. Although they did not state specifically whether these students would be first taken into the university to do any foundation studies or just absorbed immediately as undergraduates, as far as I am concerned, there are no universities that are offering foundation studies yet. If there are, I wonder why didn't the ministry tell us so, instead of us having to do STPM examinations. Logical, isn't it? Correct me if I am wrong.

Most of us have already gone through the SPM process, and upon doing our Pre-University studies, we would have found how much lacking our knowledge is so much so that we know the reason why we were not allowed to directly apply into universities as undergraduates. The issue now is: Since we know that the SPM syllabus is simply insufficient for students to directly apply for undergraduate studies in public universities, based on what grounds does the ministry now permit SPM students this year to apply for public universities purely based on their SPM results?

Are they going to, once again, say that selection of students from the SPM level into universities will be based on the results they obtain, and that only the creme de la creme would be chosen. It certainly shortens time a lot for students, having to skip the two years in STPM, but this is like a repetition of the PTS case. Back in those days when PTS examinations were still around, we saw some of our friends skipping Standard 4 into Standard 5 because they supposedly have higher IQ compared to us, and therefore could cope even without having to go through Standard 4.

That's true to some extent. Little did they know that people who can do well in examinations may not have high IQ and that people with high IQ may not be able to do well in examinations. Perhaps they had not heard of savants back then. Hey, no offense to those who have succeeded in the PTS examination, but my point is just that a great number of those who skipped Standard 4 have also flopped in their examinations later on. Many who were regarded as potential genius in Standard 3 could not secure a straight A1 streak in their SPM examinations. Nevertheless, I must also add that getting straight A1's in the SPM examinations does not even necessarily reflect our intelligence nowadays.

So, now we have a similar situation where students who could score excellent results in the SPM examination would stand a chance to further their studies immediately in public universities. It saves money for parents to bring their children to pursue their tertiary education as public universities are far cheaper, and it saves time because they would not need to undergo STPM studies.

However, is that a good move? Many students who have gone through Matriculation and STPM studies eventually flop while pursuing tertiary education, too. Is it not too big a risk for SPM students to pursue undergraduate studies immediately? If they want to pursue any course in biology (medicine, genetics, biochemistry), what would they know about taxonomy (from kingdom to species), detailed anatomy and so on? If they want to pursue any course in physics (engineering, automotive), what would they know about statics, mechanics, kinematics, etc.? If they want to pursue any course in information technology (computer science, business), what do they know about programming, network analysis, problem solving, etc.? If they want to deal with language, what do they know about didactics, semantics, etc.? Virtually nothing.

Being Malaysians in a competitive era, we seem to favour short-cuts. We want to be over with studying. We want to venture into the working world as soon as possible. We want to start earning our first big bucks. STPM examinations seem to be for losers only. It is that kind of mentality that sometimes poison and eventually kill our minds, giving us the unnecessary distress that we could have avoided simply by being more patient.

Have I regretted doing my Foundation studies in UTP? Certainly not. I was offered the ASEAN Pre-U Scholarship too but I rejected it, knowing somehow that I would get the better offer from Petronas. But if Petronas had not offered me the sponsorship and I had rejected the ASEAN Scholarship offer from Singapore; and also assuming that I had applied for other scholarships but failed to secure one, would I go for STPM? Yes, and without any resentment. I wouldn't even consider doing A Level studies on my own. That's flat.

8 mad rant(s):

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  1. Shine said...


    Everything I want to say has already been said.

    As an addition, I just think that the idea of separating tertiary education into "college" aka pre-u and "university" is very silly.

    Over here in the states, it's pretty difficult for me to explain our education system structure to people, because for them, college is right after high school, and to them, university is just a collection of colleges.

    So there is no pre-u, there is only one phase in tertiary education (not counting post grad).

    In a way, I think that Malaysia is attempting to adopt this system as well, but I think it will be a HUGE risk, attempting to skip the pre-u phase.

    Like in America, they should merge pre-u and "u", and create a 4 year course instead (or 5 or 6, depending on the major). Abolish STPM or Matriculation, or implement them in university. This will make the process a lot easier for people who wish to study locally, and present less choices.

    The good thing is that it will undoubtedly improve the quality of education offered in local universities, competition FTW.

    The bad thing is that now there is an extra year in tuition fees. Students who wish to study in UK or Australia will then need to take A-Levels or SAM or whatever separately. Students who wish to study in US won't have to, as then our education system will be very similar (believe it or not, we learn a lot more in SPM than they do in high school).

    Oh well, just my two cents.

    I think it is a very good move, and time/cost saving for students in the long run, if implemented well.

    But it will be stupid if they allow SPM graduates to be able to apply directly. Then we will have another PTS crap. It is one of the biggest mistakes of both the government and me.  

  2. Anonymous said...

    Hmmm, I wonder since when we Wordpress users can comment using our Wordpress blog name.  

  3. Kwatra said...

    owh that is sooo relevant henry...


  4. Anonymous said...

    Sorry, bro, but I can't help experimenting this new technology, see?  

  5. huiwen7 said...

    I have been dormant in the blogosphere for almost 4 months, and my, what a change! Yeah, Wordpress users can FINALLY leave a comment. And Jaspreet, I know this is sooooo relevant, haha!  

  6. Biolovepulse said...

    I'm so surprised to read this. Common sense, they also don't know. Seriously, the ministry is bad at communicating with the public. Whether the SPM school leavers go straight into degree 1st year, or foundation studies, are not known to us.

    PTS has failed, they don't learn the lesson. How foolish they are, I'm so disappointed.  

  7. said...

    Very useful information, thanks so much for the post.  

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