Why not consider using SPM trial exam results instead of SPM forecast results for initial entry into pre-university and foundation programs?

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 2nd of October 2014

Instead of listening to the voices of the parents and students who will be affected by the latest Ministry of Education ruling to stop the use of forecast results for the initial entry into foundation and pre-university programs in private colleges and universities, the Minister of Education II, Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, has chosen to defend this foolish decision made by his Ministry.

The Minister of Education II was quoted to have said that the prohibition against SPM students using their forecast results to enrol into private colleges is “nothing new”.[1] In addition, in a statement issued by the Ministry of Education on Tuesday, 29th of September, 2014, the Ministry said that to say that the forecast results “can no longer be used” is not accurate since only actual SPM results were needed to enrol for matriculation, pre-university and diploma courses approved by the Ministry.[2]

Firstly, let me respond that it is not accurate for the Ministry to say that forecast results are used by private colleges and universities for enrolment into pre-university and foundation programs. It would be more accurate to say that initial entry into these programs are based on forecast results but that continued enrolment is based on the students achieving the conditional offer given by their respective colleges for their actual SPM results. Hence, if students fail to achieve these results, they would not allow to continue in these programs.

Secondly, the Ministry was reported to have said that ‘it was concerned with the quality of services offered by the institutions and that the regulation follows the “best practices” of the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA).’ If the Ministry feels that using the forecast results for initial entry into pre-university and foundational programs are not consistent with “best practices”, it needs to made known the number and % of students who gain entry into these programs but later do not fulfil the conditional offer. According to statistics presented by the Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities (MACPU), most schools reported a dropout rate due to the non-fulfilment of the SPM conditional offer at “less than 1% and 2%.”[3] Some schools even reported 0% of non-fulfilment of the SPM conditional offer.

Thirdly, if the Ministry feels that using the forecast results are somehow not consistent with “best practices” i.e. meaning that some schools artificially increase the forecast results so that they are better than the resulting SPM result , then why not allow the use of the SPM trial results for initial entry into the foundation and pre-university programs? After all, SPM trial results are set by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry can always ask the private colleges and universities to verify the SPM trial exam results online.[4]

We must be aware that the minimum requirements set by the MQA for entry into pre-university and foundation programs in private colleges is only 5 credits for any 5 SPM subjects. The likelihood that someone who is capable of obtaining 5 SPM credits in a trial exam and failing to achieve a similar standard for the actual SPM result is very low, as shown by the MACPU statistics above.

I strongly urge both Ministers of Education to listen to the voice of the students and parents and also of that of their own colleague in cabinet – Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong – who has publicly disagreed with this policy. The use of SPM forecast results for the initial entry into pre-university and foundation programs should be restored. If the Ministry, really has doubts about the accuracy and quality of using forecast results, the policy could easily be changed to using the official MOE approved SPM trial results for initial entry into these programs. The enrolment of these students can only be confirmed after their actual SPM results are released, which is the standard practice now.

[1] http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/09/30/Idris-Jusoh-SPM/

[2] http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/09/30/education-ministry-never-allow-spm-forecast-results/

[3] http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/09/28/Form-Five-students-unhappy-with-forecast-result-ruling/

[4] http://sapsnkra.moe.gov.my/ibubapa2/index.php