(September 30): The Education Ministry today said that it had never allowed forecast Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) results to be used for admission into pre-university programmes, and that private institutions of higher learning already knew this.
In a report in The Star Online today, the ministry quoted the Private Higher Educational Institutions Act 1996, which stipulated that only the actual SPM results were allowed when enrolling for matriculation, pre-university and diploma courses which are approved by the Ministry.
“To say that the forecast results 'can no longer be used' is not accurate,” the ministry was quoted as saying.
The ministry also clarified that forecast results could only be used by foreign students who wanted to apply for a visa to study here, according to The Star.
The Star on Sunday reported on a ministry circular sent to private colleges and universities in May prohibiting the use of forecast SPM results as an entrance requirement.
Forecast results are based on the trial exam which students sit for in September, while the official exam is held in November, with results issued by the end of March the following year.
Bernama reported Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh saying that the trial exam results could only be used for short-term courses such as music and English.
Idris said only official exam results were accepted so as to ensure that the courses applied to were of high quality and were in line with standards set by the Malaysian Qualifying Agency (MQA).
He refuted claims that the ministry had made a hasty decision.
"This is not a surprise or a new thing for the IPTS (private institutions of higher learning) as they have known earlier and understood the prohibition of using SPM trial results for long-term courses", Bernama quoted Idris as saying.
News of the circular had private institutions, parents and students in an uproar. Many were unhappy that the move would cause an eight to nine-month delay for students who opted for private higher education from beginning their tertiary studies in January.
Students who complained 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.
“The Ministry is aware of the waiting period while waiting for the actual SPM results. We have never stopped those who have completed the SPM exam to enroll in short courses offered by the private institutions,” The Star reported the ministry as saying in response.
The ministry also added that all institutions of higher learning were aware of this ruling and that it was concerned with the quality of services offered by these schools.
The report also said that the ministry had fined several institutions in 2012 and 2013 for breaking the law and had subsequently issued a circular on the matter in May this year, warning the colleges not to allow the use of forecast results as an admission requirement.
Form Five students have been using forecast results to gain entry into private pre-university programmes for the past 30 years, and about 30,000 students register for such courses yearly with their trial results.