Is this the death blow to the right of our children to pursue the best education overseas?

Posted on April 6, 2012


The local universities are the butt of jokes amongst the international academia.

If before, Universiti Malaya was not too far adrift from Singapore University, the gulf between the two now is so wide, it almost seems unlikely that we will ever catch up.

So, for those who had the means or were willing to sacrifice the little comforts in life to send their children off to foreign universities, it was at least comforting that a good result in the STPM exams ( in my days, it was the Higher School Certificate or HSC ), long recognised as equivalent to the Cambridge ‘A’ levels, was accepted by many major foreign universities for entry into their halls of study.

This, though, may soon be a thing of the past.

FreeMalaysiaToday reported Hindraf’s Sambulingam questioning the new format of the STPM format, announced on 6th March, 2012 by the Malaysian Examination Council.

Under the new format, there will no longer be an evaluative examination after  a two year ( lower six and upper six) period of preparation.

Instead, the evaluation will now be based on performance in three school-based examinations spread out over the same two-year period.

Sambu is reported as saying that he has written to the Higher Education Ministry for clarification but, to-date, has not received a satisfactory response.

He has also written to the foreign missions of UK, India, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

To-date, he has had a reply from the British High Commission which has left him convinced that the British educational authorities and institutions  are in the dark on this latest move by the Malaysian authorities.

Have the Malaysian educational authorities sought confirmation from foreign educational authorities and institutions that this new format will not result in the STPM no longer being recognised as satisfying entry requirements into  those foreign enducational institutions?

I cannot agree with Sambu’s view that “the new system will only hurt the poor Indians most”, as it will potentially impact upon every child who aspires to pursues a tertiary education overseas upon completion of his or her sixth form studies.

However, we are indebted to both Hindraf and Sambu for bringing to public attention a matter of public importance that, like that of Lynas and so many others, the government proceeds upon without adequate public consultation.

Like Lynas, this too is another national  issue that we must not allow to proceed to implementation until we have been fully consulted and are fully appraised of the ramifications to the future prospects of our children to pursue their tertiary education at foreign centres of learning of their choice.