Call for an independent education panel to examine and evaluate the system adopted by the Malaysian Examinations Council to grade STPM results to correspond with matriculation's cumulative grade point average (CGPA) for university admissions this year to ensure that it is not comparing an apple with an orange
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Saturday): The results of the Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) 2002 set a record in examination history when 624 candidates scored grade A compared to 430 students in 2001, i.e. 40 with 5As and 584 with 4As in the 2002 STPM compared to 34 candidates with 5As and 396 with 4As in STPM 2001. A total of 40,714 STPM candidates also passed with at least one principal.
Penang stands proud in the STPM results last year, producing the highest number of grade A students with nine students with 5As and 140 students with 4As, followed by Perak, which had seven with 5As and 90 with 4As. SMJK Jit Sin takes national pride of place as the school with the highest number of 5A students - four - while SMJK Perempuan Cina Penang, with SMK Tinggi Melaka and SMK Tunku Ampuan Durah in Seremban have three students with 5As each.
Penang also leads the nation with SMJK Perempuan Cina Penang with the highest number of 34 students with 4As, followed by SMJK Sam Tet in Ipoh (33), SMJK Chung Ling in Seberang Prai (30), SMJK Chung Ling in Penang (23), SMK Keat Hwa in Alor Star and SMJK Jit Sin, Bukit Mertajam (both 21).
Penang schools, their principals, teachers and students, can hold their heads high in giving new meaning to the motto "Penang Leads" from the STPM 2002 results, especially as 23.8% of the 624 candidates who scored grade A come from Penang, or 22.5% of the 40 candidates with 5As and 23.9% the 584 candidates with 4As.
Penang together with Perak also produced the country's top STPM students in 2002 - Cheong Chee Yen from SMK Seri Kampar and Khur Boon Kgim from SMJK Jit Sin in Bukit Mertajam.
With the release of the STPM 2002 results, the nation must focus attention on the system of admissions to the public universities this year - so that the joys over the STPM results would not be soured by unfairness and injustices in the public university entrance selection system as had marred recent years, most notably in the past two years.
Yesterday, the Malaysian Examination Council (MEC) chief executive Termuzi Abdul Aziz announced that the MEC had introduced a new system to grade the 2002 STPM results to correspond with the cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of the matriculation system for purposes of admission selection into the public universities this year.
DAP calls for the immediate establishment of an independent
education panel to examine and evaluate the system adopted by the MEC to
grade STPM results to correspond with matriculation's CGPA for university
admissions this year and to submit a report to Parliament in its forthcoming
meeting beginning on March 10
The director of the Higher Education Department of the Education Ministry, Professor Dr. Hassan Said had even claimed last year that the "special formula" it had used to match the one-year matriculation results with the two-year STPM grades for the "merit-based" university entrance selection system gave an "advantage" to STPM students and was "unfair" to the matriculation students.
Nobody believed Hassan's assertion. In any event, nobody wants any system which is unfair and arbitrary, whether to the matriculation or STPM students. This is why the country must learn from the furore last year, which is not conducive to the development of an united Malaysian nation, by ensuring openness, accountability and transparency in the public universities admission process this year.
An independent panel of educationists from both the public and private sector should be established to examine and evaluate the new system adopted by the MEC to grade STPM results to correspond with matriculation's CGPA for university admissions this year to ensure that this is not another exercise of comparing an orange with an apple.
This independent evaluation panel, which should invite public views and inputs, should submit its report to Parliament by early April to allow for the benefit of a full parliamentary debate before the final selections for admissions to the public universities this year.
The only satisfactory solution to a fair, transparent and
merit-based public university selection process is to have a common
university entrance examination for all public universities in Malaysia -
either by having only STPM or matriculation for all university-bound
students, or establishing a common university entrance examination for all
pre-university students vying for places in the public universities, whether
from the STPM or matriculation systems.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman