investigation of matriculation students with 3.7 and 3.8 CGPA being being
rounded off with an overall score of 4.0 CGPA for purposes of entry into
- on the 2003 Supplementary Estimates
by Lim Kit Siang
(Dewan Rakyat, Monday): Recently, there was the short-lived but baseless furore over a syndicate on STPM and SPM forged certificates.
Doubts were cast on the credibility, integrity and honour of the STPM “top scorers”, especially the 527 STPM candidates last year who had scored the perfect score of 4.0 cumulative grade point average (CGPA), when in actual fact, not a single forged STPM certificate had been uncovered publicly.
DAP fully supports the most severe action to ensure that public confidence in the authenticity of STPM, SPM and all educational certificates in the country is not undermined in any manner – including an in-depth investigation into the true academic record of everyone of the 1,774 STPM candidates last year who achieved the perfect score of CGPA, i.e. 1,247 matriculation and 527 STPM students.
I have received credible information that last year, some matriculation students who obtained 3.7 and 3.8 CGPA for their first and second semesters are given an overall score of 4.0 CGPA, when it should be 3.75. The Higher Education Ministry should conduct an independent inquiry to establish how extensive is such a malpractice.
For the University of Malaya medical intake this year, there is a total of 175 students, comprising 96 Bumiputras (54.8%), 69 Chinese (39.4%) and 10 Indians (5.7%).
This year, STPM students make up only some 35 of the total intake, making the intake one of 20% STPM students and 80% matriculation students. Out of the 35 STPM students in the University of Malaya medical faculty, 30 are Chinese and the remaining five Indians.
The vast drop in STPM students in the University of Malaya medical faculty intake is a matter of grave concern although the number of STPM “top scorers” total 527 in the 2003 STPM exam.
A scrutiny of the results of the successful students into the University of Malaya medical faculty would give the familiar finding of previous years – all STPM top scorers have a record of equally excellent SPM results, whereas the top scorers of matriculation, particularly Malay students, have much poorer SPM results – with some having grades as low as C6 for Biology and Additional Mathematics.
In addition, matriculation students for last year had only three subjects compared to the minimum four by STPM students.
Should there be 10 students repeating their first year this session, there would be a total of 185 first-year medical students divided into 10 laboratories - about 18 per lab, with 5 labs with 19 students. As each lab is assigned to one lecturer only, this would make a lecturer-student ratio of 1:18. For Anatomy classes/tutorials, two labs are combined into one, giving a lecturer-student ratio of 1:36. This ratio is higher than some Form Six classes in certain schools.
The Minister for Higher Education had said that the Ministry wanted to ensure that at the clinical stage, the doctor-student ratio is 1:4, although it is being strained to increase to 1:6. I understand that the doctor-student ratio of 1:4 or 1:6 for medical students at the clinical stage in the public medical schools has long been a myth – for at present, the doctor-student ratio in the clinical stage in the University of Malaya medical school is as high as 1:30, with students making giant ward rounds in a group of 15 students to one lecturer, until they are now divided into sub-groups of 8 students or half-day rounds every alternate day!
These are not good conditions towards greater academic excellence where Malaysian institutions of higher learning could acquire international recognition and esteem for quality education.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman