Malaysiakini Letter

Bright bumi kids also victim of Little Napoleons

Published:  |  Modified:

Four students, three with 10As in their SPM and one with 12 As were all rejected for a JPA scholarship to do medicine and were given one of two choices. Matriculation in a government matriculation center, or Asasi Sains (Foundation in Science), University Malaya. All chose UM.

One year later, after going through a completely disorganised Asasi Sains UM program run by part-time, poorly committed lecturers who had trouble conversing in English, rushed syllabuses and a ‘tidak-apa’ (couldn’t care less) attitude taken by both the Asasi management and the VC, the students literally struggled through cramped daytime and nighttime classes to complete the course in lecture halls numbering sometimes 200 a class.

But they struggled because they all wanted to do medicine. One year later the results are announced. Three of the 10 As students get 3.75, 3.7 and 3.45 while the 12 As student scores 3.85.

All then applied to do medicine. None got their choice of medicine either at the UM or any other IPTA that offers medicine! In fact some were then offered nursing, perhutanan, biomedical sciences, and pharmacy. Counsellors at the Ministry of Education, Putrajaya were very clinical about their argument saying for medicine the score must be a CGPA of 4.0, dentistry 3.9 and Pharmacy 3.8 respectively.

But the story does not end there. Their colleagues from various schools who did not do so well and scored between 4As and 6As in their SPM were offered and took up places at the government run matriculation programs and were offered courses at various locations in Penang, Jasin, Banting etc. And, believe it or not, all scored 4.0 flat in their final exams.

And this is what takes the cake - all are offered medicine, one of them at Universiti Malaya!

This is not subtle dishonesty but overt, bordering on fraud. The university system has clearly been manipulated by a non-standardised ‘Foundation Studies’ scheme. The perpetrators are the Ministry of Education and the universities themselves.

The government and cabinet or its various ministers in the Education Ministry may not know what’s going on but this is what the Little Napoleans at the Ministry of Education are quietly getting away with.

The system is hopelessly flawed and I can’t wait for Bersih 3.0. I want to really get this government out. It appears that among the so-called bumi fraternity, the cheating is even more horrendous with sabotage taking a new form and a new level.

On repeated questioning at the MOHE’s new block, now located at the edge of Dengkil in Putrajaya, the counter girls say that all foundation examinations, be it the matriculation or asasi are all the same. They further claim that their system is transparent and the foundation programmess in both universities and government institutions are standardised. And places offered are purely on merit. I have news for the MOHE. They are not!

On questioning the head of program at the Asasi Sains Program at Universiti Malaya, her answer is – there are too many 10A students in Asasi and she has been instructed to make the exams as difficult as possible and raise the bar so that as many as possible don’t get the 4.0 CGPA!

Conversely, this would mean, the Universiti Malaya is conniving with MOHE officials to create a back door entry to universities for candidates with poorer SPM results but get a CGPA 4.0 in the easier matriculation programs.

Is this a tactic by the Little Napoleans in the Ministry of Education to keep brighter bumiputeras out of choice programmes? For bumi parents like us, especially for lower middle-income groups, we now realise that it was a horrendous mistake to have sent our children to Asasi Sains UM.

Clearly the UM authorities were less then professional. The kid with a CGPA of 3.45 has a tough time now applying to even IMU, AIMST etc, as 3.45 is seen to be a low score. One year of their life have been destroyed by the crooked system UM employs to run their Asasi program.

I would like to suggest that all these lop-sided foundation programmes run by the government be immediately scrapped and either the STPM or A-levels be instituted as the standard foundation program for university entries to prevent all this deceit by both university and Ministry of Education authorities.

On second thought, it would be better to make the A-levels as the standard entry requirement, knowing that our infamous Ministry officials may even try to manipulate the STPM results.

Enough is enough! They say everyday problems others face and you choose to ignore because you think it will never affect you will never come to your doorstep. Our family today is facing the brunt of a dim prospect for our kid.

We will probably need to mortgage our house to put him through medical school. But it would be worth it. Meanwhile, I wait anxiously for the announcement of the date for Bersih 3.0.

With a clean and fair electoral system, our immediate objective is to remove this corrupt and irresponsible government out of office for good and clean up the civil service.

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