Most Read
Most Commented
From Our Readers
LETTER | Matriculation announcement exacerbates inequality, risks STPM

LETTER | Recently, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim announced that all students who achieve 10As or more in the SPM examinations will be guaranteed a spot in the matriculation programme regardless of their ethnic background.

However, the University Malaya Association of New Youth (Umany) believes that while this announcement appears progressive, it is in fact a populist policy that exacerbates inequity in the university admission mechanism.

Umany urges the government to clarify three major questions:

  • Without abolishing the quota system (90 for bumiputera and 10 percent) in the matriculation programme, is 10 percent sufficient for all 10A students? Do the criteria include A+, A, and A-?

    Has the government considered whether the current resource allocation and teaching staff are adequate to support this measure, or is it merely an empty promise?

    Assuming there are enough spaces, allowing all 10A non-bumiputera students into the matriculation programme while retaining the quota system will inevitably overcrowd the programme.

    This will lead to an overflow of students with a CGPA of 4.0, creating more grievances in the application process for popular university courses and further marginalising outstanding STPM students.

  • Why only 10A students eligible for it?

    The admission criteria for the science stream in the matriculation programme focus on four science subjects - Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Additional Mathematics.

    After the "10As announcement”, students who excel in these science subjects may not necessarily get a place in the matriculation programme.

    For example, a student with 10As including four A- in science subjects would be prioritised over a student with four A+ in science subjects but fewer than 10As overall.

    This will affect the standard of students in the matriculation programme. Furthermore, students from national type secondary schools typically take nine subjects, so this announcement will unfairly exclude them, further worsening admission inequality.

  • Is govt indirectly undermining STPM’s value?

    The prime minister’s announcement seems to acknowledge the matriculation programme as a shortcut to university admission, relegating the long-established and internationally recognised STPM to a last resort.

    In the 2018/2019 academic year, a total of 54,104 STPM and matriculation students applied to public universities through Unit Pusat Universiti (UPU), with 33,197 of them being STPM students and 20,907 being matriculation students.

    After the UPU and universities' selection processes, 24,375 STPM students and 20,269 matriculation students were admitted.

    If the number of matriculation slots increases further, it is foreseeable that STPM students will become even more disadvantaged.

In conclusion, Umany believes that the announcement is a short-sighted move by the government to placate the public, which not only fails to address the root cause of admission inequity but also exacerbates the problem.

Umany believes that a truly bold move would be to abolish the racial quota system and unify the pre-university admission mechanism.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

Please join the Malaysiakini WhatsApp Channel to get the latest news and views that matter.