The curriculum of the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) should be amended before it is recognised by the Education Ministry, Islamic social activist group Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim) said today.
In a statement, the group's secretary-general Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz said that the system should be in line with the national education policy, which emphasises the primacy of Bahasa Malaysia.
"Abim takes note that the plan (to recognise UEC) is aimed at benefitting about 3,000 students who complete their education with UEC certificates every year, at 60 Chinese independent high schools.
"The standard of Bahasa Malaysia in UEC should be made to be on par with the standard of the subject at the SPM level," he said.
Recognising the UEC without doing so, Faisal cautioned, could see “confusion” being created in the country’s education system, and worsen polarisation between the races and religions in the country.
His statement follows Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching stating yesterday that she aims to have the UEC officially recognised by year-end.
Teo said the recognition can be discussed at the cabinet level for approval, and there is no need to bring the matter to Parliament – as the government had previously granted recognition to the A-levels certificate without debating it in the Dewan Rakyat.
Education Minister Maszlee Malik, however, said that the government will conduct a holistic study before making a decision on whether to recognise UEC.
Scrap UEC recognition
PAS, meanwhile, urged the government to scrap any plans to officially recognise UEC, as it would affect the unity and harmony between the multiple races in the country.
In a statement released in party organ Harakah yesterday, PAS information chief Nasrudin Hassan chided DAP for "ignoring the voice of the rakyat, academics, professionals, NGOs and political parties" opposed to the UEC by pushing for its recognition through Teo.
According to Nasruddin, the UEC runs contrary to the status quo of the country's education system in the form of its standards, syllabus and language.
"The two main strategies in the national education policy is making the national language (Bahasa Malaysia) as the medium of instruction in national educational institutions.
"The recognition of the UEC seems to allow the autonomy to not abide by existing policies and acts (in the national education system), and follow the orientations of countries like China and Taiwan," he alleged.
"PAS urges the government to stop this polemic. Recognising UEC will affect the racial unity and harmony in the country."
The UEC, which is issued to graduates of Chinese independent high schools, is currently recognised by local private higher education institutions and many universities overseas, as well as the Sarawak government.
The Malacca government had recently announced it will begin recognising the UEC as a formal qualification for entry into state civil service.