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Unified Examination Certificate: Are the criticisms justified?

KINIGUIDE | The Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) has been a political hot potato in Malaysia for decades.

The UEC was mentioned in both the BN and Pakatan Harapan election manifestoes for their 14th general election campaigns.

When Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching said she aims to have the federal government confer official recognition for the examination by this year-end, she received brickbats from the likes of PAS and Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim).

But what is the UEC? Is the criticism against it justified? In this instalment of KiniGuide, we’ll take a quick class on the UEC and the contentious issue of conferring it official recognition.

What is the UEC?

The UEC is a standardised test administered by the Malaysian Independent Chinese Secondary Schools Working Committee (MICSS) since 1975, which in turn is represented by members of the United Chinese School Committees' Association (Dong Zong) and United Chinese School Teachers' Association (Jiao Zong). The two associations are also jointly known as Dong Jiao Zong.

The joint committee offers the Junior Middle Level (UEC-JML) and the Senior Middle Level (UEC-SML) examinations, and as well as a vocational training certificate (UEC-V).

It also develops the curriculum for Chinese independent high schools.

These examinations are conducted in 60 Chinese independent high schools as part an education that lasts six years, though some schools also offer an additional year for students who want to prepare to sit for the STPM examination as a means to expand their opportunities for employment and further education.

According to Dong Zong’s website, there were 10,217 UEC candidates last year. For comparison, there were 43,042 STPM candidates that year...

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