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Need to reform matriculation system

  • The existing pre-university systems have to be integrated and streamlined so that the issue of inequality in education opportunities can be fully addressed. Photo courtesy: Bernama

Sin Chew Daily

The list of matriculation intake has been released. Year after year, many students unable to get admitted have voiced up their appeals, while many non-bumi students are denied as a direct consequence of the quota system.

The education ministry has announced that the 90% bumi and 10% non-bumi quota will remain, and obviously our university admission is still very much determined along racial lines.

Unfortunately Pakatan Harapan has decided to inherit the BN way of doing things despite a change of federal government, much to the disappointment of many.

Prior to that, Sin Chew Daily has reported that under the intervention of prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the government would review the new policy in order to expand the matriculation intake.

A final decision was made by the cabinet yesterday to keep the existing racial quota but would increase the total intake from 25,000 to 40,000 spots. Following the increase, it is hoped that more non-bumi students will be able to get admitted in future.

In addition, the education ministry will also retain the 60% quota for students from the B40 income group.

Matriculation was designed to help bumi students get into local universities, especially in science courses. It was later opened to non-bumi students as well.

The PH government's move to retain the racial quota for matriculation intake is believed to have something to do with its bumi agenda. The increase in total intake and priority for B40 students are positive moves in this direction.

Matriculation is one of the thresholds for admission into local universities, Form Six being another. Both matriculation and Form Six are offering pre-university courses but if we were to look at them from the duration taken and point system, obviously matriculation has an edge over Form Six.

In its essence, matriculation and Form Six are not equal systems in the first place. Indeed, many people have no idea of the selection criteria and how the point system actually works

The increased matriculation intake of non-bumi students to a certain extent has provided fairer education opportunities for all Malaysians, but the first thing we must take into consideration is how to expand the physical infrastructure and availability of qualified teachers to cope with the increase.

The cabinet is mulling harnessing the resources at teacher training institutes. Prior to this, some PH lawmakers have proposed that the government work with private institutes.

The government's financial capability is yet another question. The government cannot infinitely expand the intake just to satisfy the demand for matriculation spots. It must also take care of other pre-university classes to ensure that all students can gain access to the resources equally.

In view of this, the most ideal way of reforming the country's tertiary education is to integrate and streamline the existing pre-university systems so that matriculation will no longer be the prioritized threshold for admission into local universities and the issue of inequality in education opportunities can be addressed.

This will allow the students to compete on an equal footing so that all Malaysians have equal access to education opportunities.

 

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