groundwork for a career in health sciences



groundwork for a career in health sciences
In collaboration with
How this choice determines
your tertiary education
PAGES 2 & 15
PAGE 2 | NEW Straits TIMES wednesday, april 25, 2012
undergraduate focus PRE-U
Many options,
so choose wisely
ALL GOOD: The Malaysian government
offers a few pre-university choices for
Sijil Peperiksaan Malaysia (SPM) leavers
to prepare them for their enrollment
into universities. These are Sijil Tinggi
Peperiksaan Malaysia (STPM), Matrikulasi, Diploma and Asasi or Foundation
courses offered by schools and public
universities across the country. The Sijil
Tinggi Peperiksaan Malaysia (STPM)
certificate can be obtained through
two years of study in Form 6 at selected
secondary schools.
Those who have good results in their
SPMs can opt for the matriculation
programme. It’s a special programme
created for excellent students to fast
track their studies. It lasts for a year
and in some cases, two years depending on the individual. Candidates of
the programme are expected to continue their studies towards the degree
level. Ninety percent of matriculation
students are bumiputera citizens while
the remaining ten percent are allocated
for non-bumiputera.
A diploma programme is open for
all SPM students from all streams. The
duration for a diploma programme
takes about three years to complete
before diploma graduates could enroll
for a degree programme. Students who
choose the diploma route are mostly
interested in design, nursing and business students and skilled engineering.
This is because of the alternative of working after obtaining a diploma.
Foundation programmes or asasi
are programmes offered by universities
for students who want shorter time in
obtaining their degree. Foundation programmes offered are specific towards
their degree programme while some are
general, which prepares students for a
wider array of courses.
Private institutions in Malaysia offer
pre-university programmes as well. One
of the well-known programmes offered
is the Advanced Level General Certificate of Education or A-Levels. The A-levels
programme is getting more attention
from SPM leavers nowadays especially
those who opt to go for their undergraduate degrees overseas.
Public Institutions
Private Institutions
Asasi /
Asasi /
There are two pathways available in getting a pre-university qualification.
Public institutions offer four options and private institutions have a variety of choices.
The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme prepares students for
their university life. The duration of the
IB Diploma Programme is two years and
there are currently 2,544 universities in
over 75 countries that recognises IB’s
Diploma Programme.
The Australian Matriculation Programme (AUSMAT) is a pre-university
programme created by the Curriculum
Council of the Government of Western
Australia. Students are required to sit for
the Tertiary Entrance Examination (TEE)
which is equal to the Year 12 curriculum
of Western Australia. The South Australian Certificate (SAM) carries the same
weight as the AUSMAT. The common
duration is about eleven months but
an accelerated route of nine months is
The Canada Pre-University Programme (CPU) is a pre-university programme pioneered by Taylor’s College
that awards its graduates the Ontario
Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).
The programme lasts a year. Students
enrolled in this programme will receive
full Canadian education, preparing them
for their overseas studies.
The American Degree Programme
(ADP) is a four year degree programme
offered by some private institutions.
Students enrolled in this programme
will experience education based on
the United States system and graduate
with a degree after completion of the
For a more detailed, breakdown of
courses please see our centrespread. All
articles in this supplement are available
exam system
anushia kandasivam
he Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia
has been around for 30 years. In that
time, depending on who you ask, it has
been a blessing, a nuisance, or the torment
of thousands of Malaysian students.
But no matter which, there is no doubt
that the STPM, known as Form 6, is one
of the toughest and most prestigious preuniversity exams a hopeful young person
can take. The STPM is recognised by inter-
national universities, especially within the
Commonwealth, and even in the US, and is
considered by many to be equivalent to GCE
Besides advancing the curriculum with
the times, not much has changed with
the STPM, until now. Just this year, the
STPM examination policy was changed
from the accustomed terminal system
(a final exam at the end of the year) to a
new modular examination system — exams
at the end of every semester.
cont’ on page 15
Quick Facts
The new examination system combines two assessments:
School-based assessment with a weighting of 20-40 per cent of
the final score
Centralised examination with a weighing of 60-80 per cent of
the final score
The new grading system is similar to that of old sytem. Scores for
each term will be aggregated to determine the overall subject
grade. There is no prerequisite minimum pass grade in each term.
Students are allowed to retake first and second term exams at
the end of the third term if they are unsatisfied with their results.
The standards and recognition of the new STPM examination
system is similar to the old system.
Basic fee
Fee per subject
wednesday, april 25, 2012NEW Straits TIMES | PAGE 3
PAGE 4 | NEW Straits TIMES wednesday, april 25, 2012
undergraduate focus PRE-U
of a 5-star
utra Intelek International College was awarded the rating of ‘Tier
5: Excellent Category’ in the College-Based Category on the Malaysian Quality Evaluation System for Private Colleges (MyQUEST)
2010/2011, by the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia. In addition,
the college also achieved a five-star rating in cluster-based categories,
including social science, business and law.
“We are truly honoured and glad to have been awarded this rating. This
award is the recognition of our hard work and also our focus on the quality
of our risk, management and forensics studies,” says Barathan Muniyandi
Chief Executive Officer of Putra Intelek International College.
This award has officially
put PIIC in the 9th place of
the Top 20 Colleges in Malaysia. The audit was based on Programmes on
three factors — the college, offer at Putra Intelek
field of studies and readiness International College
to accept international students. The five main criteria PUTRA INTELEK INTERNATIONAL
of the rating process are stu- COLLEGE
dents, resources, and qual- • Diploma in Risk Management
ity of management system, • Diploma in Information Technology
program recognition and • Certified Risk Associate EIRM Denmark
graduate recognition.
MyQuest 2010/2011 • Certificate - English Language
measures the quality of a pri- Communication (5 levels)
vate college according to its
‘Input’ (quality of students Collaboration with MIDDLESEX
and resources), ‘Output’ UNIVERSITY OF LONDON
(programme recognition • BA Hons in Business Management and graduate recognition), • BA Hons in Accounting & Finance
and the Quality Manage- • BSc in Forensic Computing
ment System of the college.
Under the certification,
Malaysia’s private colleges are classified into six tiers – Tier 6 (Outstanding), Tier 5 (Excellent), Tier 4 (Very Good), Tier 3 (Good), Tier 2 (Satisfactory) and Tier 1 (Poor).
Out of a total of 210 private colleges in Malaysia that were audited, only
1.4 per cent of the colleges managed to attain the six-star rating, while 9.5
per cent attained a five-star rating, and 28.6 per cent attained four stars.
For more information,
Putra Intelek International College
is awarding full and partial
scholarships to students who have
attained exceptional academic
results. Scholarships worth a total
of RM6million have been allocated
for deserving Malaysian students.
Full scholarship
• SPM – Straight As
(Combination of A+, A, A-)
• STPM – Straight As
(Combination of A, A-)
Partial Scholarship
• Minimum 5As - SPM
(including Bahasa Malaysia,
English and Mathematics)
• STPM – Minimum 2As
• Diploma – First class
(3.75-4.00 CGPA)
*Only for PIIC diploma holders
Other requirements:
• The applicants must demonstrate records of participation in
extracurricular activities, such as club and societies, sports, community services and others.
• The applicant must possess
a good attitude and have good
leadership qualities.
• The applicants must be proficient in English and Bahasa Malaysia.
• The applicants should not be a
recipient of any other
scholarships, financial aid or
award from any education
institutions or organisations.
wednesday, april 25, 2012NEW Straits TIMES | PAGE 5
undergraduate focus
The college
of choice
ith more than 28 years of academic excellence, Methodist College Kuala Lumpur (MCKL) is fast becoming the college of choice
for many ambitious and high achieving secondary school leavers
seeking for a quality pre-university programme.
With its small campus, caring academicians and an environment that
places a great emphasis on academics, discipline and good values, MCKL
has earned itself a reputation as a college which nurtures students to
succeed academically as well as to develop into confident, sociable and
responsible individuals.
This is evident from the background of students who have been admitted into MCKL year after year. They include head prefects, club presidents,
team captains, school and state level debaters, musically talented students
and sportsmen and sportswomen who have excelled at state and even
international competitions, amongst others.
MCKL has been providing quality education in the best of Methodist tradition since 1983. In addition to the Edexcel A-levels programme,
MCKL also offers the Australian Matriculation (WACE), Diploma in Early
Childhood Education, Certified Accounting Technician (CAT), IELTS and
English Studies programmes.
For further information,
Students performing at the 2012 Orientation Ball.
PAGE 6 | NEW Straits TIMES wednesday, april 25, 2012
undergraduate focus PRE-U
Good start to a
healthy career
ime Darby Nursing and Health Sciences
College’s Foundation in Science Programme
is built firmly on the philosophy that students
should get the best education to enable them to
choose from the many undergraduate programmes offered in choice colleges and universities in
the country.
Approved by the Malaysian Qualification Agency and the Ministry of Higher Education, the programme serves as a strong building block that will
open up a myriad education opportunities.
Known as Sime Darby Healthcare College, the
institution is fully committed to nurturing wellrounded students who not only excel in their studies but also grow to be independent thinkers and
positive minded individuals with effective skills in
Health science prep: The Foundation in Science
programme’s success is made possible by a team
of well trained and highly qualified academicians
who take a proactive role in ensuring that students
receive a quality education.
An intensive one-year programme, the subjects covered in the foundation course include
chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, psychology, and computer application and technology.
The programme takes a problem-based approach,
and students receive personal attention. Together
with structured peer group discussions and presentations, this stimulates intelligence and sparks
innovations in learning.
The foundation programme enables students
to pursue a number of degrees, including in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, biotechnology, biomedical
science, food science and nutrition, dietetics, engineering, nursing, occupational safety and health,
and other health and science related courses.
Future planning: Entry into the Foundation in
Science Programme will of course be dependent
upon SPM results. Students should also keep in
mind that performance in the foundation programme and final results upon graduation of the
programme will largely influence the choice of
undergraduate programme they can pursue.
The college also encourages its students to take
active part in extra-curricular and corporate social
responsibility activities to enable them to obtain a
well-rounded education and expand their minds.
For more information,
A top scorer in Sime Darby Healthcare College’s Foundation in
Science programme, Maulika Rao received the Dean’s List Award:
“The credit goes to the dedicated team of lecturers. They knew my
weaknesses and helped me patiently. Getting the award would definitely be
out of reach for me if it was not for their guidance and perseverance.
Getting this award acts as a motivation for me to not only work harder,
but smarter, in order to attain the goals I want to achieve in the future.”
wednesday, APril 25, 2012NEW Straits TIMES | PAGE 7
undergraduate focus PRE-U
Industry input for
strong foundation
here are several interesting
choices for foundation students
at the Management and Science
University. After the one year foundation course, students can begin the first
year of their bachelor’s degree studies
in one of a multitude of disciplines.
For those who have keen interest
in the health sciences, MSU’s Foundation (Science Biology/Health Science)
programme is a good option. This is an
ideal programme for those interested
in continuing with the Bachelor of Surgery or Bachelor of Medicine (MBBS)
programmes and becoming a medical
Students may also progress into
bachelor’s programmes in biomedical
science, bioinformatics, food service
technology, medical science, optometry, nutrition, forensic science or
pharmacy at MSU through its faculty
or schools.
MSU also offers the Foundation in
Information Technology & Engineering, a programme designed to meet
the escalating demand for highly trai-
ned and skilled professionals in the
areas of sophisticated technologies.
Students can choose from several areas
of specialisation at the bachelor’s level,
including computer forensics, instructional multimedia, games design and
Students interested in the legal
profession might want to consider the
Foundation in Law. After having com-
pleted this programme, students will
be able to enrol in law programmes
such as the Bachelor in Law & Commerce at MSU.
The Foundation in Business is designed in view of the increasing demand
for professionals in business management and accounting. Areas of specialisation that students may choose at
the bachelor’s level include international business, accountancy, decision
science, investment management and
human capital management.
An emphasis on industry relevant
programmes has always been one of
MSU’s central tenets. The symbiosis
between academic curriculum and
industry inputs has been crucial in
determining the relevancy of its qualifications, resulting in 95 per cent of
MSU’s graduates securing employment
in the first six months after graduation.
For more information on MSU’s
foundation programmes: www.msu.
Is a future in accounting,
finance for you?
Choosing the right profession:
The ACCA Qualification is one that
trains aspiring accountants to have both
technical and analytical skills. “The ACCA
Qualification combines technical exams
and requirements with practical handson business experiences giving our trainees transferable skills in any business role
they walk into, whatever the industry,”
says Lopez.
This, in fact, busts the myth that a
person with an accounting degree can
only work as an accountant. With a
qualification like ACCA’s, trainees have
the freedom to choose from various
occupations, including forensic accounting, investment management, and risk
Myths and misconceptions: There
A vibrant industry: “This is a very
exciting time for new accountants to
join the profession,” continues Lopez.
“As business expectations of the finance
function increase and regulations
become more complex, the accounting
profession has become more challenging, more interesting, and more integral to a successful business.” An ACCA
Qualification can certainly be a passport
to success.
Deciding on the right career can be
quite daunting, but it is a decision students should make before pursuing their
higher education.
The accounting profession remains
one of the most sought-after and
respected professions. From giant corporations to small private businesses,
every organisation depends on qualified
accountants to sustain their business.
The ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), the global body for professional accountants,
certainly understands what the industry requires of the next generation of
are still some people who do not fully
understand what accountants do. A common myth is that accountants are only
number crunchers and paper pushers.
“What most do not realise is that
accountants of today are increasingly
depended upon to look beyond the numbers to provide strategic business counsel,” says Jennifer Lopez, ACCA Malaysia’s
Country Head. “Accounting is no longer
just about compliance but also performance and providing strategic value to the
To find out more about the ACCA,
PAGE 8 | NEW Straits TIMES
wednesday, april 25, 2012
NEW Straits TIMES | PAGE 9
undergraduate focus PRE-U
The government matriculation is a pre-university programme offered
by the government which offers courses in the fields of science and
accounting. It is known as a fairly easy programme and is recognised
by all public and most local private institutions of higher learning and
a limited number of universities in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and
Indonesia. The intake of students for matriculation consists of 90 per
cent bumiputera and 10 per cent non-bumiputera.
There are two types of programmes offered in Matriculation. The
Program Satu Tahun (PST) and Program Dua Tahun (PDT) which offers
one year and two years’ of study respectively. The PST involves all students from all of the streams offered
– science, accounting and technical
streams and the PDT is only open for
bumiputera students under the science stream.
In order to enter the science stream
of a matriculation course, students
should have obtained at least credits in Bahasa Malaysia, English,
additional mathematics, chemistry and either physics, biology or any
technical subject. As for the accounting stream, students should have
obtained at least credits in Bahasa Malaysia, English, mathematics and
accounting, and either economics, science, commerce, physics, chemistry, biology or any technical subject.
Tuition fees for matriculation students are subsidised by the government, but they do impose a registration fee and the rates vary according
to each stream. An added benefit of opting for Matriculation is that
each student receives an allowance of RM1,250 per semester.
The best characteristic of Matriculation is that it is done in a boarding
school environment and so, students are able to concentrate and focus
on their studies without much distraction. In addition, a few other great
factors to consider are that it is a faster way of getting to a degree than
having to do a diploma, it is subsidised and that students also receive
allowances every semester.
However, students who choose matriculation have to bear in mind
that this option limits their choices of degree destinations. As stated
above, while this programme is recognised by all the public institutions
of higher learning and most private institutions in Malaysia, only a few
universities overseas will accept students who completed the course.
College Foundations are preparatory programmes offered by private
institutions. Students who take these programmes will ultimately continue their degree at the same institution, in the same course. Therefore, students who opt for college foundations are usually those who
have made up their minds about
which course they want to take,
and where. Because of this, the
programmes are catered towards
specific courses and the student is
able to complete their whole course
of study in a much shorter time.
The structure of the course varies according to the institution that offers it, but college foundations
usually take a year to complete, upon which the student will continue
with a degree programme. With most college foundation programmes,
interested students need to have at least five credits in SPM, preferably
related to their chosen course of study.
Due to the fact that these programmes are catered towards specific
degree programmes, most college foundation programmes are only
recognised at the respective universities that offer them. Students have
to continue their degree at the same institution where they underwent
the programme and there is a slim chance of them furthering their
studies elsewhere.
Going for a college foundation programme helps a student earn their
degree a little bit faster than the traditional pathway of going through
a diploma first. This is especially appealing to those who would like to
enter the working world a little faster than most of their peers.
However, taking this programme may limit their options later on.
Students from foundation programmes are not accepted into IPTAs
and are rarely able to switch from one institution from another.
undergraduate focus PRE-U
Originating from Switzerland, the International Baccalaureate is considered a diploma programme and runs for the duration of two years.
It is said to be a very challenging course, and is recognised by all private
universities around the world. Students of IB can enrol in any university
and course in the world.
IB students are required to study for six courses at higher or standard level. Students are to choose one subject each from groups of
five academic areas – Group 1 consists of studies in language and
literature, Group 2 on language acquisition, Group 3 on individuals and
societies, Group 4 on experimental sciences, Group 5 on mathematics and computer science and Group 6 on the arts. As for the sixth
subject, students are allowed to choose either a subject from Group
6 or another subject from groups 1 to 5.
In addition to those six subjects, students are also required to
write an extended essay which has them researching in-depth about
a question related to one of the subjects they are studying. Students
also have to follow a theory of
knowledge course (TOK) which has
them reflecting on the nature of
knowledge and participate in creativity, action, service (CAS), which
requires them to actively learn
from the experience of doing real
tasks outside of the classroom.
Towards the end of the course,
students have to sit for written examinations.
In order to gain entrance into an IB course, students need to have
obtained above average results in SPM. They need to sit for an entrance
exam and subsequently attend an interview.
As compared to other pre-university courses, IB involves a wider
range of educational skills, since it includes basic education, action and
service-oriented activities.
The Advanced Level programme, or
more famously known as the A-levels
is a popular pre-university course in
Malaysia. Considered as the equivalent of the UK’s Form 6, this programme is widely known and accepted
all over the world, due to the wideness of its scope. The duration of the
A-levels is a lot longer than most of the other pre-university options.
While most are conducted within the span of a year, this programme
can go up to 18 months.
There are two governing bodies for the A-levels – Cambridge and
Edexcel. The Cambridge A-levels is conducted in two phases, which
consists of the Advanced Subsidiary (AS) examinations and Advanced
Two (A2) examinations while the Edexcel A-levels are conducted in
units, where grades are based on the average of the total mark of
all the units.
Students can take a minimum of three subjects and a maximum
of four. In addition, Malaysian students also need to take Malaysian
studies and either moral or Islamic studies.
Those who are interested in pursuing the A-levels are required
to have obtained at least five credits in SPM, including in English.
Besides SPM, those who sat for the GCE O-levels are also qualified
to take the A-levels.
The best characteristic of this programme is obviously the fact
that it is accepted and recognised worldwide. In addition, recently, the
Ministry of Higher Education awarded autonomy status to five public
universities – University of Malaya (UM), Universiti Sains Malaysia
(USM), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Universiti Kebangsaan
Malaysia (UKM) and University Putra Malaysia (UPM), which gives
them the freedom to decide their own entry requirements for their
courses. As of now, USM, UTM, UKM and UPM accept A-levels students into all of their courses, while UM accepts them for some of
their courses. This shows that the A-levels does not just allow the
student to go anywhere outside of the country, it is also opening up
local opportunities. However, A-levels is quite an expensive option
with total cost being in the range of RM10,000 to RM25,000.
Asasi is a foundation course offered by the government, tailored to
a specific university’s degree programme. The programme is usually
a year in duration, but may stretch up to two years, since students
need to complete 38 credit hours. Most Asasi
programmes are only offered to bumiputera
students, with the exception of Asasi Sains
Pertanian offered by UPM, UKM’s ASASIpintar
and all of UPNM’s Asasi programmes. As with
the matriculation programme offered by the
government, there are two types of Asasi programmes – the one year
programme (PST) and the two-year programme (PDT).
Asasi programmes are offered by UM, UIAM, UiTM, UPNM, USIM,
UPNM, USM, UNIMAS and UKM. The fields offered are law, science,
accounting, engineering and TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language).
As stated above, students who are interested in enrolling in an Asasi
programme need to have bumiputera status (except for UPNM, UPM’s
Asasi Sains Pertanian and UKM’s ASASIpintar) with a minimum of five
credits in the SPM examinations, including in Bahasa Malaysia.
Similar to the Matriculation programme, Asasi programmes are also
subsidised by the government. Students get to study for free and on top
of that, they are also given allowance of RM1,250 each semester.
For most of the asasi courses, students who meet the minimum
requirements will then be accepted to do their degrees at the same
university that they completed their Asasi in. However, students of
Asasi UM and certain programmes from Asasi UiTM have to reapply
through the UPU to get a place either in the same university or any
other university. Asasi students of other universities are not allowed
to switch, therefore, those who intend to opt for Asasi should be very
sure as to which pathway they intend to take for their education.
The good thing about taking this programme is that students are
able to specialise very early on and enter the working world faster than
their peers who are taking diploma programmes. However, should they
decide halfway that the course taken is not suited for them, it would
be very difficult to switch to another course or another university.
Students should also bear in mind that should they fail to complete the
programme successfully, they have to pay back the full amount that
was awarded to them by the government, and start over.
Form 6 is a pre-university programme that is provided by the government. It is taught in selected secondary schools around Malaysia and
is recognised worldwide because of its toughness. The duration of the
programme is a year and a half. Previously, students had to sit for a major
examination at the end of the programme – the STPM. However, beginning this year, the Malaysian Examinations Council (MEC) changed the
structure and introduced a more modular format for the STPM.
The programme is still a year and a half long, but it is now divided
into three semesters. Instead of having to sit for one big examination,
students are evaluated after each semester, and both their final exams
and their coursework or assignments are taken into account in the evaluation. Students are also allowed to re-sit for their semester examinations
should they receive unsatisfactory results. This change of format was
done in order to better equip students to adapt to tertiary level studies
when they enter the universities to do their degrees.
Students are required to take
a minimum of four subjects and a
maximum of five, which includes
the compulsory subject, Pengajian
Am. In addition, students are also
required to take the Malaysian University English Test (MUET). STPM
uses the Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) system, where the
average of the top four subjects are rounded up to two decimal points.
The programme is open to all who sat for the SPM examinations.
The programme is usually automatically offered to those who didn’t get
a place in the public institutions of higher learning and matriculation.
However, candidates who did their SPM privately, or in private schools
are required to register separately at a government school. Students
who sat for the UEC are not eligible to enter the programme.
For a long time, Form 6 or STPM was not a popular option amongst
students, because it was considered one of the toughest programmes,
and also because they had to remain in schools and put on uniforms.
However, taking into account that the programme is the cheapest preuniversity option (basic fee is only RM120.00, with additional RM90.00
per subject), it is actually a very good option for those who did not get a
place in public universities and cannot afford to pay their way through
private institutions.
This is also a great avenue for students who want to eventually continue their studies in private institutions of higher learning. Bearing in
mind that PTPTN does not offer loans for pre-university programmes,
students can enrol in Form 6, and once they’ve completed their studies, enter the institution of their choice and apply for PTPTN to fund
their degree.
Form 6/ STPM
The American Degree Programme/American Degree Transfer Programme (ADP/ADTP) is not so much a pre-university programme,
but more of a degree programme offered to students who have just
completed their SPM examinations. The programme takes place over
the course of approximately four years, two of which will be spent in
Malaysia, and the other two at an overseas university, usually (but not
limited to) the US.
A point to note here is that transAmerican Degree
fer to an overseas university is not
guaranteed. Upon completion of
Degree Transfer
the intial two years in Malaysia, stuProgramme (ADP/ADTP)
dents are required to apply to their
university of choice (subject to a list
of universities that accept the ADP/
ADTP) and be accepted into the university. Only then will their credits
be transferred and they can proceed to completing their degree for
the next approximately two years. Students are also required to sit
for either the IELTS or TOEFL before proceeding to the second part
of the programme.
Students can take up to six subjects per semester. They are allowed
to choose their own subjects as long as those subjects are related to the
degree course they intend to take. Grading is done using the Cumulative
Grade Point Average (CGPA) system and coursework plays a big part
in the grading, besides the written examinations.
Those who are interested in pursuing this programme should have
obtained at least five credits during the SPM examinations. For those
who sat for the UEC, a minimum of 3Bs and 2Cs are required.
What is unique about this programme is that it’s a much faster route
to getting a degree. Basically, the more subjects a student takes during
a semester, the faster they will be awarded their degree. Essentially,
they are able to get a degree four years after SPM, or even less.
The South Australian Matriculation (SAM) and AUSMAT are programmes
that are equivalent to the Year 12 pre-university Australian high school
course. SAM is accredited by the South Australian Certification of Education whilst AUSMAT is accredited by the West Australian Government.
These programmes are widely recognised in Australia, in most institutions
in Malaysia and New Zealand and some universities in the US. Lately, some
universities in India and the UK are also starting to accept it.
Generally, it takes one year for a student to
the programme. However, they are
South Australian
given the flexibility to finish it over a longer period
Matriculation (SAM)
of time. Students have to complete 90 to 100
credits and have to sit for five subjects including
English Studies or English as a Second Language.
The other subjects must include at least one subject each from the two lists below:
List 1
List 2
German, Malay
accounting studies, applicable mathematics,
calculus, information systems, human
biology, physics, chemistry
In addition, students from Malaysia are required to sit for Bahasa
Malaysia (depending on their results in SPM), Malaysian Studies and
moral or Islamic studies.
Although both programmes hold essentially the same credibility, SAM
is more dependent on coursework whilst AUSMAT depends largely on
the final examinations.
A point worth noting is that while these programmes are also accepted
in various institutions around the world, students who enter the programme are usually those who have made up their minds to continue
their tertiary education in Australia.
In order to gain entrance into SAM/AUSMAT, a student needs to have
obtained at least five credits during SPM, including in the English Language. Students can also apply for the programmes using their forecast
The Canadian Pre-University (CPU) programme is a one-year course which
prepares students for entrance into university. The programme is equivalent to the Ontario Secondary School Year 12, which means that students
undergo a full Canadian-based programme. Upon completion, students
will be awarded the Ontario Secondary School Diploma. The programme
is accepted in any university in Canada and also recognised throughout the
US, UK, Europe, Asia and Australia. Generally, students who should apply
to this programme are those who wish to continue their studies in Canada,
since it gives them a chance to get used to the Canadian syllabus.
The programme is generally two to three semesters long, and consists of six subjects. In Malaysia, students are also required to sit for the
compulsory Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) subjects – Bahasa
Kebangsaan A (for those who obtained grade C and below for BM SPM),
Pengajian Malaysia and either Pendidikan
Moral or Pengajian Islam. In addition, students
also need to undergo 10 hours of community
service (which also includes contributions made
online) and sit for the Ontario Secondary School
Literacy Test, which assesses their reading and
writing skills.
Grades are 70 per cent reliant on coursework and 30 per cent on final exams. Those who are interested will need to
obtain at least five credits in SPM, including English, science and maths.
What separates the CPU from many of its counterparts is its heavy
dependence on coursework. Students are continuously assessed throughout the duration of their study, with assignments and presentations. As
opposed to the traditional programmes that are dependant on final exams,
this aspect of CPU ensures that its students come out as performancebased individuals. On top of that, CPU also imposes a 10-hour community
service stint to its students, a unique characteristic that is not available in
any other pre-university course. This gives its students very good understanding of community work and makes them valuable assets who aren’t
just excellent academically but holistically as well.
PAGE 10 | NEW Straits TIMES wednesday, april 25, 2012
undergraduate focus PRE-U
jaron chen
HE greatest question for a student deciding on his or her path
now would be the appropriate
pre-university path to follow to obtain
their degree in a few years’ time.
STPM vs Matriculation
Before the establishment of the
matriculation programme by the government, STPM was the necessary
path students take to enter a university. STPM requires students to attend
classes in schools for two years before
sitting for a trial STPM and the real
examination itself.
Urban myth or not, STPM examinations have always been a tough path for
students who wanted to further their
studies into universities.
The biggest difference between
these two programmes would be the
recognition level. STPM certificates are
globally recognised while matriculation
results are locally recognised with limited recognition into foreign universities.
STPM leavers will have the choice of
studying locally or overseas unlike their
matriculation counterparts. However,
for those who have already made their
minds for local studies, the matriculation programme would be a better
choice as the duration to complete it
is only a year.
There are two options of matriculation, a year or a two-year duration
programme. The two-year duration
programme is only available for bumiputeras. This means graduating with a
What suits you best?
bachelor’s degree a year earlier than the
rest, a choice that every student would
deem considerable.
Asasi vs Matriculation
Another pre-university programme
that is largely preferred by students is
the asasi programme. Offered by universities themselves, asasi programmes
offer students the basics of specific
fields to ease their transition to their
undergraduate studies. Most asasi programmes offered share the similarity of
a year’s duration for completion with
the matriculation programme.
The difference in an asasi programme from the government matriculation programme would be the specified courses pertaining to their fields.
The matriculation programme offers a
very general approach towards the subjects offered. For example, a matriculation student enrolled in the science
stream will have to study mathematics and chemistry which is compulsory
and physics, biology or computer science depending on the module they
Besides that, they are also required
to take English, kemahiran dinamika,
Islamic or moral studies, information
technology and co-curriculum. The
asasi programme on the other hand,
offers subjects pertaining to the field
of study unlike matriculation.
For instance, University of Malaya’s
biological science programme requires
students to learn mathematics, physics,
chemistry and biology while their physical science programme offers mathematics, physics, chemistry and computer science. Asasi’s specification of
subjects for fields better equip students
for their undergraduate courses.
STPM vs A-levels
Besides the above mentioned programmes, A-levels too gained popularity among SPM leavers. So why choose
A-levels if there is STPM? The fees for
STPM are cheap and near to none, while
A-levels requires quite a sum depending
on the institution you enrol in.
A-levels gives students another
option in pre-university studies, in
terms of duration where it is mostly
a year to a year and a half and also an
early starting time compared to STPM’s
commencement date that falls in the
month of July. A limitation for STPM
students is the types of courses offered.
Different schools in Malaysia offer different packages of courses and those
who wish to sit for a certain subject for
their STPM might not have it in their
school’s syllabus.
For example, those who wish to
enrol for a business class might not
get it in the school they were offered
to study in. It might only have accounts
and history classes offered. However, as
A-levels are offered by private institutions such as colleges and universities,
students enrolled in A-levels are given
the choice to study in the courses that
matter to them as private institutions
are able to offer all courses for students
to choose.
With the aforementioned preuniversity programmes, students have
to think and plan carefully before tak-
ing the STPM, matriculation, asasi or
A-levels path.
Each programme has its advantages and disadvantages. It is advisable
to distinguish what undergraduate
programme to pursue before deciding the pre-university programme for
it as choosing the less suitable programme would not only cost extra
expenses but precious time and effort
as well.
Sijil Tinggi Peperiksaan Malaysia (STPM)
• World recognition
• School in vicinity of home
Matriculation Programme
• Full local, limited foreign recognition
• Boarding school
Asasi Programme
• One year or one and a half year duration
• Local recognition
• Specified courses for undergraduate
Matriculation Programme
• One year duration (Two years
programme for bumiputeras only)
• Full local, limited foreign recognition
• General courses
• Global recognition
• Expensive fees (depending on institution)
• One year or one and a half year duration
• Students can choose their courses
without limitations
Sijil Tinggi Peperiksaan Malaysia (STPM)
• Global recognition
• Low fees (or none)
• Two years duration
• Choice of subjects depends on the
packages offered by schools
wednesday, APril 25, 2012NEW Straits TIMES | PAGE 11
undergraduate focus
A fast track
to medicine,
housands of Form Five students nationwide have just
received their Sijil Pelajaran
Malaysia (SPM) results. Many of
them are mapping out their next
education plan. Choosing the right
education pathway is very important for school leavers as it determines their career thereafter.
Our nation is now focused on
the Economic Transformation
Programme where the private
higher education sector generally
and health science education specifically has been earmarked to
generate economic growth for
the nation.
Masterskill suppor ts the
government’s initiative to encourage students who aspire to venture
into the health and medical field
to take up its Foundation in Health
Sciences programme.
The Foundation in Health Sciences is a preliminary programme
that gives students an insight into
the basics in sciences. This oneyear, fast-track programme is specially tailored to prepare students
for admissions into this inevitably
bright field, distinct from medicine, pharmacy, physiotherapy,
radiotherapy, biomedical science
and other allied health sciences
In conjunction with the recent
release of SPM results, Masterskill
is offering full and partial scholarship for deserving SPM students
to pursue its Foundation in Health
Sciences Programme. Full scholarship will be given to students who
have obtained seven As or more in
their SPM and those with less than
seven As but with five credits and
above are entitled for 50 per cent
discount on the total course fee.
Upon completion of the foundation programme, students
can further pursue Masterskill’s
bachelor programmes provided
they meet the minimum requirement.
The programmes includes
the Bachelor of Medicine &
Bachelor of Surgery, Bachelor of
Medical Imaging & Radiotherapy
(Hons), Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Hons), Bachelor of Science
(Hons) Environmental Health &
Safety, Bachelor of Science (Hons)
Heath care Management, Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Hons),
Bachelor of Science (Hons) Paramedic Science, Bachelor of Science (Hons) Occupational Therapy and Bachelor of Pharmacy
(Hons) which is a unique offshore
collaboration programme with
Australia’s La Trobe University.
Masterskill recently obtained
approval from the Ministry of
Higher Education (MoHE) to offer
the Foundation in Health Sciences programme in its six campuses spread nationwide — Cheras, Kota Bahru, Kota Kinabalu,
Ipoh, Kuching and its branch
Medical Campus in Pasir Gudang,
This allows the institution to
offer equal educational opportunities to students in the northern,
central and southern regions, as
well as the east coast and East
Malaysia allowing them to study
closer to home.
The next intake for the Foundation in Health Sciences programme is at the end of this month and
is now open for registration.
For more information,
PAGE 12 | NEW Straits TIMES wednesday, april 25, 2012
undergraduate focus PRE-U
At forefront of field
unku Abdul Rahman College
forged an alliance with IBM
through the establishment of
Centre of Excellence in July last year
with the aim of training students with
IBM’s state-of-the-art software technology to meet the increasing demand
for information technology professionals.
This initiative, driven by the School
of Arts & Science (SAS) marks a new
high for TAR College as it is the first
institution of higher learning in Malaysia to set up an IBM Centre of Excellence
for Software Technologies.
Such achievement lends credence
to TAR College’s curriculum and quality of teaching which emphasises on
relevance to industry needs. To date,
500 students from the SAS have
participated in the training and some
have been certified as IBM DB2 Academic Associate, IBM Certified System
Administrator — WebSphere Application Server Network Deployment v6.1,
IBM Certified Database Associate —
Fundamentals, IBM Rational Application Developer v7 and Foundation of
IBM Cloud Computing Architecture.
Long Fong Yee, Manager of ISV &
Developer Relations from IBM, says
“TAR College has made its name among
the industry as the college of choice for
employing graduates of calibre.”
Dr Tan Chik Heok, Principal of TAR College (left), exchanging the
signed MOU with Ramanathan Sathiamutty, Managing Director of
IBM Malaysia (right), as Datuk Ir Dr Wee Ka Siong, Deputy Minister
of Education (middle), looks on during the launch of the IBM Centre of
Now, with the expansion of the collaboration, TAR College students will
have the opportunity to be exposed
to software technology such as DB2,
Lotus, Rational and WebSphere as well
as IBM Cloud Computing capabilities.
“In addition, TAR College has been
conducting IBM software lessons in its
curriculum and has consistently produced certified students in our technology. It constantly develops highly
capable students and with its quality
and industry relevant programmes,
it gives IBM great assurance to confer TAR College the status of IBM On
Campus Centre of Excellence in IBM
software‚“ he adds.
The collaboration spurred strong
synergy and it culminated in the organising of the IBM’s first SmartCloud
Camp which was held from 23 to 25
Feb where TAR College played host to
the camp.
For more information,
The first step to a UK degree
preferred choice: BAC is renowned
for its reputation as a provider of quality
education and is a leader in providing the
University of Cambridge International
Examinations (CIE) A-levels.
However, for students who have narrowed down their focus to humanities
degrees including accounting, advertising, business administration, human
resource, or management, BAC now
offers an alternative pre-university qualification, the BAC Foundation in Arts.
This MQA approved one-year programme provides a solid foundation for
those who intend to pursue BAC‘s (2+1)
Undergraduate Business Programme.
After completing the programme, students may transfer to any of BAC‘s prestigious UK partner universities.
Assessment is based on a combination of coursework and exams with
the next intake beginning in June. The
subjects offered cover a wide range of
areas in the arts. Additionally, an important component of syllabus is the section that equips students with all the
essential skills they need to cope with
the demands of tertiary life.
Among other things they will learn
how the computer and Internet are integrated into the learning process, how to
communicate and express themselves
effectively how to study by learning to
question, analyse and interpret subject
material and writing skills.
Students who plan to pursue a care-
er in law will find that BAC provides
an invaluable opportunity to qualify
as a lawyer in the fastest way possible. BAC’s A-Level Express Route is the
pre-university programme that is customised for students to complete in only
11 months instead of the traditional 18
or 24 month routes.
This coupled with BAC’s UK Transfer Degree Programme would mean
that students can obtain an LLB (Hons)
degree from a world class British University up to two years earlier than their
peers. This enables BAC graduates to
join the workforce at a much earlier age
and begin their lucrative careers earlier
as well, making it a smarter option for
those intending to pursue a career in the
legal arena.
At BAC, students can choose from
law, business studies, economics, accounting, English literature and mathematics.
The examinations are conducted twice
a year, in May and November and the
intakes are in January, February, March,
June and September.
The Brickfields Education Fund
which was established to assist and to
ensure students from all walks of life are
given the opportunity to further their
education is also available for students
who intend to pursue the BAC Foundation in Arts or A-Level programme.
For more information,
wednesday, APril 25, 2012NEW Straits TIMES | PAGE 13
undergraduate focus PRE-U
Indian programme
now available locally
A solid
foundation in
health sciences
t is an in-house course that serves as a
pathway to prepare students for their
degree courses.” That is how Rafeeudeen Mohamed, Registrar at MAHSA University College describes the Foundation in Science
programme that the university college offers.
The MQA-accredited programme takes a
year to complete and is divided into two semesters. Students take subjects that focus mainly
on the sciences including physics, chemistry,
mathematics and biology as well as other elective subjects like psychology, medical physics,
IT and English.
“Once students complete their foundation
they can then apply to do our degree courses
and students who take their foundation with
us are given priority to the degree courses over
other applicants,” says Rafeeudeen.
Students who are interested in pursuing the
programme will have to be from the pure science stream and must have obtained at least
five credits in their SPM. If students intend to
take up medicine, pharmacy or dentistry, they
will be required to have a CGPA of 3.0 and above
while students intending to enrol in degree
programmes in other health science fields will
be required to have a CGPA of 2.5 and above.
Students facing financial difficulties who have
scored excellent results in their SPM can apply
for a MAHSA scholarship.
“Our foundation programme is one that is
all-encompassing and prepares our students
for a career in any health science field as our
curriculum is skewed towards health,” says
Rafeeudeen. MAHSA’s foundation programme
also attracts a good number of foreign students
as it is highly recognised.
He adds that the foundation programme
allows a student more leeway as opposed to
A-levels. “A-levels has year-end exams so if a
student fails a particular subject, he will have
to wait between six months to a year to re-sit
the exam. A foundation student is allowed to
repeat a semester or a subject if he does not do
Rafeeudeen Mohamed, Registrar at
MAHSA University College.
well. If the student then does well in his second
semester, it makes up for his results in the first
In addition, the exams for foundation courses are held regularly because they are done
within MAHSA so students get to re-sit the
exam within a month.
Another factor that draws students to private institutions of higher learning is the use of
English as the medium of instruction. “Students
who enrol in our foundation programme are
expected to have obtained at least a credit in
English for their SPM or O-levels. The mastery
of English is important in the field of health
sciences as it involves communicating and
empathising with people of all levels,” adds
From the very beginning, students at MAHSA are made to feel like they are health science
professionals. With state-of-the-art facilities
that foundation students are able make good
use of, the Foundation in Science programme
is not just a regular foundation programme but
rather groundwork for them to embark on a
career in the field of health sciences.
unique: The SPM examination results have been
released. These students are now at a crossroad.
Many SPM leavers do not realise that their next decision is an extremely important one. The pre-university programme that they choose to enrol in will, to
a large extent, decide their academic future.
In Malaysia, SPM leavers are spoilt for choice.
There are numerous pre-university programmes
that are approved by the Malaysian Qualification
Agency (MQA) as bona fide pre-university programmes.
Adroit College offers an MQA approved one-year
Foundation In Science programme. What sets apart
the Foundation In Science offered by Adroit College
from other colleges is that the programme is based
fully on the Indian Pre University (IPU).
India, has one of the most advanced education
system among Asian countries. This is glimpsed
from the fact that the IPU qualification is accepted
in all parts of the world today. The Foundation In
Science by Adroit College is based on the National
Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), republic of
India – one of the three Indian Government Board
For students who are planning to take up medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, engineering,
pharmacy or other health science-based degree
programmes, India offers some of the best in terms
of quality and cost-effective destinations.
Adroit College enables students to be prepared
and exposed for the tough academic culture that
they would be involved in India when they are doing
their undergraduate programme.
The IPU syllabus content relies heavily on indepth understanding of the pure science subjects
and mathematics. A lot of emphasis will also be
given on practical knowledge as students would
be immersed in experiments for all the pure science subjects.
Another added benefit by doing this foundation programme is that students wanting to pursue medical, dental or engineering degrees in India
next year will be guaranteed a seat in an Indian
university that is recognised by the Malaysian government provided the students meet the minimum
academic requirement set by the Ministry of Higher
Adroit College is located a stone’s throw away
from KLCC and is easily accessible by public transport. The college emphasises on quality education
and most of its lecturers are experienced and qualified educators.
PAGE 14 | NEW Straits TIMES wednesday, april 25, 2012
undergraduate focus PRE-U
Fast track to a bright future
Healthcare demand: The healthcare industry
for it. “The programme is arming us with basic
is set to grow in the near future and hire at an knowledge that will be soon be used in our studencouraging rate. Recognising the demand in the ies in IMU,” he says, adding that the programme
industry, KBU International College is
lecturers are very approachable and
offering a Foundation in Science prowilling to help the students when
gramme in collaboration with Interthey are confused or stressed.
national Medical University (IMU).
Upon completing the foundaThe new programme, developed
tion course, students can opt to
with input from IMU, is based on
enrol in one of the twelve underexamination and coursework focused
graduate programmes offered at
on subjects such as biology, chemisIMU. Some of the programmes
try, English for health sciences, physthat have been designed to fit the
ics and mathematics.
current market-driven curriculum
Students who wish to pursue an
are medical biotechnology, phareducational path in health sciences Heng Zhi Sam, a
maceutical chemistry, chiropractic,
will be able to obtain a solid ground- foundation student
traditional Chinese medicine, nursing before moving on to degree at KBU International
ing, biomedical science, nutrition
programmes. KBU student Heng College who intends to
and dietetics, medicine, pharmacy,
Zhi Sam is an example of one who pursue pharmacy.
dentistry, and psychology.
chose to complete the Foundation in
During the one-year course
Science programme.
(three semesters), students will
“The course syllabus set by IMU
be nurtured in an environment
enables students to obtain fundaconducive to learning by a team of
mental knowledge of health sciences
dedicated and experienced lecturbefore entering IMU. Every single
ers. The course and the students
lecture conducted in the class is
will be monitored by the standards
interesting due to the good interacset by IMU.
tion between lecturer and students,”
Students who are interested
she says.
in the Foundation in Science proHeng, who is planning to pursue
gramme can start applying now for
her degree in the field of pharmacy, Tan Kah Nian, a
the next intake in July. Matriculation
also added that the relatively small Foundation in Science
Studies Centre also offers A-Levels
class structure helped her adjust to student at KBU
and Australian Matriculation (AUSthe new college environment and International College.
MAT) programmes. The next intake
become a good team player.
for GCE A-levels is in July while AUSThe programme provides an alternative fast MAT has only one intake in January every year.
track for students wishing to enrol in IMU, something that helped Tan Kah Nian decide to sign up For more information,
Rachel Lai is one of the HMC Foundation’s success stories.
New horizons
for foundation
ith increased pressure in a technology
driven world, students have to constantly ensure they are exposed to the
best in educational opportunities at their place
of study. Dhanesh Balakrishnan, Dean of the Faculty of Pre-University Studies, HELP University,
says education is not necessarily in the academic
arena but also the development of leadership and
management skills.
One such example was a trip to Korea last
year, where HELP Matriculation Centre Foundation students had to opportunity to study the
culture and the work ethics of Koreans.
Dhanesh feels it is important to expose students to the culture of work in other countries
such as Korea where workers display a tremendous amount of respect for their work.
He adds that one of the aspects of the HMC
Foundation at HELP is the HELP Matriculation
Centre Leadership and Development Sphere
(HMC LEADS). The programme offers students
the opportunity to develop their leadership and
personality skills which is necessary in today’s
Rachael Lai Suet Teng, a student of the HMC
Foundation last year, won an International Excellence Scholarship from Royal Holloway, University of London for Bachelor of Music (Hons). She is
one such example of a success story. With a total
of seven distinctions in the Foundation of Arts
programme, she is testimony to the versatility
of the HMC Foundation programme.
“The research papers we had to write for
English, psychology, business and marketing in
the foundation programme prepared me well
for the essays I now write. I have no problems
conducting research with proper referencing and
I am confident of what needs to be done,” says
According to Dhanesh, the programme structure covers both a Foundation in Science and Arts
and students can choose either foundation which
cover subjects such as computing principles,
study skills, leadership, critical thinking skills,
intermediate English and finite mathematics.
As an internationally linked foundation
programme, foundation students have direct
entry to universities such as Flinders, Monash,
Murdoch, Swinburne University of Technology,
University of New South Wales and University of
Queensland in Australia, the University of Cardiff, University of Leeds, University of Surrey in
the UK and, Massey University and University of
Canterbury in New Zealand for entry to various
For programmes such as psychology, foundation students can complete the HELP-Flinders
University joint degree or complete the final year
at Australia National University, University of Ballarat, Curtin University of Technology, Deakin
University among others.
For those students who have obtained excellent SPM results but are experiencing financial
difficulty, HELP offers two types of scholarships.
One is based on merit and the other provides
financial assistance for those students who cannot afford to pay their fees.
For more information on the foundation
programmes at HELP,
wednesday, april 25, 2012NEW Straits TIMES | PAGE 15
undergraduate focus PRE-U
reedom of choice, a value extolled in the
US, is available to students of INTI International University & Colleges too.
INTI students have more than 300 options
with which to fulfil their higher education dreams
– an extensive list of colleges and universities in
the US for credit transfer. The institution’s track
record of sending the most number of students
to the US for higher education means that its
American Degree Transfer Program (AUP) is the
most popular of its kind in Malaysia.
INTI has successfully transferred more than
40 per cent of all Malaysian students bound
for US universities since 1992. More than 300
US and Canadian universities and several universities in Australia and the UK accept credits
earned through INTI’s AUP.
US institutions that accept INTI’s credits
include the University of Michigan, Purdue
University, University of Wisconsin Madison,
Northwestern University and Indiana University Bloomington.
Ivy League options are certainly open to students as well; INTI students have successfully
pursued studies in Social Science and Actuarial
Science at the University of Pennsylvania and
Brown University. INTI’s AUP allows students
to complete their first two years in Malaysia,
enabling them to save tremendously on the cost
from page 2
The new system: Starting this year, stu-
dents will sit for a centralised assessment and
a school-based assessment. Students already
in Upper Sixth will continue with the old examination system, the last group to do so. Students currently in Lower Sixth will be the first
to undertake the new system.
The centralised assessment, which will be
administered at the end of each term, consists
of written examinations comprising essays,
and both structured and multiple-choice
questions. The school-based assessment is
coursework consisting of project work, field
work and practical work. The coursework will
be conducted either over three terms or in a
specific term, depending on the subject.
A special feature of this system is that
students will be allowed to retake the first,
second and third term written examinations if their performance is not satisfactory the first time around. The best
result obtained will be the one taken
into account, and the overall STPM results will
be based on the best combined results of the
three terms.
Looking to the future: The examination system was changed from the single
high-stakes pen-and-paper examination
system in line with the Economic Transformation Programme’s objective of moulding
a more all-rounded graduate.
The less examination-oriented approach
means that the teaching and learning pedagogy caters to a range of learning approaches.
It endeavours to prepare students for their further education and work life, and to encourage
higher-order thinking skills, problem-solving
skills, independence, team work and maturity.
Form Six teachers have been briefed on
the new modular system; another expected
of studying for a four-year American degree.
They can opt to transfer to the US at any point
or to complete up to three years of their studies
in Malaysia, depending on their major.
INTI students receive the largest amount
of US scholarships in total each year, including
offers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln,
Drake University, Oklahoma State University,
Illinois Institute of Technology and Iowa State
For more information
result of the new system is that it will empower
teachers, enabling them greater creativity and
innovation in teaching.
Long time coming: The new system took
about six years to develop and implement. The
Ministry of Higher Education together with the
Malaysian Examinations Council (MEC) studied
various syllabi of different examination bodies
- University of Cambridge Local Examinations
Syndicate, International Baccalaureate Organisation, Senior Secondary Assessment Board of
South Australia, and Singapore Examination
and Assessment Board to name a few — and
used what they learned to formulate a system
that works in the Malaysian context.
Prestigious qualification: While the new
system makes the STPM more manageable for
students — the fact that students can re-sit
modules will increase the passing rate — the
standards and quality of the STPM will be
While the system certainly needed an overhaul, it was vital that its quality and international recognition not be compromised. To
ensure these standards continue to be met,
a representative of Cambridge Assessment
sits as advisor to the Standards Setting and
Certification Committee to provide advice
and opinion on the analysis of the results of
each STPM paper before a collective decision
is made.
Only time will tell how much more
effective these examinations are as the first
step to creating a thinking, innovative, whole
person. Meanwhile, continuous improvements
will be carried out, and the system will be
closely monitored by the MOHE and the MEC
to ensure it runs without a hitch.
For more information about the
new STPM examination system,
PAGE 16 | NEW Straits TIMES wednesday, april 25, 2012