Monday, March 26, 2012

‘SPM not a ticket to varsity’

By JOSEPH SIPALAN
newsdesk@thestar.com.my




PUTRAJAYA: SPM doesn't guarantee university placement, says Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin.

“That is very clear,” he added, saying good scores in the SPM examination were no guarantee for places in either the local or foreign universities.

He said there were pre-university requirements for students to either go into local universities or those abroad, a hint the Government is likely to have similar considerations when giving out Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships.

PSD scholarships have been a recurring issue, with the Government having to deal with un-happy parents of high-perform-ing students who were not awarded grants to further their stu-dies.

The Government has also been grappling with the rising cost of sponsoring tertiary education, with the bill coming up to RM1.44bil to fund 1,500 overseas and 2,500 local varsity students last year.

This did not include 8,000 other students who were granted scholarships in the same year to pursue diploma courses at local universities and institutes.

“To enter university overseas, you need either an A-level or an international baccalaureate.

“Locally, you need either STPM or a matriculation. This would be the best time to determine who gets scholarships,” Khaled said after an appreciation ceremony for Malaysian academics on overseas engagements and their sponsors.

Khaled declined to confirm if the Government had come to any decision on the disbursement of this year's PSD scholarships, saying it was best left to Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also Education Minister and the minister in charge of such issues.

Khaled, however, added that the matter had been discussed during the weekly Cabinet meetings. He declined to go into the details.

On another matter, Khaled said the Government had extended its 1Malaysia Book Voucher (BB1M) programme to April 30, as only 50% of the 5.1 million vouchers had been cashed in by book stores nationwide.

The extension will also accommodate university freshmen for the January-March 2012 intake who have yet to receive their vouchers.

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