PETALING JAYA - Senior private educationists have appealed to the Education Ministry to overturn its decision to bar private institutions of higher learning from accepting forecast Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) exam results for entry into pre-university or foundation programmes.
Sunway Education Group senior executive director Elizabeth Lee said the private institutions had appealed to the Education Ministry and the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) when the practice was first reviewed.
"My understanding then was that they would consider allowing the Tiers 5 and 6 Setara and MyQUEST institutions to continue with this practice," she said.
The Rating System for Malaysian Higher Education Institutions (Setara) was introduced in 2007 and assesses the teaching and learning aspects of participating institutions by ranking them from Tier Six (outstanding) to Tier One (weak).
The Star reported yesterday that the ministry had issued a circular in May to notify private institutions of higher learning that forecast results would no longer be accepted as admission qualifications for 2015.
This and other quality assurance changes followed discussions held between the ministry and the Malaysian Qualifications Agency between 2012 and 2013.
The report stated that the circular had shocked the private education institutions, which have relied on admissions based on forecast results over the past 30 years.
It was pointed out that many institutions abroad accepted forecast results for their pre-university programmes.
"That particular item in the circular took us all by surprise since the contents of the rest of the circular were actually reasonable and good," said Lee.
A registrar of a private college, who did not wish to be identified, cautioned that if the issue was not resolved, "there will be no local students for the January intake next year."
"Many parents don't want their children to be idle. It could also turn into a national problem," he said, adding that having so many free months could cause students to engage in undesirable activities.
Emeritus Prof Dr Lee Fah Onn, one of the founding members of the INTI Education Group who is a council member of the Malaysian Association of Private Colleges (Mapcu), said private institutions were "doing the nation a service" by providing opportunities for students to study locally.