Since in the early 80s in the 20th century, the enrolment to the local public universities is base on quota system. It is an unfair system as it base on races and bumiputra are reserves 55% to 65% of the universities places. Some years back, the enrolment system has changed to a worse than the quota system, a ‘meritocracy’ system' which standardized a lower standard matriculation system and world wide recognized STPM. How they standardized a two of different education system is a mystery.
I avoid saying how unfair of the system is, and only those who has gone through this can understand that. You are comparing a one year matriculation that is evaluate by their lecturer, base on test, exams and assignment with a one and a half year STPM with harder and broader syllabus, almost entirely base on one exam.
What make me an ex STPM student who enjoy quota system feeling depress is, this meritocracy enrolment system has make a lot of good STPM student dropping in their way to pursue popular courses like medicine, pharmacy, engineering and accountancy.
According the data collected by Inter-varsity Counseling Group (IVEC) for Chinese student, there are some serious skew of the intake between matriculation and STPM.
I just take some example of the popular courses. It is base on intake 2007/08 and you can look for the information from <http://www.quansheng.org>
Please note that al the data is just from Chinese but I do think it is the same for others except bumiputra.
1. Medicine - 18 from STPM with CGPA 4.0 while there are 62 students from matriculation background. The maximum score and minimum score of CGPA is 4.0.
2. Pharmacy - 6 students from STPM with score of CGPA 4.0 while 21 matriculation students with the same score enroll the same course. The max and min score is 4.0 for both streams.
3. Electrical Engineering - For STPM, 3 with CGPA 4.0 and 1 with CGPA 3.92 manage to enroll. For matriculation, 23 with CGPA 4.0 and 1 with CGPA 3.94 enroll the same course. Please note that 3.92 is the second best score after 4.0 for STPM
4. Telecommunication Engineering -- Only total 1 student from STPM with a 4.0 score enrolled. 13 students from matriculation with CGPA score of 4.0 enrolled and 1 student with a minimum score 3.88 manage to enrolled.
5. Mechanical Engineering - 3 students with CGPA 4.0 (STPM) enrolled while a total of 26 students with the same CGPA enrolled is from matriculation
6. Chemical Engineering - Again, 6 from STPM and 18 from matriculation enrolled. All of them got perfect CGPA, 4.0
7. Actuary - this one is harder to judge. One student with maximum score 4.0, and one student with a minimum score 3.88 from STPM. 10 students from matriculation with a score of CGPA 4.0 manage to enroll. However, the total Chinese student from STPM is unlikely more than matriculation.
8. Law - The only course that more intake for STPM students among the popular courses. There are 23 students with maximum score 4.0 and minimum score of 3.83 from STPM while only 5 students from matriculation with a full point score.
1. Electrical & Electronic engineering - One from STPM with a 4.0 score while there are 12 from matriculation that has a full score
2. Mechanical engineering - For STPM, one student with a CGPA 4.0 get the enrolment while 2 students with CGPA 3.92 is the minimum score for this course. Meanwhile, 15 students with CGPA 4.0 enroll while the minimum score is 3.9.
3. Chemical engineering - Only 2 students from STPM has enrolled for this course. In contrary, there are 23 students with CGPA 4.0 from matriculation and the minimum score is 3.92
4. Law - May be there is some justice in law faculty. The enrolment for both STPM and matriculation in UKM is even.
5. Dentistry - Only 4 students with a CGPA 4.0 enroll while 19 students from matriculation with 4.0 score enroll. Besides, there are 2 students enrolled with a minimum score 3.92
6. Medicine - STPM vs matriculation. 22 vs 61 with a score of 4.0. There are matriculation students that enrolled with a result of 3.95
7. Pharmacy - Only 12 students from STPM while 30 students from matriculation enrolled for this course.
8. Actuary - 4 students enrolled with STPM result CGPA 4.0), while 14 matriculation students manage to make it.
1. Medicine - A total 6 students enroll with STPM result (range from 3.92 to 4.0) but matriculation has 34 students with 4.0 results a lone manage enroll the same course.
2. Accountancy - For STPM students, 4 with CGPA 4.0, minimum score is 3 (1 student) and CGPA 4.0 is the mode. Matriculation has 33 students with CGPA 4.0 enrolled accountancy and the minimum score is 3.72. By statistic a lone, you can realize that STPM students are unlikely more than matriculation students.
I can list down much more. But I think it is enough to show matriculation students obviously has the upper hand in the public university application.
There is lonely 10% non bumiputra can enroll matriculation each year. Therefore, the non buimiputra STPM students is far more than matriculation students. However, the Chinese matriculation students that score CGPA 4.0 could be 3-4 times more than STPM students.
What is the logic behind this? Even a mediocre student can score 4.0 in matriculation which only a brilliant STPM students manage to score the same results.
The only explanation is matriculation exam is too easy to pass, to score distinction. Ther is no quality control of matriculation and the ministry of Higher Education has no plan to increase the matriculation standard to be the same par with STPM.
The aim of matriculation is to allow more bumiputra students to enroll public university with a easy and safe way. That was a practice of quota system which virtually is Chinese versus Chinese, Indian versus Indian with a same STPM results. So every races is figthing within their races of the limited places taht already allocated. Normally,Chinese is always facing the fierce competition among themselves under quota system.
The current condition is worse. Why? Two population students with a different standard of exam compete with each other. To make the condition worse, 2nd and 3rd tier students from matriculation can easily beat the first tier student from STPM in CGPA. It is already not a problem of which races obtain how many percent of varsity enrollment but a total lost of control of varsity education quality. This is more serious than the quota system practice. To let the unqualified students to drop out after the courses commence is just a waste of tax payer’s money.
If you are a STPM students or your children is studying STPM, you must mentally prepare a good STPM result really can not guarantee a place for the course that you want to enroll especially for the course like medicine, pharmacy and engineering.
There is a flaw of the varsity enrollment system and Ministry of Higher Education need to address it and create a true meritocracy. Only one major enrollment to the varsity should be allowed besides other qualifications.
I can guarantee, public university will start to climb back in the World university ranking once we practice a true meritocracy student intake system.