Nothing game-changing about opening up matriculation to top scorers, says group

PAGE says SPM top scorers are likely already able to secure places in the matriculation programme based on the existing quota system.

(FMT) – The Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) says there is nothing game-changing about the government guaranteeing spots in the matriculation programme for all students scoring 10As and above in their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia regardless of race.

PAGE chairman Noor Azimah Rahim said SPM top scorers were likely already able to secure places in the matriculation programme based on the existing quota system.

“If we look at the existing quota system, out of 40,000 matriculation spots, 90% are for Bumiputeras, 5.5% or 2,200 are for Chinese students, and 3.5% or 1,400 places are for Indian students.

“It is very likely that 10A students who apply are already able to secure a place in the programme based on this quota,” she told FMT.

On Monday, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said the Cabinet made the decision to admit all SPM top scorers, regardless of race, into matriculation programmes to reduce tension in the education system.

“This move should ease the ‘tension’ that the education ministry faces almost every year (when matriculation placements are announced). In this heated political climate, such matters can sometimes lead to racial and social tensions,” he said.

Azimah, however, described the move as mere window dressing as there was no real issue. She also pointed out that most SPM students only took nine subjects.

She also asked whether many non-Bumiputera students who achieved 10As in the SPM actually desired to enrol in the matriculation programme.

“They are more likely to aspire for public services department (JPA) scholarships that offer entry into foreign universities or desire guaranteed placement in medical degree programmes,” she said.

Azimah noted that outstanding students often looked to other countries to further their studies.

She cited the example of some students’ dream of winning the Asean scholarships from Singapore’s education ministry.

“Our outstanding students are already being sought out and receiving guidance from early on (to win such scholarships),” she said.

“This is an opportunity for us to really think about how to stop the brain drain, by offering comparable opportunities to our top scorers.”