Tuesday, July 24, 2018

UEC - a Malaysian achievement internationally - but still not recognized by Malaysian public Universities?

UEC(Unified Examination Certificate) is really an 'entry qualification' examination certificate, which is a pre-requisite for continued education to get a University degree. 

It is similar to our SPM(or STPM), UK originated A and/or O level education certificate. 

It is a Malaysian achievement today, as it has the recognition as a pre-university or university entrance requirement for over  1,000 colleges and universities, both public and private, in countries such as the UK, United States, Australia, Japan, Singapore and China. It is an even greater achievement as it was not created or promoted by the then UMNO-BN government - so an effort and success by some individual Malaysians - not easy to get a non-government education certificate recognized...is it?

To further one's studies, especially overseas, the recognition of the UEC opens the doorway for so many Malaysians - but sadly, it seems, that the UEC is still not recognised as a entry requirement for Malaysian universities(especially public universities).

As such, it was funny that some local university students are objecting to the UEC's recognition. Should they not really be supportive of Malaysian students access to higher and/or tertiary education? Why really did they object? Was it a premature reaction without proper study? Or was it simply an ethnic response, a fear of increased 'competition' for the limited spaces available in Malaysia's public higher learning institutions?

Bahasa Melayu - Well, the lack of knowledge of English or other languages, is most discriminatory to Malaysian students when it comes to pursuing higher education even in local universities. Even now, most of the books and resource material referred to and used in Malaysia are yet to be translated into Bahasa Melayu, after 60 over years of independence...a lack of political will by the past UMNO-BN government? The reality is that Malaysian students in KL, the bigger west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, and maybe even Western Peninsular Malaysia has a better grasp of the English language - hence better opportunities to fare better in their search for university and tertiary education not just in Malaysia, but also overseas.Most prejudiced are Malaysian students from rural areas...and the East Coast states of Peninsular Malaysia - Kelantan, Trengganu, Pahang, Johor, Kedah, ...

Knowledge of Arabic opens doors to further education in the Middle East. Knowledge of Mandarin and/or some other Chinese language opens possibilities of furthering education in China and Taiwan...Knowledge in Malay, may increase opportunities of furthering education in Indonesia and maybe Brunei...Tamil, however, is not so helpful because there are only maybe less than a handful of Universities in Tamil Nadu states that provide for tertiary education in Tamil(In India, English and maybe Urdu/Hindi may accord more opportunities in pursuing a University degree...)

Who decides on whether to accept the UEC or SPM or A-level, as a sufficient entry requirement to pursue a degree(or a Masters degree) in a University - well, it certainly is not a simplistic government political decision - but really a decision of the university authority or academic body governing recognition based on standards. 

In Malaysia, many universities have opened up to foreign students - now, they do not have SPM(or STPM) and maybe even have no Malay...Hence, in UITM, when the Alumni objected to opening the doors to other Malaysians(not being Malay), it was very strange since that institution had already opened its doors to foreign students...?

For the Malaysian Bar, to become a lawyer, a person having a foreign recognised University Degree have to still sit and pass the Certificate of Lagal Practice(CLP), which has a very low pass rate - it was about 20% of less. Local university graduates did not have to pass the CLP - but today, there is growing concern about these local university degrees - prompting the introduction of a Common Examination for ALL before one can become a lawyer. This is seen as needed to maintain professional standards of Malaysian lawyers - and this is important, as no one wants a 'sub-standard' lawyer representing and acting for them in life and death situations, and even other rights including commercial rights, do they.

There is a perception that the Malaysian standard of education in public schools and public universities have been declining...and this has seen more and more Malaysians, who can afford it even Malays, electing to send their children to private schools...colleges and even universities. Even in rural Malaysia, the trend seem to be that more and more Malay Malaysians and Indian Malaysians, are electing to send their children to National Type(Chinese) schools. The National schools are fully funded by government, but the National Type Chinese and Tamil schools are still only partially funded by the government - Whilst the Chinese schools are able to get more donations, the Tamil schools do not...

In the National schools(the Sekolah Kebangsaan or previously 'Jenis Kebangsaaan'), often the better students are transferred to specialized schools - with the 'better' teachers which also impact on the quality of education. Most of the students transferred to 'special' schools are Malays or the indigenous Sabahans and Sarawakians..by reason of the special preference policy... 

These 'special schools' maybe good but it also negatively impacts children that remain in the ordinary schools - including the Malay, Sabah/Sarawak indigenous students and the other Malaysian students - 'You are telling children that they are 'lesser' beings not worthy of ...For children, this is discriminatory and also makes them believe that they are 'not smart' enough to be given equal emphasis by the government in terms of teachers, technical support, facilities, etc...

Now, children of the poor are generally the victims of such an education policy ...the poor may not be able to afford good pre-school, private tuition, etc ...and that will impact on their development in terms of education and skills. The new government must look into this ...

Malaysian public university entrance had also a 'socio-economic' consideration - it factors in also the school you were in...so entrance is not based on simply meritocracy. I studied my form 6 in Sekoleh Menengah Sultan Abu Bakar in Kuantan, and for the subject of Chemistry, we had to learn Physical Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Inorganic Chemistry but in our school, the teacher only managed to complete 2 out of the 3 types of chemistry, so, when we sat for the exams, we could only answer two-thirds of the questions, unlike those from the better schools. Competition also plays a role in student performance - so, the removal of 'better' students to 'special' schools impacts the advancement of remaining students...

When in University Malaya, there were about 400 in the first year...but after the first year exams, about half were ousted when they failed...Then the UMNO-BN government intervened, and 'reduced' qualification requirement - so that many more will pass...hence academic standards were compromised to increase pass rates...Yes, we increased university graduates, but may have compromised on quality and standards...and such a policy may have 'discriminated' against our public university degree holders...especially when it comes to seeking employment NOT in the public sector..

Specialized 'sports schools' also need to be re-evaluated - good for 'sports development' - but, is it really good for academic development. Sports, after all, is a skill that can be used for a couple of years ...but does it help for the future of these young people?

After 60 years, the preferential treatment of Malays and indigenous of Sabah and Sarawak, seem to have not worked as there still so many Malays and indigenous Sabahans and Sarawakians that are still poor or very poor. If the focus had been the upliftment of the poor - for simply making an increased number of rich and super-rich Malays or indigenous Sabahans and Sarawakians - will not help others in these targeted ethnic groups, will it. 

MALAYSIANS are victims of the 'Divide and Rule' policies of the British colonial government, which was followed by the UMNO-led coalition government, which was basically a coalition of ethnic based political parties like UMNO(Malay), MCA(Chinese) and MIC(Indians) - later to be joined by many other ethnic or state based political parties. We still talk in terms of ethnicities...or religion - not in terms of Malaysia and Malaysians. 

Even Pakatan Harapan now is talking for a special fund/initiative to help Indian Malaysians - what about Pakistani Malaysians, Arabic Malaysians, Sri Lankan Malaysians, Eurasian Malaysians, Chitty Malaysians, Orang Asli Malaysians - is the Pakatan Harapan also going to adopt 'ethnic' or 'religious' focused policies and solutions...It is better for Malaysia to adopt an OPTION FOR THE POOR - focusing attention to uplift the life and livelihood of the poor - be it workers, farmers, fisherfolk, etc...

With Pakatan Harapan policy/plan to help Indian Malaysians, it is sad that the MPs and persons being tasked with being persons belonging to same ethnic groups - Why should it not be MPs/Ministers of other ethnic groups being made responsible - that should be the Malaysian way...should it not? 

UEC - now, it is turning out to be an 'ethnic' issue - when it really should be an issue of Malaysia? Evaluate the UEC - does it have the academic standards required for local university admission? or maybe for admission for pre-university examination/qualifications in Malaysia?

Why has it become an 'ethnic' issue? Is it the 'ethnic-based' political parties or 'religious-based' political parties OR their politicians that is making it an issue? MCA is also seen to be championing the issue - is it an effort to lobby Chinese Malaysians back to MCA - more so, since it has lost much support ...? Is it an attempt for UMNO to get back Malay support?

Should we BAN ethnic-based or religious-based political parties in Malaysia? NO - that is the right of all persons in Malaysia - they are FREE to form political parties that are ethnic based, religious based, gender-based, class based, worker based, farmer based, etc...

Malaysians came together as ONE, irrespective of ethnicity, gender or religion to VOTE out the UMNO-BN government, to demand for FREE and FAIR elections, for freedom of speech/opinion/peaceful assembly, for removal of POCA, POTA, SOSMA,..., for cleaner government, for a government that will hopefully increase personal/family income and reduce cost of living  - thus provide a higher quality of life, greater democracy...

Is this rise of 'ethnic' or 'religious' issues really an effort by some political parties to rise from the ashes after GE14? Worse still, is it elements in Pakatan Harapan that are rasing these issues?

Pakatan Harapan stood as Pakatan Harapan (not as an 'electoral pact' of 4 political parties) under one common symbol, the PKR symbol as PH was not yet registered and did not have a common symbol, and the people voted for PH not for Amanah, Bersatu, DAP or PKR) - so, it was sad for me when the 4 parties seem to be claiming seats which their member stood and won as seats that PKR won or DAP won or Bersatu won...It was sad that there was even assertion about 'party quotas' when it came to Cabinet appointments...

Note, that Pakatan Harapan also has one ethnic based party in BERSATU and a religious based party in Amanah, whilst PKR and DAP are multi-religious and multi-ethnic political parties. 

What is happening to Pakatan Harapan - What is happening to their registration, and their elections...and their membership? Will all members in the various PH parties have one vote and will be able to democratically elect the President and the office bearers? Or will it just be like BN - where each party will have just one vote? Or was PH simply just an 'electoral pact' to improve chances of winning in GE?

Malaysians need to remember that we are human beings, and we need to actively  evaluate our position about being Malaysians. Racism - do we object? How do we treat other Malaysians, of different class backgrounds, different academic backgrounds, from different States, of different ethnicity, of different religious backgrounds, of different..political ideologies? What are our values? What are our principles? Do we treat people equally...? Today, after we have voted for change in the last GE...is the time for us to decide for ourselves...not influenced by personalities bend on building up eroding support for their political parties and ideologies.

Each Malaysian has to decide...

: The Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) has obtained an ISO 9001:2008 quality management certification from Malaysia, China, the United Kingdom and Japan, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
The MCA deputy president said UEC was accepted as entry qualifications by a majority of private colleges and universities in Malaysia.
“It is also accredited by more than 1,000 colleges and universities, both public and private, in countries such as the UK, United States, Australia, Japan, Singapore and China, which recognise UEC in study applications.
“While only Bahasa Malaysia is taught in the national language in the UEC curriculum, not all subjects are taught in Mandarin as claimed by Ismail Sabri,” he said on Saturday.

Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/07/16/uec-is-iso-certified-by-four-countries-wee-its-also-accredited-by-1000-colleges-varsities/#TphYWP80GZqqiKGS.99
ODD - when students protest rights of other students access to higher/tertiary education in Malaysian public universities

Students protest against plans to recognise UEC

KUALA LUMPUR: Some 100 student protesters gathered in the city to protest against the government’s plans to recognise the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC).

A video, shared by organiser Gabungan Mahasiswa Islam Se-Malaysia (Gamis) on Facebook, shows the protesters clad mostly in black with red headbands chanting “Hidup rakyat” (Long live the people) and “Bantah UEC” (Oppose UEC) during the protest.

“We are here today, not because we are racists, but because we want to uphold our national education system,” an unidentified speaker at the rally said.

According to Utusan Malaysia, most of the participants were students from Universiti Malaya, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universiti Putra Malaysia.

The demonstration began at Masjid Negara, but police had barred the protesters from marching to Sogo.

The protest ended two hours later. - Star, 22/7/2018

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