KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 28 — SPM trial results will no longer be admissible for pre-university and foundation programmes entry beginning January, in a move that could throw the education plans of tens of thousands of secondary school leavers into disarray.

The Sunday Star reported today that the Education Ministry’s decision has shocked private tertiary institutions as results from the Form Five trial public examinations have been used as entry qualifications for the past three decades.

Forecast results are commonly used by non-Bumiputera students for private tertiary education, and the move will put the group on par with those who must wait for the official SPM scores when applying to public universities.

Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and University (Mapcu) president Datuk Dr Parmjit Singh conceded that the use of trial results was not officially prescribed.

“In the case of foundation courses, the minimum standard of SPM results is specified and that there is no provision made for forecast results within those conditions and, therefore, admitting students based on forecast results is considered an infringement of these conditions.

“However, the admission of students with forecast results has been the practice in the past three decades and allowed by the ministry,” he was quoted as saying in the weekend edition of The Star.

He reportedly said students who wanted to pursue their tertiary studies in New Zealand and Australia could lose a year due to the later start of their foundation or matriculation courses.

Parmjit also reportedly said results from the SPM trial exam were “highly representative” of the actual exam results and that higher grades should be imposed if the problem lay with the reliability of the forecast results.

“We have presented the issues and implications to the Education Ministry officials,” Parmjit said.

Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan reportedly said the ministry was reviewing Mapcu’s proposal.

The change risks exacerbating the perennial issues with university placements that already exist due to preferential quotas for the Bumiputera communities.

Students from non-Bumiputera groups annually complain of difficulty in gaining entry to public universities or securing their desired courses owing to the race-based entry quotas.

Many are forced towards private institutions of higher learning in order to obtain the tertiary education of their choice.

Others also choose to head abroad for their studies where they then opt to remain after completing their courses, contributing to the country’s brain drain.

A World Bank report from 2011 concluded that 20 per cent of Malaysian graduates opt to quit the country, with Singapore cited as the preferred destination.

More than two million Malaysians have emigrated since Merdeka.

Last year, a total 308,834 high-skilled Malaysians moved overseas, with 47.2 per cent going to Singapore, 18.2 per cent to Australia, 12.2 per cent to US and the rest to other countries like UK and Canada.