KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 17 — The postponement of key national examinations to next year due to the Covid-19 pandemic will not force school-leavers to miss an entire cycle in local or foreign universities, said educational consultants.
They said while the decision to delay the Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM), Malaysian Higher School Certificate (STPM), Malaysian Vocational Certificate (SVM), and Malaysian Higher Religious Certificate to February and later would push the results into the latter half of 2021, students still have the option of later intakes at most universities.
However, they advised students to familiarise themselves with the intake cycles of their intended study destinations as there could be more delays given the uncertainty caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Janice Foo of Malaysia IDP Education Ltd conceded that those planning to further their studies in Australia and New Zealand would miss the usual February and March intake cycle.
“However, students can start their plans to study abroad on the following intakes, which are in July or August or in some cases October or November as well.
“Students will only miss out on six months of studies,” she told Malay Mail.
Those planning to study abroad in northern hemisphere countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada and United States would face less disruption as these have fall intakes beginning in August.
An AUG Student Services education counsellor in Ipoh, Perak, who declined to be named, said as it was still unknown when the national examination results would come out, upper secondary students should plan to use their trial examinations for applications.
She also said there should not be major disruptions to local university enrolment as there were intakes in January, March, and July.
Predicting that the national examination results should be available by July, she said students should be able to make it for the intake then and that it was possible that universities may extend their intakes to cater to the delay.
“Maybe students can still apply for it using their trial results and submit the actual result once they receive it. This way, they might not have to skip the whole year,” she said.
“For overseas universities, they could still follow this method in some universities,” she added.
However, an education counsellor from Penang who asked not to be named said applying using trial results would still lead to missed classes.
She said that due to a policy change last year, successful applications using trial results only meant provisional enrolment and students would not be allowed to join classes without submitting their official results.
She also expressed concern that the delayed availability of the examination results meant students would have less time to prepare the applications to the universities of their choice.
“However, based on our previous experience, universities might extend their intakes while maintaining the original intake.
“This is because there would still be some student enrolment, especially the ones who applied this year,” she added.
Those sitting for the external examinations such as the A-Level and O-Level would not face any delays as these were allowed to proceed according to the existing schedules, she said.
On November 8, Senior Education Minister Mohd Radzi Md Jidin announced that the SPM, SVM and STAM examinations will be postponed until February 22 next year due to the rise in Covid-19 cases.
The STPM was also tentatively set for March 8.
Radzi said that the ministry will reschedule all assessments and will announce new timetables for the uncompleted SPM trial examinations, coursework and assessments that had been scheduled until December 2020.
Two parents groups — Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) and Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education (Magpie) — urged the ministry not to delay the national examinations any further and to resume classes as soon as possible, especially for upper secondary students.