Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Students in limbo as uni applications held up over Muet

Students applying to enter public universities have been stymied as the English examination is postponed time and again due to lockdowns.

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A large number of students applying to public universities are having trouble fulfilling entrance requirements as they have been unable to sit for the Malaysian University English Test (Muet), postponed several times due to disruptions by the various movement control orders (MCOs) imposed since March this year.

Schools around the country were closed yet again this week following the most recent spike in Covid-19 cases which plunged almost the entire country under conditional MCO until December.

This has put paid to efforts to reschedule the Muet paper yet again.

The Malaysian Examinations Council (MPM) said it had no choice as the lives of candidates and the staff managing the exam sessions would be at stake.

“MPM will try its best to hold the Muet paper this year,” its chief executive Mohd Fauzi Mohd Kassim told MalaysiaNow.

“Our last option will be the final slot in December before the school holidays begin.”

He said MPM would ask the higher education ministry to consider using new entrance requirements allowing those who have registered to take Muet to proceed with their applications at the universities of their choice.

He said MPM would provide the ministry with a full list of such candidates, which would allow students to enrol without any obstacles.

“The ministry has used this condition before for university enrolments, so it is not out of the question for it to be used again if the second Muet session for 2020 cannot be held even in December.

“The ministry has done it before, so it should not be a problem.”

There have been calls for Higher Education Minister Noraini Ahmad to exempt students from providing Muet certificates as part of university entrance requirements for the time being.

The father of a student whose application for the September intake to Universiti Teknologi Mara was rejected due to failure to take Muet had written a letter to the minister explaining his son’s predicament.

In the letter sighted by MalaysiaNow, he said his son’s original application was denied and that his subsequent application for the March 2021 intake might be rejected as well, as the deadline is Dec 2.

“Given that the dates for Muet have been postponed again, he will not succeed in his application for the coming intake,” he wrote.

The ministry has made no official announcement on the matter yet.

However, a corporate communications official at a well-known public university in Selangor said there had been top level discussions for an exemption of the Muet requirement although no decision could be made without close discussions with the ministry.

“It has been months, but the university and students have not received a final decision from the ministry,” the official told MalaysiaNow on condition of annonimity.

“We cannot make our own decision without discussing it with others first. For the issue of tuition fees, for example, there have already been calls for an announcement.

“It will not be a problem if the Muet requirement is set aside as students who are accepted into the university must pass the English language component as a precondition for graduation. So they would have three to four years to take the Muet paper or the language exam set by the university.”

MalaysiaNow’s attempts to obtain comments from the higher education ministry have so far failed.

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