Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Co-curriculum involvement to count for 10% in varsity intake

Star: PUTRAJAYA: Eggheads take note. Just scoring all As will no longer guarantee you a place in competitive courses like medicine. Being active in sports and taking part in competitions will, however, give you an edge.
This follows the Government’s decision to assess applicants based on their academic achievement (90%) and co-curriculum involvement (10%) for this year’s public university intake.
Higher Education Management Department director-general Prof Datuk Dr Hassan Said warned that because of the new method, not every student with a CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Average) of 4.0 who applied would receive a place in medicine.
“Under the new system, a student will get a maximum of 90 marks for his academic grades. His co-curriculum grade is added to this for a grand total of 100 marks. We no longer use just the CGPA grade alone,” he said.
For example, a CGPA of 4.00 is worth 90 marks, while a CGPA of 3.00 is equivalent to 67.5 marks (3.00x0.25x90). A student’s academic marks would then be added to his co-curriculum marks, say 7.5, to get the grand total (67.5+7.5=75).
“Those with a CGPA of 4.0 but scored zero marks in co-curriculum would lose out to a student with a CGPA of 3.6 who was active in hockey or badminton at state or country level. The latter would get more marks in total than the person who scored 4.0.
“There were instances of students with a 4.0 CGPA not getting their first choice,” Prof Hassan told a press conference yesterday to announce this year’s public university admission figures.
He said students are given up to 10 marks for co-curriculum participation. Only a student’s two highest scores from his involvement in either associations, sports, uniformed units or national service will be taken into consideration. National service trainees received six points.
“The students calculated and filled up their co-curricular marks themselves based on the information we gave the schools.
“If we had a doubt, we double-checked with their schools. We also checked the marks of all those who scored over 6 in their co-curriculum activities.
“From next year, however, the Ministry will obtain the marks directly from their schools and institutions,” he said.
“If you play computer games in your room you won’t get any marks. But if you are active on the sports field, you will receive points.”
He explained that previously the Education Ministry had taken co-curriculum marks into consideration for students’ entry into public universities but this was stopped when meritocracy was introduced in 2002.
“When meritocracy was introduced, it was decided that entry into university would be based on academic merit only. But the Cabinet decided last year that to ensure we produce more holistic individuals, we should once again take students’ co-curriculum marks into consideration,” he said.
A total of 40,016 students have been accepted for the 2006/07 academic year, a slight increase over last year’s figure of 39,976.
In line with government policy, of this number, 59% are doing science courses and 41% arts.
For the first time since meritocracy was introduced in 2002, Indians have gone above 6%.
As for medicine, there has also been a marginal increase in the number of places offered, from 910 last year to 925.
Last year all STPM and matriculation students with a CGPA of 4.0 who applied were successful in their bid to do medicine.

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