September Years

According to TheStar, “The academic term of the public and private institutions of higher learning (IPT) will start in September instead of July, said Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.” The reason for doing this is primarily to align our local universities with those from overseas so that our institutions can compete with the offerings from other countries, in attracting foreign students.

Sigh. As I understand it, most local IPTS have multiple intakes in a year, just to tackle this problem, including one with a September time-frame.

The Deputy Minister also realises that this means the SPM/STPM students have more than half a year’s wait before they start off with the next stage of their education. I honestly question the wisdom of such a thing simply because, their brains would have gone rusty by the time they start college, not to mention the kinds of mischief that an idle 17 year old can get into during that time.

What we need is to re-align all our schools to a September start, for both primary and secondary schools. Alternatively, we need to have a filler term, to ensure that these students do not waste their time. In the past, some people would start taking their pre-U courses immediately after the SPM. But in our case, I think that they will just fill the gap with National Service camps.

I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing.

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Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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