Monday, June 01, 2009

USM 'glitch'

This is not a good start for USM as the country's first and so far, only, APEX university. A technical 'glitch' resulted in admission 'approvals' being sent to all 8173 students who applied for entry into USM instead of the 3599 who had been accepted into USM. When this error was revealed, many students who at first, had thought that they had been accepted, had to suffer the anguish of disappointment.

I don't really want to put too much heat on USM given that this kind of technical glitch can be easily rectified. I think that the anguish suffered by the students who at first thought that they had been accepted into USM but later found out that they have been rejected is sad but the bigger issue is whether their chances of getting into one of the other public universities will be jeopardized by their USM rejection.

From what I've read, the application process to USM is handled by USM themselves because of their status as the apex university. Of a total of 22,000 applicants, 8173 were 'pre-qualified' to enter USM presumably because of their academic excellence. Out of these 8173 students, only 3599 were admitted.

The process for the students who did not 'pre-qualify' to enter USM (out of the initial 22,000 applicants) seem simple enough. Their applications are submitted to the UPU together with the other applications to gain entry into the other public universities in Malaysia (other than USM). But I'm not so sure if the 4574 students who were rejected by USM (out of the 8173) would be given the same 'fair' shot an getting into the program of their choice in the other public universities especially given the short window span between when USM announces its list of successful entrants and when the other public universities announces theirs (a window of approximately 3 weeks). Higher Education Minister, Khaled Nordin, has made assurances that those rejected by USM will be processed by UPU for consideration for entry into the other public universities but I'm not sure if UPU can do so fairly in a short period of time.

I'm sure these glitches will be ironed out in due time but this is no consolation for those 4574 students who are affected by this. I think more transparency in the process is needed. (I would appreciate any of our readers who are more familiar with the application process for USM as well as for the other public universities to enlighten us)

Perhaps a similar system such as that adopted by Cambridge and Oxford can be used by USM. Those who are interested in applying to Cambridge or Oxford at the undergrad level (you cannot choose both) have to apply directly to either university. At the same time, most students also submit another general application to UCAS to apply to the non-Cambridge / Oxford universities. I don't see why something like that cannot be used in the Malaysian context. Those who want to apply to USM should do so directly. But they should not be prevented from applying to the other public universities through UPU. Once the results are announced by USM as well as the other public universities, applicants can choose which offer to accept. I don't see why it is necessary for the USM 'rejectees' to be subjected to some uncertainty just because they choose to apply to USM. They should be allowed a separate UPU application that is processed together with all the other UPU applications. Sounds reasonable?

21 comments:

Shawn Tan said...

That would not be very feasible in our current context. In such a system, the 3599 students would presumably be offered duplicate places in USM and elsewhere. Therefore, assuming that these 3599 take up USM, the people at UPU would suddenly have 3599 rejected applications. The offers made to these 3599 would be 'wasted' and the rest of the students would need to be bumped up. All in all, more work for UPU.

The thing is. All these issues can disappear over night if a proper computerised system is in place to automatically do the assignments. It is actually not a difficult technical problem.

The trouble with our government today is that computers are treated as nothing more than over-glorified paper. Sad, but true.

Anonymous said...

I am among the 3599 students who admitted into USM.

I can understand very well the anguish, disappointment, fury towards our education system and management.

Many of my friends~ mostly elite students (got 4 flat in examination) are 'deleted' from the namelist. They originally got courses they want even printed out the surat tawaran with their names.

They're so happy to being offered a place in local top uni (apex). But in less than 24 hours all turn to dismay.

Like me, they put so much HOPE in the APEX system, wishing this will mark a brand new chapter of Malaysia education system. But, once again, all end up with DISAPPOINTMENT.

Now, they worry whether they can get into the "main pool" of UPU selection.

A joke to 4574 students future. A torture to parents emotion.

Why is this happening?!

Anonymous said...

SACK THE VC!
SACK THE TNC!
REVOKE THEIR APEX UNIVERSITY STATUS!
SUE THOSE INVOLVED!

Anonymous said...

USM has been employing people who are under-qualified for some time. It is going to be hard to change the whole uni. and the people in it. Even tho a Apex uni, the uni is a can of worms given the way students have been biasedly admitted and lecturers employed in the past god knows how many years. Same goes to overseas graduated lecturers with phd who are just not even up to par as their scholarships by JPA ke or some govt. linked agencies are given to them biasedly while denying other more qualified candidates due to kulitfications. Come on la, Apex uni but the govt. are still spending millions sending underqualified people overseas to do masters and phd according to their skin colour. No hope hey!

Anonymous said...

Non-malays should be smarter la. Go do Masters and PhD overseas and apply and demand for scholarships. From what I see since the government been pushing for more phds in the country, only people of one race have been given scholarships and chances to pursue them. Are the govnt. trying to make non-malays subservient to Malays? omg, Please wake up guys, it's your money too the government are spending to give out these scholarships. Somehow, I am stunned by the droves of Malays arriving overseas to do PhD under our Malaysian government scholarships. Don't take a genius to know or to realise. Make the list transparent, and you will see how biased the govt of the can be! Oh yea one interesting thing that I note, imagine we make the contribution of income tax by non-malays and malays transparent then we compared that to the scholarships given out to the two groups. Walaowei, maybe we might see how these Malay schoalrs are being supported by the non-Malays tax payers and yet they have this BTN program which tells the Malays that non-malays are enemy and Utusan telling ppl that non-Malays are immigrants. I think something needs to change. For this, I hope people become wiser and be smarter and be united in demanding the govt to be more transparent and be fair in awarding scholarships regardless of race in line with the so called 1Malaysia concept.

Jonah said...

damn i feel sorry for those who got rejected :( though why it should jeopardise their chances to be accepted else where just beats me O_o imagine writing in your diary 'today i got rejected by all unis cos of some stupid technical glitch' :o

Anonymous said...

Most of the universities in the country behave badly and arrogantly anyway. One example help needs help with legalised mandatory payments made as a result of forced failure. One could almost feel that gangsterism has taken over our education system. The Drs so called wouldn't mind earning an extra buck and their student cronies lavish in glory of being so called doctoral graduates but not a single grain of common sense. That is the sad state of affairs of help that needs help.

Anonymous said...

This is suppose to be the best university with the best brains in the country. Thank god they are not the ones writing the code to perform laser surgery (Lasik) flight navigation or wapon control systems for our military. Would you buy a car with vehicle control software written by those folks?

Anonymous said...

they are never the best...far behind UM, UKM, etc. Just wondering how they still manage to maintain the APEX uni.

Anonymous said...

all local uni are same...

poor management, quota, etc...

no hope for malaysia education system...

Anonymous said...

I went to USM for a fellowship interview. An APEX university that I expected to be equally world-class with other top schools turned out to be the worst university ever. There were 7 interviewers who cant even string a proper English sentence verbally. It is so sad that the 'best' university in national tier recruits idiotic people like this.

blow off.

Anonymous said...

But everyone really knows the source of the problem....hehehe

The deterioration of English in Malaysia was even a public embarrassment at one of the recent local universities convocation when a Royalty was given an Honorary degree

It was "boo boo" all around and a lot of red faces ...

Anonymous said...

Selection from 'pre-qualified' candidates are done by respective faculty. Either through vetting of application form, exams and interview.

Each faculty have different method of selection.

AJ said...

was reading about the new spm changes at studentmy.blogspot.com .
Quite interesting suggestions made by a 16 year old. Go check out tony!

Marc said...

why don't these 4500+ students just sue the university for giving them false hope???

Anonymous said...

It is a bit of a joke just like antipodean CSU with graduates that mock others.

Anonymous said...

USM the top university? Bah. This APEX thing is hogwash ... and the Ministry of Higher Education has egg on its face for conferring the honour.

USM has not been doing well on international rankings . . . and now this. The credibility of the APEX award is in question -- serious question.

Chen Chow said...

I personally won't be as brutal on this issue. While not to say that USM should be making such mistakes, it is something that it should rectified well.

The 20+ hours of mistake would have affected quite a number of students.

This is similar to cases by Kellogg School of Management, Cornell University, University of North Carolina, University of California San Diego these few years. Those who got rejected was accidentally sent an email. So, it was a blunder, and rectified a few hours later.

It was also despair for those whose life was suddenly lighted by an Ivy League or top university admission.

So, mistake does happen.

Can read more of it here.

http://koreanpower999.wordpress.com/2009/04/01/uc-san-diego-admissions-gaffe-dashes-students-hopes-again/

Anonymous said...

it's a learning process. APEX is a programme, not a status. It's just that USM is chosen to join this programme by the MInistry, based on its proposal for the future. The blunders were embarrassing, seriously though, but we sometimes make rooms for mistakes, so as to learn a few lessons, it's a climb. give face la people..

Anonymous said...

I believe that USM need to improve in many aspects of teaching and learning, not only administrative.

To all the staff in USM, please understand the meaning of APEX.The attitude of staff need to be reiewed. Soft skills and communication skills need to be upgraded.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I heard a rumour that APEX university's admission did carried out their job efficiently. It's just that the successful list were not what the politicians accepted when the list was released hence the 'error' issue a few hours later. Suggest all parties not to be too emotional on this although I don't think USM can punish genuinely anyone who did their job. It will probably go away quietly given that all students involved were given places in the end.