KUALA LUMPUR, 17 June 2009: The Education Ministry today decided to give an exemption to science stream students in religious schools to take a maximum of 11 subjects in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) next year.
However, its minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, said the maximum of 10 subjects for the SPM in 2010 as specified earlier for other candidates remained unchanged.
“The ministry agreed to approve the appeal by Religious Secondary School administrators to allow their students to take 11 subjects, it is an exemption for students who are taking the science stream and religious studies simultaneously,” said Muhyiddin, who is also the deputy prime minister, at a media conference before attending a discussion with the Commonwealth Education Ministers Conference delegation at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre here.
Muhyiddin said the exemption was only for the 2010 examination, while for 2011, the ministry would revert to the maximum of 10 subjects for science stream students in religious schools.
“This is because they cannot change [subjects] immediately, but from 2011, all candidates will take only 10 subjects, which means that we are giving a grace period to the religious schools to make the change, and the candidates will choose the subjects that they are strong in,” he said.
The ministry recently limited students to take a maximum of 10 subjects in the SPM to ensure fairness in the award of scholarships to students who achieved excellent results.
However, 21 unions and teachers’ associations throughout the country recently raised their objections and wanted the maximum number of subjects that a student may take in the SPM to be raised to 12.
Meanwhile, commenting on the ministry’s proposal to make the English language a compulsory subject to pass in the SPM, Muhyiddin said almost 80% of the total feedback received were in favour of the proposal.
He said most of the respondents who supported the proposal also set several conditions, including having sufficient teaching staff who were adequately trained, and the need to give consideration to the students in rural areas.
A decision on the matter would be made soon and possibly within this year, he added. — Bernama