Here we go again. It is the month where both SPM and STPM results are announced. I will usually see a surge in my blog visits and various comments and emails will be sent to ask for advise. Despite all the answers being available in this blog, people simply don’t read. They expect to be spoon-fed like their school days.
Today, The Star wrote several reports on unqualified students going abroad to do medicine (see below). Yes, it is still happening and agents are still going after our “uninformed and ignorant” society who determined to make their child a “Dr” by hook or crook. Just take a look at one of the emails I received today (the student did not fulfil the minimum SPM qualification):
“we went to edu fair held in midvalley n met some ‘experts’ from XXXX college. Whr he guaranteed 100%seat confirmed in Indonesia,India .Russia.Poland ..N etc…no need repair xxxxxx results…Foundation in 6 months n can enter any university of our choice in Indonesia by August 2016.“
So, what The Star reported today is the reality. Many fall into this trap. Let me inform you guys that first of all I DO NOT consider SPM as a university entry exam. It is NOT a pre-university course. The reason why MMC has to come up with this is due to the fact that we have too many dubious foundation courses being conducted by the colleges. The exams, marking scheme and standards are set by the colleges themselves with no standardisation. Only standardised Pre-U courses like STPM, Matriculation, A level, IB etc can supersede SPM results. With the standards of SPM nowadays where thousands can score 8As, why are we even considering “Bs”!! Unfortunately, MOE did not want to increase the requirement to 5As as suggested by MOH and MMC. It is all about politics in Malaysia!
Please be informed that due to shortage of post, MMC has clearly informed that only after SPA offers you a job, you will be given the Temporary Registration. SPA has been given the task to filter the candidates. So, those who do medicine without NOC aka minimum requirement, will likely not get a job for housemanship. Those who go to unrecognised university will not be able to sit for MQE examination if you do not possess the minimum qualifications. I hope ignorant parents and students will understand this before spending huge amount of money.
Then , there was this grandiose suggestion by MOE (not MOH !!) that private hospitals should be considered for housemanship !!. Why the hell is MOE talking about this in the first place? They have no jurisdiction in deciding which hospitals should be used for housemanship etc. It is MOH and MMC who decides. MOE has realised that they had messed up the entire medical profession in the name of education hub. BUT yet, they still do not want to admit the fact. Giving licences to shop-lot medical schools and only concerned about their KPI which is all about the numbers!
I had written about using private hospitals as housemanship training in November 2015. It is not feasible as the system does not allow it to be used as such. Our DG has made some statement in his Facebook page as below:
Firstly, people must understand how private hospitals function. Consultants are not employed by the hospital. There are NO MOs for inpatients. MOs are only stationed to run the emergency department. Almost 90% of patients are paid by employees or medical insurance cards. Majority of patients come to private hospitals for comfort and to be treated by specialist/consultants. Private hospitals are profit driven. Any new private hospital will take at least 3-5 years to break even and another 3-5 years to get return of investment. So, it is almost 100% impossible to fulfil the criteria stated from (b) to (e)!! No private hospital is going to pay an HO a salary and indemnity insurance as it will be considered as wasted money. What do they get in return? No private hospitals are going to employ MOs in each department. IN private hospitals, no patient is going to allow an HO to clerk, examine, investigate and start initial treatment. They come for specialist treatment. No insurance company is going to pay for HO’s fee! Even paying consultant’s charges are being strictly regulated by insurance companies despite already regulated by the government! Which consultant is going to have enough time to supervise these housemen? Working in a private hospital for the last 6 years just tells me that I would not even have time to talk to a houseman if I have any!
4 years ago, i wrote on issues where many private medical colleges were planning to have their own teaching hospitals. I gave my thoughts on the issue and why students should be careful in listening to the college’s marketing guys. None of these promised private teaching hospitals has materialised as of today (Monash, IMU, AUCMS, UCSI, Perdana). The reasons are simple! It is the same as above. I understand UTAR and MSU are now in the process of building a private hospital. No private hospitals employ medical officers to run their inpatient or outpatient services. It is all specialist driven. All patients are paid by insurance. I know one private medical college which has bought over a private hospital but did not use it for teaching medical students. Reality is different and using it for teaching medical students may be suicidal to their reputation. Building a hospital and running it are 2 different issue. It is very much easier to build but to get the return of investment is totally a different story. No private hospital is going to spend money on unnecessary expenses which include paying HOs and MOs. They are not charity organisations. The medical cost is escalating exponentially.
It looks like MOE, MOH and MMC are blaming each other! For years I have been talking about this but no one bothered. I was actually invited to moderate the forum between MMI(Malaysian Medic International) and DG yesterday but I was only informed about 2 weeks ago. I was unable to make it as my mother’s knee replacement surgery was last week and I had to take leave for that.
May the drama continue………….
Not cut out to be doctors
BY CHRISTINA CHIN
PETALING JAYA: Desperate to do medicine, many unqualified Malaysian students are going abroad to get their degrees.
Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) director-general Datuk Prof Dr Asma Ismail said the ministry was asked to verify the SPM results of a batch of students currently enrolled in a foreign university in the region.
“The university wanted to know if the students met the ministry’s minimum requirement for a ‘No Objection Certificate’ (NOC).
“We checked and found that they did not qualify. There are, however, no reports of fake or forged documents,” she told the Sunday Star.
Dr Asma, however, declined to reveal the number of students involved and the location of the university.
She was responding to claims that students with Ds and Es for science subjects, those from the arts stream, those without the NOC and those who failed the entrance exams, were among those studying medicine and dentistry abroad.
The Sunday Star received complaints that unscrupulous agents here could be falsifying SPM result certificates and NOC.
Students wanting to pursue medical courses overseas must get NOCs from the ministry.
The issuance of the certificates is based on the students having the same minimal entry qualifications as stipulated for entry to local universities.
“We are aware of unqualified students going abroad but we cannot take action as it’s beyond our jurisdiction. The intake of students is handled by the universities abroad.
“We have dealt with complaints of document falsification in the past. The ministry has lodged police reports and the cases are now under police investigation,” she said.
Dr Asma said falsifying official government documents was a serious offence, adding that anyone with information on forged or fake results should report to the MOHE, or in cases of SPM certificate forgery, to the Education Ministry, so that action could be taken.
The Malaysian Medical Association wants the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) to investigate the allegations.
Its president Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip said the complaints exemplified loopholes in the system.
“Under the existing law, the Health Ministry must give Malaysians with recognised degrees posts for housemanship.
“The problem is when unqualified students do medicine in less discriminating colleges.
“Given that these colleges are willing to bend the rules and may not have good facilities or faculties, the shortcomings of less qualified students won’t be addressed,” he said.
On Tuesday, the MMC urged MOHE to impose more stringent entry requirements for medical courses to arrest the deteriorating standards of foreign university graduates.
In response to The Star’s articles on the medical graduates’ glut and poor performance of graduates from some medical schools abroad, MMC president Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said minimal entry qualifications for undergraduate courses were determined by the ministry.
Dr Noor Hisham, who is also Health director-general, said MMC monitored local university students without minimal qualifications but did not have the authority to regulate their entry into medical courses in universities abroad.
He said many foreign universities ignored the NOC for minimal entry qualifications and took in students with lower qualifications or circumvented the requirement by conducting their own foundation courses, many of which were found to be of dubious standards.
Faking it for medicine
BY CHRISTINA CHIN
A UNIVERSITY in a neighbouring country is accepting unqualified students for its medical and dentistry programmes, a student who only wanted to be known as Jade, 21, claims.
There’s a lot of hanky-panky going on, she suspects, alleging that a college in the Klang Valley sends students with Es and Ds in their science subjects to study there.
“The college – an agent for the university – told my friend with poor SPM results not to worry as it could easily be taken care of. Even the Higher Education Ministry’s (MOHE) Non-Objection Certificate (NOC) can be bought, although most Malaysian students there don’t have it. Arts students are also allowed to take up medicine and dentistry there,” she claims, sounding shocked.
She says many of her friends are struggling there because the syllabus and exams are not in English, despite being told otherwise.
Thina, 23, who paid a “large sum” to the college, backs the claims. He says he did not verify with the authorities claims that the university is recognised. At the time, all he could think of was the excitement of leaving to study abroad.
“Some aren’t even science stream students and they don’t have the NOC. I won’t be surprised if the number of qualified students are one out of 50. The college lures these unqualified students by assuring them that poor SPM results don’t matter and that the NOC can be bought for less than RM20,000.”
Although qualified to study medicine, he’s surprised that he “somehow got in” despite being unprepared for the university’s entrance exam. The Penangite, currently studying in another higher institution, left the university in his third semester.
The university’s system is extremely bad and students have to put up with rude and unprofessional lecturers, he complains, lamenting how even basic classroom facilities like fans, are non-existent. Alleging that fees were increased without notice or explanation, he says the college had promised to sort the matter out but later washed its hands.
“There’s no time limit to graduate – you can take up to nine years even, especially in the dental faculty. They assured me that I’d be able to complete my studies within 5½ years but I realised many were stuck up to seven or eight years. I’d rather not take my chances graduating from a university like that,” he shrugs.
Since 2012, there have been many complaints against the college and university on complaintsboard.com.
“Malaysians must be warned. I’m sure students studying there won’t come forward because they themselves aren’t qualified and wouldn’t want the Government to know.”
Urging the Government to act on the errant education providers, Jade worries about the quality of future healthcare professionals. She thinks it’s pointless for smart, hardworking students to pursue medicine or dentistry as “anyone can get in now”.
Brushing off the “baseless accusations” as the work of jealous competitors, a spokesperson for the college says it no longer recruits students for the “world-class university”, preferring to focus on its own courses and other local institutions.
“We don’t recruit students any more but because of our long-standing relationship, we help book examination halls for the university’s prospective candidates – that’s all. The university selects the students and handles all the paperwork. We’re not involved,” he clarifies, stressing that “such an established university wouldn’t accept fake or forged SPM certificates”.
“The university has a website. Everything is on the Internet. Do you think it’s so easy to fool people nowadays?”
Malaysian Medical Association president Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip wants the Health Ministry to consider a Clinical Aptitude Test for prospective medical and dentistry students. The law, he says, must be amended to ensure that anyone circumventing this requirement would not be employed by the Health Ministry.
Students must have the minimum qualification to read medicine whether locally or abroad, or there may be consequences particularly in employment opportunities later on, Health director-general and Malaysian Medical Council president Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah warns.
The MOHE cautions: Parents must be vigilant when choosing which university to send their child to. Do thorough research. There are many options out there that suit your child’s interests and qualification.
‘Additional student intakes and new programmes must stop’
BY LOH FOON FONG
KUALA LUMPUR: The moratorium imposed on new local medical schools over the past five years has not stopped the intake of more medical students.
This is because existing schools came up with new medical programmes and increased students’ intake, said Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
For this reason, he urged the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) to not only extend the moratorium but also put a stop to new programmes and additional student intakes.
“We are not happy with just the moratorium. We want it to be extended with no more new programmes and no more increases in student intake,” he said at the Malaysian Medics International forum’s dialogue with the Health Ministry and Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) here yesterday.
Dr Hisham, who is also MMC president, said some schools had come up with multiple programmes with twinning arrangements overseas.
“From one course, they can have four or five programmes and increase the number of students,” he said.
Asked why local schools were allowed to increase their medical programmes as the Higher Education Minister in 2011, Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, had imposed the freeze, Dr Hisham said the moratorium was only for new medical schools.
The moratorium was effective from May 1, 2011 and would end April 30, this year.
MMC member Datuk Dr Abdul Hamid Abdul Kadir said there had been cases where MMC’s decision to cut down on the number of medical students had been overruled.
In one case, the MMC had allowed only 60 students instead of 100 for a local university based on its capacity for an offshore programme but this was overruled.
In response to the Higher Education director-general Datuk Prof Dr Asma Ismail’s statement on Friday that the numbers approved were determined by MMC and not the MOHE, Dr Hamid said it was not entirely true as it was a collaborative effort and MMC’s decisions had sometimes been reversed.
Dr Hamid said that it was crucial to cap the number of students especially with private universities because students there were crowding public training hospitals.
Asked if anything could be done about students who took up medical studies despite not meeting the minimum grades and circumventing the No Objection Certificate (NOC) they were supposed to get from the MOHE, Dr Hisham said the authorities might have to consider making it legally binding as there was no law to address this now.
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