QUALIFIED Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) holders are eligible for entry into most colleges and universities, except local public universities in Malaysia, according to ‘The Value and Achievements of UEC’, compiled by the United Chinese School Committees Association of Malaysia (Dong Zong) last year.
Sijil Pelarjaran Malaysia (SPM) holders are not eligible for direct admission into national and private institutions of higher learning for undergraduate programmes, based on Education Ministry regulations, and must first attend foundation courses provided by the respective universities.
UEC holders, however, are eligible for undergraduate programmes without the need for foundation studies as long as they obtain good or average results – for example, five credits (5Bs), according to Dong Zong.
Among the local colleges and universities that accept UEC holders are Taylors University, HELP University, Sunway University, and Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR).
Most institutions of higher learning overseas, including those in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the US also recognise the UEC.
Some of these foreign universities may impose their own requirements to ensure that candidates earn good grades in English language proficiency tests like the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
Some world-renowned universities even provide scholarships for UEC holders. They include the Tsinghua University and Peking University in China, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, National University of Singapore, and Kyoto University in Japan.
Dong Zong noted that it would be more economical receiving education at Chinese independent secondary schools than doing pre-university courses or foundation studies at any university.
Based on 2018-2019 records, school fees for the senior years ranged from RM500 to RM5,900 per year; those for pre-university courses in institutions of higher learning were between RM14,900 and RM65,300; while the tuition fees for foundation courses in universities were between RM9,100 and RM27,000.
“It is worth mentioning that although UEC holders are not eligible for entry into local public universities, they can obtain a Bachelor’s degree from private universities in Malaysia or overseas, and continue their Master’s or doctorate degrees at local public universities,” added Dong Zong.
On April 28, 2011, Malaysia and China signed the ‘Mutual Recognition Agreement for Higher Education Degrees’, whereupon the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) recognised 1,243 universities recommended by China’s Ministry of Education.
Most of the universities in the list accept UEC, and exempt UEC holders from taking the Chinese Proficiency Test (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi, or HSK, examination).
Additionally, the world’s top 200 universities in China such as Peking University, Tsinghua University, Fudan University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, University of Science and Technology of China, Zhejiang University, Nanjing University, also accept UEC holders directly and provide them with scholarships.
Currently, only medical degrees from both Shanghai Fudan University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China are recognised by the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC).
Four Chinese languages Bachelor’s degrees and five Bachelor’s degrees from Chinese medicine universities are also listed by the Public Service Department (JPA) Malaysia.
Fourteen of the over 60 Chinese independent secondary schools in Malaysia are located in Sarawak.
They are under the care of the Sarawak United Association of Chinese School Boards of Management.