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1.SPM 2017 Exam Results Announced on 15Mar18
...Friday, 16th March 2018
2.STPM 2017 results announced on 05Mar18
...Wednesday, 7th March 2018
3.Education in France
...Sunday, 16th December 2007
4.Bogus students 40% OF `FOREIGN STUDENTS' ARE HERE TO WORK, SAYS HOME MINISTRY
...Thursday, 28th September 2006
5.Ten tips for studying abroad
...Monday, 24th July 2006
SPM 2017 Exam Results Announced on 15Mar18
The 2017 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) candidates scored a National Grade Point Average (NGPA) of 4.90, outperforming the previous year.

Education director-general Datuk Dr Amin Senin said the results were better than 2016, which was 5.05.

"A smaller NGPA indicates that candidates did better in the examinations," he said when announcing the SPM 2017 analysis at the Education Ministry today.

He said the number of candidates who registered for the 2017 SPM examinations had increased from 434,535 candidates in 2016 to 443,883 candidates.

The results analysis showed that 85.2% of the candidates qualify for the SPM certificate. Candidates must pass Bahasa Malaysia and History to qualify for the certificate since 2013.

"The achievements between urban and rural areas candidates also recorded some improvement with the rural students recording an increase of 0.14 in National Cumulative Grade (GPN), from 5.36 in 2016 to 5.22, while urban candidates also recorded 0.14 increases in their GPN (4.89 in 2016 to 4.75).

"In addition, 62.5% of the 994 candidates with special needs (CBK) are eligible to be awarded the SPM certificate.

"Overall, the 2017 SPM candidates showed the most improvement in Bahasa Malaysia with its Subject Average Grade (GPMP) of 0.46 while Moral Studies had the biggest decrease at 0.11," he added.

He said 48 of 73 SPM subjects had recorded improvements with other core subjects such as English Language, Islamic Studies and Mathematics also showing improvement.

However, one core subject Science recorded a decrease.

Amin also pointed out that 66% of the 2017 SPM candidates have mastered the High-Level Thinking Skills (KBAT) assessment.

He also announced that 54.9% of the SPM candidates successfully obtained the GCE O-Level certificate in English subject.

"In fact, 56.2% of the 75,467 candidates that sat for the Principles of Accounting subject are eligible to receive the London Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) Level 2 Book Keeping and Account certificate," he said.
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STPM 2017 results announced on 05Mar18
The national Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) for the Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) 2017 examinations rose to 2.76 from 2.71 in 2016.

Malaysian Examinations Council chairman Prof Datuk Seri Dr Moha­med Mustafa Ishak said there was also a rise in the number of candidates passing all subjects.

“Overall, the national CGPA continues to rise since the modular system was introduced in 2013,” he said yesterday.

“Not only did the percentage of those passing all four or five subjects record an increase, the number of candidates scoring 3.50 and above also went up from 6,137 (14.2%) in 2016 to 6,408 (14.89%) in 2017,”

“The same goes for those scoring 2.75 and above, and 2.50 and above.”

Prof Mohamed Mustafa however said there was a “slight drop” in the percentage of candidates scoring a perfect 4.0.

“There is a drop from 1.31%, or 565 candidates, for STPM 2016 to 1.13%, or 485 candidates, last year,” he said.

Prof Mohamed Mustafa, who is also Universiti Utara Malaysia vice-chancellor, said the gap between the CGPAs of urban and rural candidates has narrowed.

The difference between the two groups is 0.06 points, from 0.09 in 2016 to 0.03 last year.

“Urban candidates obtained a CGPA of 2.78 while rural candidates obtained 2.75,” he said.

He added that 25,923 candidates or 60.23% were from urban areas while 17,119 candidates or 39.77% were from rural areas.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid congratulated the STPM 2017 top scorers and schools.

“STPM is the best track for students wanting to pursue their tertiary education,” he said.

Mahdzir also said they had worked hard to improve the facilities for Form Six students in colleges and schools.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak also congratulated the top students in a Twitter post.

A total of 43,042 candidates sat for the STPM last year.
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Education in France
A fascinating mix of age-old traditions and modern vibrancy, France is also a place with exciting educational options.

TO SAY that food is a passion in France will be stating the obvious. Escargots, wines and the famed Brie and Roquefort cheeses are just a few of the items on offer to tantalise the taste buds. Cafes are as ubiquitous as litter is not and with the number of Michelin star restaurants spread across the country, one is assured of gastronomic indulgence.

And Paris has the distinction of being one of the world's fashion capitals and is the base for big names such as Yves Saint Laurent, Hermes, Givenchy and Dior.

Haute cuisine and couture aside, France also has a long tradition in scholarship, giving the world thinkers like Jean Jacques Rousseau and Jean-Paul Sartre. Moreover, French used to be the language of European high society, commonly used in the royal courts up to the 19th century.

It should therefore come as no surprise that France is among today's global leaders in education.

With an estimated 265,000 foreign students, it is only behind the United States and Britain in international student figures and offers a considerable breadth of programmes.


The system in France

The French university curriculum system sees students obtaining a Licence, the equivalent of a basic degree in three years, a Master in another two years and a Doctorat after a total of eight years of study.

France has a total of 3,000-plus institutions of higher learning that include 240 engineering schools and 230 business schools. Around 2,000 of the total are devoted to the niche fields of art, fashion, design and architecture.

There are also 87 public universities, ranging from the venerable Sorbonne in Paris, which dates back to 1179, to the high-tech Nice-Sophia-Antipolis, founded in 1965.

Research is an integral feature in the university system, covering the entire range of academic disciplines and involving more than 300 doctoral programmes and over 1,200 research centres and laboratories.

French doctoral programmes have always held international appeal and the number of foreign doctoral candidates have been on the rise, going up by 7.5% between 1999 and 2004.

Also, there are uniquely French institutions known as the grandes ?coles (specialised schools of higher education). Created in the early 19th century, the elite grandes ?coles are extremely selective and offer education of a very high standard.



Unlike the public universities, which are obliged to accept all candidates who hold a Baccalaureate, grandes ?coles consider applicants solely on the results of competitive oral and written exams.

There are 226 grandes ?coles in France and students who sit for the admission tests often undergo preparatory school, often for two years.

?Normally, 90 to 95% of grandes ?coles students come from preparatory schools while the remainder come from various instituts universitaires de technologie (IUT), known in English as university institutes of technology,? says Universiti Teknologi Petronas lecturer-cum-researcher Dr Mohamad Naufal Mohamad Saad, who studied in France from 1995 to 2005.

Dr Mohd Naufal studied first at IUT de Colmar and later at Ecole Nationale Sup?rieure d'Ing?nieurs de Limoges (National Higher School of Engineers of Limoges).

?Chances of being accepted through the IUT route are slim and I was very fortunate to be accepted,? he admits.

Specialising in a single subject area, mainly in the humanities, business and engineering, grandes ?coles are moderate in size with student populations of 2,000 to 3,000.

All students in France's public institutions, both foreign and local alike, are beneficiaries of a generous amount of government aid that sees them paying a mere ?160 (RM780) to ?500 (RM2,440) per year for tuition when the actual fees are an estimated ?6,000 (RM29,240) to ?15,000 (RM73,100).

Cost of living in France is around ?800 (RM3,890) to ?1,000 (RM4,870) per month, going up to some ?1,200 (RM5,840) in Paris.

This makes France one of the least expensive countries in Europe for international students, who enjoy other benefits such as low-cost dining facilities, student housing, and discounts on transportation and cultural events.


However, bear in mind that the private grandes ?coles charge a high tuition that can cost ?4,000 (RM19,500) to ?10,000 (RM48,730) and beyond.

Apart from business and engineering courses, France is also noted for social science programmes that expose students to the different schools of thought.

A notable institution is the Sciences Po in Paris that is a partner of the Global Public Policy Network together with Columbia University in the United States, the London School of Economics and Political Science and the National University of Singapore.

Agricultural studies are also becoming increasingly popular and France also has some 2,000 schools devoted to the niche fields of art, fashion, design and architecture.

Another interesting feature of French education is the presence of its many ?competitiveness clusters?, a system that sees different regions specialising in various fields of study.

?Each province has its own distinctive academic specialisation,? says Malaysia-France University Centre project coordinator Simon Cordonnier.

?For example, Burgundy specialises in nuclear industries, Brittany in marine biology due to its coastal proximity, Toulouse in aeronautical engineering as the Airbus headquarters and main factory are there, and the Agropolis in Montpellier in agricultural studies.?



It can be tough

There are, says Cordonnier, currently about 500 Malaysian students in France, with some 300 sponsored by the Public Service Department and other government agencies.

Given France's reputation in engineering, most of the Malaysians there are furthering their studies in this field.

Being thousands of miles away from home in a foreign land can be daunting and Malaysians ? and Asians in general ? often have quite a lot of adapting to do, both academically and culturally.

?French education stresses a lot on application,? continues Cordonnier. ?Taking maths as an example, the way to get to the result is more important than the result itself.?

The French emphasis on application, an unfamiliar approach for many Asian students, is aimed at moulding graduates who think critically at both the theoretical and practical levels.

There is also the question of studying in a language that is quite foreign to most Malaysians.

According to Cordonnier, Malaysian students often need to undergo one year of intensive French classes to reach a proficiency level acceptable at university.

?Language is still an obstacle. Efforts are being made to address this and there are some programmes in English at French institutions as well,? he says.

Demands of the classroom aside, there are also the countless stories of how unfriendly your average Frenchman can be to those who do not speak his lingo.

Dr Mohamad Naufal, however, has a different take on this, citing a rather comical episode from those days when he was still a greenhorn in the language,

?I was behind an Asian couple who were asking a Metro personnel some questions in English but he answered them in French. Although my French was not good at the time, I managed to form a question and to my surprise and the couple's annoyance, the Frenchman answered me in fluent English,? he recalls.

?The French people are not unfriendly, but they are definitely proud of their language and appreciate it if you make an effort.?



But there are rewards



It is the home of breathtaking architectural styles reflected in the likes the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral and Louvre Museum, which also houses iconic artworks such as Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa.

For football fans, there is of course the Stade de France, the venue of French football's finest moment ? the 3-0 win over Brazil in the 1998 World Cup Final.

And if what France has on offer is not quite enough, the country is right next to nine others, namely Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Britain, Monaco and Andorra, so travel options during the summers are aplenty.

?I had a great experience in France mixing with the locals, and my 10 years there can be summarised as a great adventure,? enthused Dr Mohamad Naufal.




For more information, contact the Malaysia-France University Centre at 03-27315880 or e-mail: info@mfuc.org or go to its website at www.mfuc.org.

MSL Travel has student fares to France
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Bogus students 40% OF `FOREIGN STUDENTS' ARE HERE TO WORK, SAYS HOME MINISTRY
Bogus students
40% OF `FOREIGN STUDENTS' ARE HERE TO WORK, SAYS HOME MINISTRY AND WANTS FAST, TOUGH ACTION
by R. Manirajan



PUTRAJAYA: A cabinet minister yesterday gave a shocking estimate of the extent that foreigners are abusing student visas to work here ? 40%.
If Home Minister Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad's estimate is anything to go by, it would mean that some 16,000 foreign students are fakes as the Higher Education Ministry had put their population at about 40,000.

Radzi said some of these students come with the sole intention to work as the immigration levy for students is only RM90. But if they come here to work, the levy is more than RM1,000.

The student visa offers a cheap way to get into Malaysia, and some college administrations are willing to join forces with syndicates bringing in foreign workers as they can earn commissions.

Radzi told a post-cabinet press conference:"I believe about 40% of the foreign students in private colleges are here not to study, but to work and some of the recruitment agencies which can and have brought in students in big numbers have tied up with the colleges." He, however, stressed that some of the private colleges are above board.

He highlighted an operation last week by the ministry on a private college in Kedah where they found 207 students registered in the college. Of these, only six were Malaysians, the rest being Pakistanis (151) and Bangladeshis (41). The rest were from India, Thailand, Indonesia, China and Nigeria.

The foreign students were registered for information system courses but never attended classes. They were working elsewhere, like selling carpets.

Radzi said the ministry is tracking down the students and had recommended to the Higher Education Ministry to shut down this college.

"I think the Higher Education Ministry should find a mechanism to monitor such colleges and close them down.

"In our overzealous ambition to be an education hub, we might have overlooked some of the loopholes, and I think the Higher Education Ministry needs to take immediate action against such colleges; in fact quick action." Higher Education Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed had on Sept 18 said it had withdrawn approval to four private colleges to admit foreign students after they were found to have brought in workers. The decision followed an audit of 182 private institutes of higher learning between April and Sept 15.
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Ten tips for studying abroad
IT IS your first day in a foreign land. You are not too sure where to go, what to eat or which bus route to take. You pull out your glossy little Lonely Planet guidebooks and curse yourself for not trawling through more of these before flying halfway across the globe.

Of late, more and more young people are taking up the option of studying abroad as exchange students, eager to take on the role of globetrotting scholars.

Now, being an exchange student can be very exciting and an important highlight in one?s academic journey. It is also a character building opportunity as youngsters learn to be independent in a place filled with unfamiliar faces.

However, from experience, I have discovered that exchange students have a unique set of concerns to contend with and, without adequate preparation, may end up experiencing a bumpy ride.

1. What to pack

How can you possibly know what you will need for the next six to 12 months?

Should you pack along a duffel bag filled with instant noodles and your favourite John Grishams? What if they don?t have Kit Kat bars where you are going?

Be practical and pack only what you need. You are not going to read all those paperbacks and survive on instant noodles when you are trying to experience a new culture.

Remember, food is every country?s biggest love affair and the best way to participate in a local culture is to eat its food.

Find out what the weather is like and bring suitable clothes. If you plan to jungle-trek and camp, bring outdoor attire and a sleeping bag.

Can?t live without your trusty hair dryer? Check if you will need to bring a power adaptor. The same goes for your handphone charger.

As you pack, throw in some ziplock plastic bags and keep your toiletries sealed in them.

You can also keep your camera and films in these, for if all else gets wet, there will still be proof of your fun-filled trip, all the way to the photo album!

Another must-have is a first aid kit. Choose one made of fabric like soft canvas for easy storage.

If you need to bring along specific medicine, make sure you have sufficient supplies. Label the medicine clearly and carry with you the necessary prescriptions. Customs officers might get suspicious of packets of unlabelled pills in your possession.

Also, pack along a palm-sized sewing kit as wear and tear can take its toll on your backpack and clothes.

2. Carry identification

Apply early for your passport and visas, and photocopy all identification documents before you leave your home country. Give one set to your parents and another to your home country?s exchange programme counsellor.

Keep at least one set for yourself. This makes it easier to process another batch of identification should the original documents get lost or stolen when you are away from home.

Never keep the copies together with the originals.

Also, make it a point to register with the nearest embassy or consulate upon arriving at your host country. This will make your presence known in case of an emergency.

3. Health matters

Ensure that you have sufficient medical insurance to cover various needs, particularly if you plan to indulge in high-risk sports such as jumping off towers and racing down rivers.

Identify your host country?s immunisation requirements, and see your physician, dentist and optometrist prior to your departure. It is also advisable to take along an optical prescription, in case you need to order new glasses or contact lenses.

If you need to see a doctor while abroad, consult with locals first, or you may well end up with a huge bill.

4. Research your host country

It is essential to get your facts right, especially when it comes to practical information such as the average cost of living, latest exchange rate and the best way to move around. Some students are keen to take up part-time jobs abroad.

Whatever it is, be it making sense of a subway map or finding out about a special work visa, the host country?s exchange programme counsellor is often the best person to consult.

Take the effort to find out about your host country?s geography, people and culture. Knowing your host country?s problems and current national affairs will help you communicate better with the locals.

Speaking of communication, the choice of country in the first place depends on a student?s desire ? or hesitation ? to speak in a foreign language. For instance, if you wish to learn Spanish or take up French, make sure you know at least the basics of the language before you pack and go, unless you wish to look like a lost tourist with the IQ of a cupcake.

Bear in mind that some countries are notorious for their insistence on ?helping? foreigners polish up language skills by speaking only in their language.

5. Getting over culture shock

Alas, no matter how much research you?ve done, you are still bound to experience a certain measure of culture shock once you are there. Almost everyone abroad goes through this ? from getting used to the food and language to buying fruit and figuring out how to cross the road without breaking the law.

Basically, there are four stages of culture shock ? the ?honeymoon?, rejection, adjustment and recovery. The ?honeymoon? sees you enthralled by the exotic sights before you. Once your initial passion diminishes, however, you will start to feel frustrated, edgy and a tad homesick.

Among the few things you can do to get through this period is to expect the unexpected. Allow yourself the liberty to mess up ? it is impossible to fit into a new culture immediately, no matter how hard you try.

Make friends with other exchange students as well as local ones. Group together and organise outings like a weekend getaway, a game of tennis or even a carefree night out in the city.

And finally, be ready for anything. You never know when you may find yourself in the midst of a local custom your guidebooks did not warn you about. Keep your sense of humour and an open mind, but set limits. If local customs involve dancing on broken glass or eating fermented squids and you?re just not up to this, respectfully decline.

6. Academic freedom

In many Asian countries, university students find their academic paths set for them ? there is not need to consider options because decisions are made for them.

In contrast, students in Europe manage their own academic affairs and are given a great deal of freedom to choose courses.

But don?t let this throw you off balance. You will soon come to terms with the system and discover the advantages of being able to develop according to your interests.

7. Living on a budget

Most exchange students are on a tight leash where budget is concerned but do not fret. There are ways to eat out without having to spend like a duke.

Forget tuxedoed waiters, crystal chandeliers and leather-bound menus ? look beyond these luxuries and start ?eating on the cheap?. Check out where local students and average Joes eat. Authentic local cuisine need not be expensive if you know where to go.

Ultimately, takeouts are the way to go for anyone on a really strict budget, so be sure to identify bakeries and mini-marts close to where you live.

As for accommodation, in-campus hostels are the best choice if you are looking for safe, affordable accommodation, plus the chance to socialise with your peers.

The next best bet is sharing an apartment with other students.

Again, check with your host country?s exchange programme counsellor and look out for notices put up on bulletin boards reserved for students.

8. Keeping records

Documenting your experience abroad is a must! Pen your thoughts about the places you visit and the people you meet.

A fantastic way to beef up your journal is to accompany your jottings with a collection of ?trip bits? ? subway maps, phone cards, ticket stubs, restaurant receipts and even playful sketches of, say, views from your apartment window or you at the beach with sand between your toes. Have your journal close at hand when you need to take down street directions, scribble out restaurant suggestions or exchange contact information with new friends. This is another way to spice up your travel memoirs.

9. A little piece of home

Try to bring souvenirs from your hometown ? key chains, postcards and little trinkets with a local flavour. These gifts are easy to carry and excellent gestures of appreciation. You can give these inexpensive gifts to, say, a helpful taxi driver or an innkeeper who points out a fantastic cafe known only to locals.

Last but not least, don?t forget to pack along pictures of your family and friends back home as they do wonders for striking up conversation with new friends.

10. ISIC

Usually, students on exchange programmes are bitten by the wanderlust bug. For example, if you are studying in Paris and enjoying life as a baguette-and-Brie backpacker traversing all over France, why not go the extra mile and see the rest of Europe?

For many, nothing is more associated with youth travel than owning an ISIC (International Student Identity Card) ? you immediately become part of a global community made of millions of students who share a passion for travel and adventure.

The card allows you access to over 30,000 discounts and benefits in at least 100 countries worldwide, including access to a 24-hour multilingual emergency helpline service.

For more information on ISIC, visit www.msltravel.com

You can apply for the ISIC at MSL Travel. You require:
a. complete an application form
b. Attach PROOF of your full-time student status
c. MYR 20.00

Information & Application Form can be downloaded from the MSL Website:
www.msltravel.com

MSL Offers Student Fares ... check it at the MSL website.
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