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As results from the SPM exams loom near, parents face the dilemma of choosing a programme of study best suited to their child, bearing in mind the course and the cost of the programme, which must fit their budget.

In the 80s and 90s, choices of pre-university programmes were limited. Students could either continue with Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia STPM) to gain entry into local universities, (provided they get the required results) or opt to do A-Levels, South Australian Matriculation or the Canadian Grade-13 Diploma.

Fast forward to 2024 and the scenario has completely changed. With a plethora of choices, parents and students are spoilt for choice. With newly registered pre-university programmes, parents have to analyse and choose the course which provides value for money - money being key. Many families have two children or more and the budget has to be worked out carefully, as pre-university determines the final degree to be chosen.

Today, the latest figures compiled in 2022 reveal there are 434 private higher education institutions in Malaysia, with 54 private universities, 39 university colleges, 331 colleges and 10 foreign branch campuses, offering Malaysian parents a huge range of choices. While many private tertiary universities are scattered in various parts of Malaysia, Klang Valley remains a popular choice with many foreign and outstation students enrolling with the premier private universities.

The popular pre-university programmes for parents are A-levels, Foundation, Diploma and for those wishing to study in specific countries such as Australia, there is the South Australian Matriculation (SAM), the Canadian Matriculation Programme (CMP) for Canada, certificate courses for culinary arts and other programmes and more recently, the International Baccalaureate, which offers the Diploma programme, otherwise known as IBDP.

The main objective of IBDP is “to provide an international university admission qualification, suitable for the growing mobile population of young people, whose parents are part of the world of diplomacy, international and multinational organisations.”

For parents, pre-U is the connector for their children, who have successfully completed their SPM or IGCSE or any secondary qualification, to take the next step and choose a pre-university course, which finally leads to a degree course. The difficulty these days is making the right choice, at the right price for the parents, which then leads the studentto feel passionate and motivated to successfully complete the pre-university programme and transition to university.

The SPM Bulletin 2024 is designed to assist parents review their choices and make the best choice for their child.