I do apologize for the lack of updates. Life for me has been pretty hectic. Anyway I return with an update for students who sat for their STPM 2005 examinations and are now waiting for their UPU results to be announced somewhere in the end of June.
Before I start though, I would like to thank my friend Kelly for providing me with the information that I am about to reveal. And this concerns the selection procedure for entry into local public universities.
As I have been made to understand, the effort is entirely manual. Not automated by computer as I had thought (and should have been in the first place). First, your grades are calculated and transformed into a score, which is then added with other criterias like co-cu participation, family background, location, etc etc. Then a total 'score' is calculated from all these disparate criterias and this represents your particular score.
In a way, this is not dissimilar to procedures for applying for foreign citizenship, where they will also grade you with scores based on your background, expertise, etc.
After your score is tallied, your first choice is then looked at. If you beat the score of the last person who qualified for that course, then you are offered that course. 'Last' meaning the lowest scoring student who still managed to get into that course.
The list is processed alphabetically and immediately you can see a few flaws with this implementation. First, the fact that since the list is done alphabetically, there will arise a situation where students who are processed first will gain entry into a course while those who are processed later (K, L, M, etc) will not since to gain entry, you must beat the least scoring student. So if you just manage to equal his or her points, then you won't get the course.
Secondly, the amount of work is amazing! They have processed up to the letter C and already all the UM faculties are full. That means that for every student who beats the lowest scoring student, they have to re-evaluate the second choice for the unfortunate student who got pushed out. Nearing the end of the list, it is not surprising that by processing every name, you will end up having to shuffle around seven or eight people because the first student beat the cutoff, so bumping another into their second choice, which then bumps a third student... you can see where this is going.
What I cannot undersand is... WHY? Why didn't they just hard-code the methods for counting the scores into the online form that we fill? After all, our data has already been digitized, so it's a matter of manipulating them through a software programme designed to interface with the database that stores all our data. After that, it's just a matter of coding the rules for university seat allocation and letting the computer run through the whole score-list. With this approach, I don't think it will take more than a day to finish processing all the forms!
I really honestly couldn't think of a reason for this gross inefficiency. The only reason why we need human 'examiners' is because of subjectivity, but there is nothing subjective about university entrance!
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