Students’ achievement in co-curricular activities is important although in terms of weightage for university admission, it only contributes 10% compared to the 90 % for academic achievement.
He said that tertiary education does not focus on academics alone but on the contrary covers other aspects including communication skills, ethics, team work, professionalism and others.
“So, beginning this academic session, the Ministry with the collaboration of all the universities will start to evaluate soft skills as an important element for admission into institutions of higher learning,” he said.
He said this at a press conference after presenting his speech and witnessing the Oath-taking ceremony in conjunction with the ceremony to welcome Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) students for the 2010/2011 academic session here today.
Also present at the ceremony were Chairman of the University Board of Directors, Prof. Emeritus Dato’ Dr. M. Zawawi Ismail; USM Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Tan Sri Dato’ Dzulkifli Abdul Razak; Deputy Vice-Chancellors; and principal officers of the university.
Dato’ Saifuddin added that although only 10% was taken into account, a students’ cocurricular achievement was the determining factor in the decision to allow a student to pursue tertiary education.
“If a student obtains an overall A for the academic part, but has zero for cocurriculum, there is no guarantee that the student will be automatically accepted into the university. There is a huge possibility that the student will face problems in his or her application to gain admission into the university.
He therefore urged students and their parents to take a serious view of the cocurricular requirement at the school level so that they can compete with other applicants to further their studies at tertiary level.
Meanwhile, Prof. Tan Sri Dato’ Dzulkifli in his speech said that students have to be more sensitive to the changes taking place in the environment today so that they can compete more significantly.
As an example he said that higher education today has to change according to the current needs and demands of the nation so that the future will be brighter and more focused.
“In line with the spirit of ‘Siswa Lestari’ or Sustainable Students, the University has high hopes that the students will think in terms of the future they want to build under the USM brandname.We also hope that the students will find ways to emphasise certain aspects including sustainability and universal values that are no less important for USM to continue charting success after success,” he stressed.
At the same function, Dato’ Saifuddin launched the book ‘Pimpin Siswa’, that is, a training module to build personality and character among the students. The module was first introduced last year.