400,000 expected to compete for place in special schools

400,000 expected to compete for place in special schools

PUTRAJAYA: The Ministry of Education (MOE) expects 400,000 students to take the newly-developed Special School Admission Assessment (PKSK) for the 2021 Form 1 and Form 4 intake.

Education Director-General, Datuk Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim, said MOE has made a half-and-half prediction based on experience.

She said that online applications will open from Sept 7 – Oct 2, with the Form 1 assessment conducted from Oct 12 – 23 and Form 4 assessment from Oct 26 – Nov 6.

She said there will be 555 assessment centres scattered around the country and more created if applications exceed the forecast number.  

She said there are only 18,364 places available at fully residential schools (SBP) and religious secondary schools (SMKA) for Form 1 students, and 26,289 places available at SBP, SMKA, technical secondary schools (SMT), vocational colleges (KV) and the Royal Military College (MTD) for Form 4 students.

“We know that some areas do not have adequate Internet connection, but schools can help the students submit their application, too. Everyone is entitled to apply.

“The test is only for those who are interested in enrolling at a special school because it isn’t like the Primary School Achievement Test (UPSR) or Form Three Assessment (PT3). There is a screening process and assessment test,” said Habibah during a media briefing on the new single entry point system.

The components of the assessment test are soft skills (20 per cent), intellectual ability (70 per cent) and articulation in writing (10 per cent).

She said the PKSK does not include entry to the Mara Junior Science College (MRSM) because it has a different qualifying test known as the ‘Ujian Kecenderungan Kemasukan MRSM’ (UKKM).

Elaborating on the assessment format, Habibah said creative ideation and aptitude are evaluated in the written articulation component.

“Students are given 45 minutes to write a Bahasa Melayu essay on a provided topic. The Form 1 essay minimum length is 100 words and the Form 4 essay, 250 words,” she said.

In the soft skills and intellectual ability components, students have to take a 90-minute, online objective exam that measures emotional intelligence (EQ), spiritual quotient (SQ), social skills quotient (SSQ), intelligence quotient (IQ), general knowledge and problem solving skills.

 “The PKSK is a screening mechanism to ensure that the successful students have qualities that match with the National Education Philosophy,” said Habibah.

On how the selection will be done, she said it is based on the school specified by the student and that only one offer of admission will be given.

“If before this (each place was) applied (to) individually, this time there is a single entry point. They will sit for the assessment and the SBP, SMKA, SMT, KV or MTD will select them based on their choice,” she said, while adding there will be a special PKSK for those who test positive for COVID-19.