Sep 3, 2012

What is UEC?

well well well. since headlines are supposed to grab readers' attentions. this one really did grab mine. 
saw this in Sunday's Sin Chew.
basically translates to: "SOME UEC SUBJECTS ARE NOT UP TO SPM LEVEL"


usually, i prefer not to make a stand against something so ridiculous. but i guess this is around one time too many. since i'm on a writing sort of mood today (just decided that i should write more for practice purposes) i shall ponder upon this on my poor trash can of a blog.

there're quite a few things to address first.

Section A: FAQ
1. what is UEC? 
UEC stands for the Unified Examination Certificate, the standardized examination of independent chinese high schools in Malaysia, also an A-level equivalent paper. 

that said, it has been regarded as a higher standard than SPM, but slightly lower than STPM. the name itself is kinda ironic right. what "unified" la. it's only for chinese. hahahah. basically its the unified exam of all chinese independent high schools in malaysia. 

it is recognized by most universities (international universities and private malaysian universities), except public universities in malaysia itself.

2. independent chinese high school? why do they even exist? 
the reason for the existence of independent chinese high schools is a sad and noble story. we can trace it back to the British Occupation of Malaya. for a more detailed story, do read this. hahah i'm lazy to write about the whole thing here. erm. basically the thirst for power and politics affected the way the education system was going in Malaya, and Education Acts were enacted to make education in English compulsory in all schools. 

after that, the plan is to change to to education in Malay. 

here's one thing you should know: hot-blooded Malaysian Chinese view their Chinese roots with UTMOST IMPORTANCE, giving it a revered place, even higher than wealth. 

Of course they refused to go by the rules.

the concept is simple: Chinese should learn in Chinese. Malays should be taught in Malay. Indians should be educated with the Indian language. they learn best in this way.

thus they fought for Chinese education, (long and bloody war, hard and weary battle) and the end result was the surviving 60 chinese independent high schools, located in different places all over Malaysia today.

3. do UEC students take SPM and STPM? 
it's entirely optional. but most take it anyway, as an insurance for survival. since the government does not recognize the UEC. 

so we undergo 2 different courses at the same time. in my school, beginning from Senior 1 (that's form 4 for you), we have classes from 7:30am till 3:30pm. after that, the compulsory SPM tuition begins at 6pm till 9pm.

4. so what's the big deal? 
the big deal was already mentioned in the first question. this UEC certificate, is recognized by almost every university, be it foreign or private. BUT NOT IN PUBLIC MALAYSIAN UNIVERSITIES.

that's the very reason my parents are paying ridiculous amounts of private university fees. not because they like paying. but because i don't have a chance to enter public universities at all. (ok la maybe if i did my best for SPM i might stand a chance. MIGHT.)

that's the end of Part A, ladies and gentlemen.

now for Part B
to address the annoying headline above.
i agree that the easiest paper in UEC is Malay. it's true. its freaking pmr level.

but dear sir, have you taken a look at the other papers? none of the papers in SPM come remotely close to UEC.

i have taken both SPM and UEC.

for SPM, i spent my time during the holidays playing, watching movies, rehearsing for my school band's tour in Singapore. did not study, i assure you. yet i managed to pass all my subjects and even get a handful of As.

in UEC, we can sweat it for the whole year, yet might not get great results. getting more than 5 As means you're almost genius already.

that's quality for you.

16 As? i wonder how many of those were relevant subjects.

and your joke of the English paper in SPM? seriously? 1119? that's like. UPSR level of English.


i guess throwing insults at each other won't help at this point. sorry to those who got 16 As in SPM. that's an underhanded insult.

i'm just frustrated at the quality of our nation's leaders. and disappointed.

my parents paid tax.
they also paid my (kinda) expensive school fees and contributed towards chinese education funds.

what for?

they could've used all those extra money for new cars, new homes, or travel every year.

i asked myself this question too.

they worked hard. because they believed that the quality of this education made a difference.

it did.

ok the money isn't the most important thing here. what we fight for is the recognition.

how do you feel if you bought a Hummer and people insist that the Pajero is better?

how is it that the UEC paper can be recognized by so many professional foreign universities, yet rejected by Malaysia itself? and you still ask us why is brain drain happening? you think we're ungrateful brats. you think the professionals overseas don't miss the roti canai or nasi lemak? look into the mirror to find out the reason for brain drain.

all we want is the government to recognize our efforts and the quality of our work. this discussion has been going on for so many years. "discussion" is a nice word.  and we're not asking for something unreasonable. i thought that Najib's administration was listening and we're working towards something better, at last.

yet what is the answer that we get?

"some of your subjects in UEC are even worse than SPM!"


if you can't even differentiate between "some" and "one", do retake your SPM.

*update: supporting evidence*


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. 颜炳寿 is a foolish guy, ask him to get down! Don't be a Chinese leader in Malaysia!!!! His duty is to get UEC recognised and improve the standard!! Not to argue, to give useless speech!!!!
    Get him down!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Kalau spm tu senang sgt berbanding your 'UEC' tu, why didnt you perform your spm yg sng tu, and if you did perform, berlambak kot cina kt ukm um smua . Tak perlu salahkan org lain

    1. First of all, UEC and STPM are equivalent to A level, and SPM is only O level. You can't use your SPM results to apply to degree programmes in universities. In fact, with my UEC results (only above-average standard), I've just got offers from 3 UK universities, 4 Australian universities, 1 HongKong university, and 1 from Taiwan.

      For your info, 3 of them ranked world top100, 2 ranked top200, and the rest are at least top500 universities globally. That's why people had been criticizing Malaysian Government for not recognizing UEC, which is accepted by top universities from all over the world.

      Well, here comes the 2nd point: Most of the papers in UEC are in Chinese/English. But the government exams are mostly in BahasaMelayu. So it is difficult for students to obtain great results in both UEC and GovExams even if the standard of SPM is lower. But take note of this, there are still numbers of UEC students who are able to do so.

      3rdly, unlike the Governments' bad habits, questions of UEC papers will not come out the night before exam, not even once. There are no formulas given in the exam papers too. And all Independent School students will have to maintain certain results to be guaranteed a place into the next year study.

      Lastly, as a UEC student, I do not believe that students in Gov' schools are lower-standard.
      And you can try using your SPM to apply to international universities if you doubt my words.

    2. well it is only logical UEC harder than SPM if, UEC are meant to get the student straight to degree programmes. Unlike SPM leavers, they are either need to do foundation programmes or diploma first in order to do a degree programmes.

    3. Hi LEE KP,

      correct me if i'm wrong, I've tried "googling" on UEC..u said that UEC is recognized by international universities and private malaysian universities, & that you could continue your degree if u were to go overseas. However, i've tried looking for minimum requirements to enroll in private malaysian universities, n it comes out that UEC results can be used to enroll in Diploma programmes but not for Degree Programmes. I've yet to find a private university in Malaysia that allows u to enroll straight into a Degree programme using UEC. Does this mean that you coud only continue to your Degree overseas and not locally? Or did i misunderstood your comment ?

    4. Dear Anonymous
      Speaking as a UEC student with a direct line into the DEGREES * ha! degrees! offered by Malaysian private universities, I could just say that your little Google fest led you into a wild goose chase.Since I got accepted with a full scholarship, I suggest you get your information elsewhere instead of those random websites that offers you false information =) Since we can go overseas, why stay here?

  4. Hi Anonymous, even if i performed well on SPM, no foreign university would take a look at my SPM results anyway, because they know the level of SPM is essentially useless :)

    1. I find it ironic that you, by your own admission, only scored 'a handful of As' in SPM, but feel you're entitled to diminish those who did well in their SPM.

      I scored 10As in SPM, and coupled with SAT and TOEFL, was accepted to Cornell and John Hopkins, among others.

    2. Hey there, congratulations for gaining acceptance into Cornell and John Hopkins. I've already apologized to SPM students in my post, calling it an underhanded insult.

      The main point of my post is to express frustration towards our nation's leaders, who deliberately force talents out of the country and couldn't see the degeneration of this country.

    3. Wow 10 As, that is so average. So many people get many As so I'm not surprised at encountering a person who gets so much in SPM. UEC? That's a different story. Full As in UEC? A rarity.

  5. Do you know if you can use your UEC to enter National University of Singapore to do a degree? Thanks. Your answer will help a little who is interested to enroll in chinese independent school.

    As a side note, I wonder why can't the UEC syllabus make BM on par with SPM at the least?

    1. Hey, yes it's possible. If you just to go the NUS website, they do accept UEC students for degree. I've a few friends who graduated from NUS degree programmes, with the UEC paper.

      haha as for your second question, i wonder why too. Maybe because many students who enroll in Chinese independent high schools do not have a good background in Malay so the UEC people made it easier? But it's not ridiculously easy lah, we're basically on par with spm as we do study the same syllabus, and have some difficult comprehension essays too.

  6. NUS will consider UEC qualification selectively for science/engineering/chinese study related courses only. UEC standard is definitely lower than STPM.

    1. you're right, UEC's standard is lower than STPM :) it's still a paper we can use to enter degree programmes though, rather than taking foundation for another year or spending two years on STPM.

      i have some friends who got in their business and accounting programmes too. it depends on how good you are, basically.

  7. thumbs up! totally agree!

  8. Hi to all the UEC students, I would like to double confirm whether it is true that there is no formula sheet given to the students during the centralized UEC examination for Advanced Mathematics (I) and Advanced mathematics (II)?

    1. Hi Jimmy, as far as i know, we don't have formula sheets. it's basically unthinkable. haha.

    2. Hi Joyce, thank you for the kind verification! :-)

  9. Hi guys... Wat I've done my research on all Singapore university requirements, they only accept STPM and UEC for degree program. Can someone tell me how about Malaysia diploma, do they accept it? Tq

  10. Chinese any where, any time are racist. they cannot stay in any country except in china itself. It not just in Malaysia, also in Australia. Look they tries to make their own examination in this country. Why? they are very hate and envy to anybody except their race. Please chinese, please go back your home town (China), we cannot leave together. i beg to you.

    1. So reading all these comments have gained a lot of knowledge but yours, oml im malay and youre the racist one here. Please respect their efforts in getting better education. Why arent we trying to do the same? One of the reasons why i have encouragement to become better is because of the many chinese in malaysia who are doing very well now. I know some malays are doing very well too but you cant compare the amount of chinese who are doing much better. If everyone in malaysia were all lazy and hypocritical like some malays, then there wouldnt be much left in malaysia. Btw im not trying to be racist. I said some. And if these chinese can get a degree straight after uec, why dont we study god damn hard for spm and a-levels. God bless.

    2. Anonymous,
      hey idiot, get your facts straight. Malays descend from Yun Nan and excuse me, where is Yun Nan? It is in China. Btw what about Parameswara? Indonesia, I believe. So go study harder and STFU with your stupid racist comments.
      I agree, I've met Malays who are really great and even some of them study UEC. I personally hold both spm and UEC certificates but UEC gets me a scholarship so I chose to use that instead.Hope you have a good day =)

  11. Thank you for the article!

  12. Damn..after hearing various sides of the argument..UCE, SPM, STPM...sounds confusing, political and racially motivated, with many hidden agendas struggling along to make lives difficult for youngster who just want to get a decent education.

    I opted for "O" and "A" levels...currently studying at a private college and working part time to subsidise the high tuition fees as my parents could not afford it

    Really admire my counter parts in other British commonwealth countries where their public schools teach O and A levels, an exam standard that is accepted worldwide and best of all, not entwined in politics, nationalism and racist issue. Education is for the pursuit of knowledge and betterment of humanity...sadly here it becomes a platform for politics and racist propagandas

  13. Since I am neither UCE or SPM/STPM inclined, let me share my encounter with students from both sides of the fence

    Many UCE friends of mine is academically boxed in , lacking in human soft skills and creative thinking.

    SPM/STPM friends of word to sum it much so that I distrusted the system enough to forego this free education and opted to pay through my nose to study O and A levels

    Just my personal observation, feel free to disagree and no grudge will be kept. Afterall, an open mind is the first step towards a truly meaningful education