USM’s blunder irks parents and students
GEORGE TOWN: An online blunder by apex-status Universiti Sains Malaysia in its first direct intake of undergraduates led to some 200 irate parents and applicants causing a ruckus here yesterday.
The error resulted in 4,574 students being wrongly informed that they had obtained places at the university.
Red-faced university officials apologised for their mistake when confronted by hollering parents and applicants, some sobbing.
The university had on Friday mistakenly uploaded the names of 8,173 applicants who had met the minimum criteria, stating they were successful in their application although the list should only contain the names of 3,599 eligible students.
The “successful” 8,173 were told to confirm their places with the university by 5pm yesterday.
Applicants and parents starting arriving at the university at 9am yesterday to confirm their places but were told of the mistake.
Tempers flared as parents, some of whom had travelled from other states for the registration, argued with registrar officers.
Acting vice-chancellor (Academic and International Affairs) Prof Ahmad Shukri Mustapa Kamal apologised for the mistake which he blamed on the university.
“The 8,173 names that appeared on the website on Friday were the shortlisted candidates who had met the minimum criteria out of the 22,000 students who applied to USM,” he said at a press conference yesterday.
“We realised our mistake at about 3pm on Saturday and took two hours to rectify the problem.
“By 5pm, only the successful applicants were notified through the website. We also followed up with SMSes and phone calls,” he added. USM was granted the apex status last September, thus allowing it to select its students directly.
Prof Ahmad said the mistake occurred as the university was in a “haste” to prepare the list of successful applicants for the Higher Education Ministry.
Higher Education Department director-general Datuk Prof Radin Umar Radin Sohadi said students who could not get a place at USM would be placed into the University Admission Unit’s (UPU) main pool for selection into other public universities.
A parent, M.T. Cheah, 56, who came from Taiping, Perak, said he could not believe that a university with an apex status could have committed such a mistake.
“My daughter has no appetite to take her breakfast and dinner. The university gave her hope a day earlier but crushed it the next day,” he said.
Another parent, who only wanted to be known as Lim, said his daughter also found her name among the list of successful applicants on Friday.
“We were so happy but only for a day,” said Lim, 49, when met in Petaling Jaya yesterday.
His daughter clicked her acceptance for the dentistry course and an acknowledgement notice appeared on the website,” said Lim.
But on Saturday, the Tunku Abdul Rahman college student went into the website again and found that her name was no longer on the list.
“Today (Sunday), she received an SMS stating that she did not get a place (in USM).”
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