Sunday, May 31, 2009

USM apologises for technical glitch over admission - Star


GEORGE TOWN: A technical blunder on Universiti Sains Malaysia’s (USM) official website has created confusion among 4,574 students about their eligibility to enter the university.

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

And USM deputy vice-chancellor (Academic and International Affairs) Prof Ahmad Shukri Mustapa Kamal apologised unreservedly for it. The students, who had received offer letters via soft copies on the website, were left disappointed when they were told of a technical mistake by USM.

The university had wrongfully uploaded all the names, together with 3,599 successful applicants, on the website.

Prof Ahmad Shukri said that about 8,000 students had pre-qualified for the university from a total of 22,000 students who had applied to enter USM.

“They met the minimum criteria to enter the university in accordance to the programme of USM.

“However, after the final three-day selection from May 26-28, we have decided to take in only 3,599 of them.

“The remaining names will be submitted to the University Admission Unit (UPU) main pool for selection into other public universities,” he said during a press conference Sunday.

Ahmad Shukri said USM only realised their mistake at about 3pm on Saturday, some 24 hours after the names of the 8,000 odd students were put up at the website on Friday.

“We took two hours to rectify the problem. By 5pm on Saturday, only the actual successful applicants were notified with the issuance of offer letters and letter of acceptance.

“We regret the mistake that caused inconvenience to the anxious parents and students.

“I apologise for the mistake and USM will do whatever we can to solve the matter,” he said.

He said USM had since notified all the successful applicants via SMSes and phone calls, adding that an official letter would also be sent out.

He said this was the first time that USM was selecting students directly after it was granted Apex status recently.

He assured that the names of students, who were not accepted by USM, would reach UPU.

“We have a short time in notifying the successful candidates. We have no choice but to inform them via SMSes, website and phone calls,” he said.

On the officer who committed the mistake, Ahmad Shukri said he wanted to resolve the matter before carrying out a post mortem and deal with the culprit.

In Petaling Jaya, Higher Education department director-general Datuk Prof Radin Umar Radin Sohadi Students said that those rejected by USM will be placed UPU’s main pool for selection into other public universities.

He said USM had been given autonomy to organise its own intake under its Apex status.

“Whoever is qualified, is offered a place and accepts the offer will go to USM. These students will also be excluded from the main pool.

“However, if they are rejected by USM - then they will be put into the main pool automatically. This process of selection will be done soon and will be announced in the third week of June,” he said when contacted on Sunday.

Meanwhile, a father of a 20-year-old girl came to The Star office on Sunday to complain about the anxiety caused by confusion in USM.

His daughter who refused to be named, checked the university’s website on Friday evening and found her name among the list of successful applicants for the dentistry course.

“She clicked her acceptance for the course and an acknowledgement notice appeared on the website,” said Lim, who showed the acceptance letter to the Star.

“We were so happy but only for a day,” said Lim, 49, when met yesterday.

On Saturday, the Tunku Abdul Rahman college student began to hear news about the list of succesful applicants being changed.

“True enough, we checked on Saturday at around 11pm and her name was no longer on the list.

“And today morning, a SMS was sent to her stating that she was not a successful applicant and it was a technical error.

“USM is an Apex university and it is supposedly an elite university.

“But all they can say about the confusion is that is a ‘technical error’?,” he said.

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