There are various other channels one can pursue to excel later in life, said R Sivamani, a veteran in the student career guidance line for 25 years.
Speaking to the Vizhuthugal programme this morning, Sivamani said besides academic credentials, a student's attitude and level of general knowledge also plays a part in influencing his or her future.
"For instance, Bahasa Melayu and History are currently compulsory pass subjects, and students are required to get at least 3 to 5 credits to further their higher studies.
"But fret not, there are ways for students who performed below par - even failing all the subjects, to advance further in life," he said.
Those who obtain the required credits can either opt to go to Form 6 or take a diploma at a higher education institution, whereas those who fail the must-pass subjects can retake them in July or November the same year, he added.
From then on, there are various channels for the latter to pursue, such as polytechnics, or vocational studies, Sivamani pointed out.
"One common misconception among the people are all higher education institutions are parked under the Education Ministry.
"That's not true. For instance, the IKBN (National Youth Skills Institute) falls under the jurisdiction of the Youth and Sports Ministry, National Academy of Arts, Culture and Heritage (Aswara) is under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.
"Each of the institution provide different fields of studies for students, across various industries."
Attitude, General Knowledge Matters TooAttitude and general knowledge are equally as important as academic credentials, in charting a youth's life path, Sivamani noted.
"When I ask most students about what they want to be when they grow up, they tell me they want to be a doctor, lawyer, or engineer.
"However, it's not as simple as that. You have to certain characteristics to fit into certain kinds of job. We have heard of people who quit the medical line after a few years because they can't stand the sight of blood, and so on.
"This is where a psychometric test, currently conducted on Form 3 students, will come in handy," he said.
According to him, the test is to ensure students are placed according to their interests and capability.
Sivamani further stressed the importance of students having sound grasp of general knowledge.
"Academic achievement does not equal the general knowledge quotient. A student with only 5 credits may be knowledgable in general issues than a straight As student."
Seek AccreditationLast but not least, Sivamani also reminded students to only pursue their higher studies in courses and institutions recognised by the MQA (Malaysian Qualifications Agency).
"If you take a course not recognised by the MQA, you will face problems securing a study loan, and securing jobs after graduation, among others," he cautioned.
Those who have doubts about the way forward after their SPM examinations, can seek advice from the group of volunteers at the Concerned UM Indian Graduates - a community organisation which provides guidance to school leavers.
If you missed the interview with Sivamani earlier, you can still catch up on Vizhuthugal on Vaanavil (Ch201), at 7pm today.
Photo source: nst.com.my