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    Dubious college messages flood post-SPM students

    PETALING JAYA: After completing the SPM exams and receiving their results last month, parents of college-bound students are now inundated with push notifications from academic institutions. These marketing messages, according to parents, are even being sent in the early hours of the morning.

    “I would receive up to 30 messages from strangers in a day,” said Farisha Malek, a 48-year-old accountant whose son scored 8A1 in the SPM. “And I have been receiving even more messages from various institutions since late last month.”

    Initially, Farisha found these messages informative. However, the constant beeping and late-night notifications have become a nuisance. “When they keep coming after midnight, it becomes a nuisance,” she added.

    Christie Ng, a teacher whose twin daughters recently received their SPM results, has also been bombarded with messages from unknown sources promoting various courses, from cabin crew programs to customer service and skills training. “Some invite parents and students to attend talks or open days, while others ask us to bring our documents and join interview sessions,” she said.

    Ng is perplexed as to how these strangers obtained her contact details and her daughters’ names. She had only provided her contact number to her children’s school. “My kids submitted my number for all forms given by the school for career seminars. Their friends, who provided their own numbers, also received these messages,” she added.

    Last month, a reader of The Star, Nordin Abdullah, shared a similar predicament. “In the last few weeks, I have been inundated by a steady stream of text messages and phone calls from various sources asking my daughter to consider a given course or attend a briefing by a particular learning institution,” he wrote. “They know my number, my daughter’s name, and the fact that she was waiting to receive her SPM results. Yet I have never given any of this information to anyone.”

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    A media consultant, known as Zeta, expressed concerns about the authenticity of these mass-messaging courses. Many of the messages claim that the courses are sponsored by the Education Ministry and that students can receive allowances while studying. However, Zeta discovered that the information provided during an open day event was misleading. She was asked to pay a registration fee of RM800 for her son and daughter’s enrollment after their interview. “Wasn’t the course sponsored by the government? They said it was ‘supported’ by the Education Ministry,” Zeta recalled. “When I asked further, they could not tell me which department under the ministry gave them the backing.” Zeta eventually enrolled her son in a community college through the UPU Online application and her daughter in a Form Six college. “We should not simply trust these messages. We must check their authenticity with the relevant authorities,” she advised.

    Marianne Maran, a sales executive, shared a similar sentiment. She decided to check a higher learning institution’s registration code and the approval code for a course with the Malaysian Qualifications Agency, and discovered that the course her son almost enrolled in was yet to be recognized. The course adviser had not disclosed this information despite sending promotional material daily. “When I threatened to report them to the police, he blocked my number,” Maran said.

    Ling Yu Shuang, who scored 6A1 in her SPM, has also been bombarded with messages promoting courses and education events for months. The messages first started trickling in after the trial exam and intensified after she received her SPM results. “There was too much information, and I didn’t know if it was real. I had to block some of the aggressive senders,” she shared. Ling, who is currently working part-time as a cafe service staff member, is taking her time to decide on further studies. “With my dad’s help, I have signed up for some short courses in the next few months. He said it’s better not to rush so that I don’t end up doing something I don’t like. I hope these short courses will help guide me better later,” she concluded.

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    Credit: The Star : News Feed

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