Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Malaysia scholarship mess and politics interfere - voice of the victims,suggestions, problems

These are appeals from the students who became victims of the adults doing:

July 13 2011 (The Star) & by M. Rajah (Obviously not farsighted enough) Frankly speaking
“I am not asking to be sent abroad. I would be very happy just to have the opportunity to further my studies.
“Even those who did not do as well as me were given scholarships and I am sad to have been overlooked,” she said.

It was sad that a financially needy student, who scored 8A+s, did not qualify for the scholarship.
“But the scholarship has instead gone to an 11A+ student whose family can afford his or her tertiary education,”

“On one hand, the purpose of the scholarship is to reward top scorers but on the other hand, what happens to good students who miss the cut marginally but really need assistance?” 

a)  why not just publish the full list of recipients with their SPM or STPM results? This will settle the issue once and for all. What is there to hide?
b)  there is an urgent need for a total revamp of the award system.
c)   it’s only fair that the authorities set aside a larger provision for those from poor and middle-income groups. c)  And should those from the poor families not make the number, only then could the remaining awards be given to the deserving rich ones
 d) The provision of a quality education is the responsibility of the Government to ensure nation building and prevent the brain drain.
e) scholarships for undergraduate studies should be given out for places in local universities while scholarships for overseas studies should only be given for postgraduate courses.
f) Fair disbursement is the recognition which, will in the long run, encourage our brilliant minds to serve the country.
g) JPA is in obvious need of some of these brilliant minds as well to help put its house in order.

Problems arise:

a)  these irregularities arise because of the department officers’ self-interpretation of the current system where the formula for scholarship disbursement is based on allocating 60% of the 1,500 places based on the country’s racial composition, 20% on merit regardless of race, 10% for Sabah and Sarawak bumiputras and the remaining 10% for students who are socially disadvantaged

b) Those who have attained excellent results but are from well-to-do backgrounds should not deprive the deserving students from low- and middle-income families.

c)  Often, financial constraints and poverty are the main reasons that hold many brilliant Malaysians back from pursuing higher education, irrespective of race.

d)  In the past, priority for the needy was the norm. Sadly, these days it is sometimes who you know who can help pull strings that decides if a scholarship is awarded. Otherwise, it is based on the interpretation of the officers in charge of who is “deserving” and falls under the respective quotas.

e) If the authority that has been given the task to fairly disburse scholarships is unable to carry out its mandate, it reflects a failure on the part of the Government to help deserving brilliant minds to further develop their potential and contribute to the development of the nation.
This in the long-run will only encourage the young minds to look for alternatives elsewhere, such as Singapore that offers scholarships to attract quality workforce from beyond its own borders.

f) should the JPA scholarship controversy remain unsolved, many frustrated parents from the middle-income group will (and some already have), look for scholarship opportunities for their school-going children to join, for example, Singapore’s high schools and junior colleges, just to ensure that they have a clearer path for tertiary education there, instead of in Malaysia.

g) JPA is obviously not far- sighted enough to realise that this perennial controversy over the disbursement of scholar- ships will eventually intensify the current brain drain facing our country.
Being the key recruiting agency for the country, the JPA should take its role seriously in giving recognition to deserving students.