Sunday, May 04, 2008

Scholarships for 9As SPM students

Read this in the Star today. JPA announced today that all SPM students who have scored 9As and above would be given scholarships to do their Form 6 and matriculation studies. The Chief Secretary to the Government also said that these students would also be sponsored for their undergraduate degree at a local university and if they managed to get a place in an Ivy league university or its equivalent, they would also be sponsored.

In principle, I think that this is a good move since it will solve the problem of having different criteria for different people when it comes to giving out JPA scholarships. I also think that it's a good move to channel potential JPA scholars to do their studies locally, since I think that this is much more cost effective, especially given JPA's poor track record at retaining foreign JPA scholars.

I'm not sure how effective this policy will be from the perspective of attracting 9A students to take the STPM exams since studying Form 6 is not prohibitively expensive in the first place and from what I know, neither is matriculation. I won't be surprised if most of the students who score 9As and above for their SPM and are in the matriculation stream already receive scholarships in some form or fashion.

Although studying in local public unis are also not very expensive (compared to studying in private unis / colleges or going overseas) and students can easily take out PTPN loans, these scholarships can definitely help those who come from less privileged backgrounds where even a few thousand RM would go a long way in helping alleviate the financial burden on them and their families.

This doesn't change my mind in regard to the need to abolish undergraduate scholarships to go overseas, even (or especially) if students get into Ivy league schools (or their equivalent).

But I think that channeling scholarships and funds in a race blind manner at the Form 6 / matriculation and local public uni levels is to be commended.

25 comments:

Shawn Tan said...

Your wrong here. It's not race blind. From the wording in the article, it's totally blind. And I'm not sure that, that is an entirely good thing.

I honestly feel that a 8A student from a poor family, deserves the scholarship more than a 9A student from a rich family. I also feel that a well-rounded 8A student deserves it more than a 9A bookworm.

But that's just me.

kbguy said...

A greed with Shawn Tan. Basically what they say does benefit the non bumis for poltical mileage. As at present even, Bumiputras with 3A's and above are already receiving scholarship, and that includes entry to Matrix College and UiTM (UPU). There are more non bumis getting 8A's than 9As. Does that mean non Bumis with 8A's will be loosing out ? This is a twist and turn gimmick, unless they apply to all including Bumis, meaning whoever regardless of race will be treated the same. That means if a Bumi with 3A's gets to go to matrix college, they must apply the same to non bumi as well. It goes the same to JPA, UPU and UTP.

daffodils said...

What Kbguy said is correct. For those who are doing matriculation, even before the announcement those without 9A's almost all if not 100%are already receiving scholarships. No big deal.

It is the disadvantaged form six students who do the one and a half year program have not been given much aid all along.

True enough studying Form 6 is not prohibitively expensive in the first place since exam fees have been abolished. Studying for a local degree in the local universities is also affordable.

Although much has been said about form six being a difficult pre-U program, it is more widely recognised by most foreign universities in Singapore, UK and Australia.

Studying abroad is definitely very costly and this is where finanacial assistance is sorely needed. If they do sponsor excellent STPM students who secure a place in the Ivy league then that will be highly commended.

STPM students who pass with flying colours are in a class of their own especially those who score CGPA's of 4. They deserve as much assistance as those in the matriculation stream who do only a year program.

kbguy said...

When comes to education, we are still considered 2nd Class. How can our younger generation support the government or MCA when they are treated differently from Bumiputras. They are also hoping for better future but all they get is frustration. Remember ! its not only them who will say goodbye to MCA, its all in the family and their siblings.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing that PSD could announce more scholarships at all when this country is revisiting its budget and expenses. Granted, there is a need to fund our scholars (whether Form 6 or otherwise) but why can’t it be a loan to ensure future generations will also get the same benefits. It is well known that a loan is preferably over scholarship and such equitable system has been in practiced in Australia for the last 20 years or more. Its call HECS and you can google it. To put it simply, when you start working the government will deduct your payment directly by adding to your income taxes. In the Malaysian context, I venture, it should be extended by taxing your parents or siblings should borrower default or decided to work in an overseas jurisdiction merely to avoid paying the loan in the form of taxes. It is also unbelievable for the need to send 2,000 scholars a year to overseas institutions (STAR – page 4 on 3.5.2008) when the local institutions here are begging for students around the world. The overseas cost is 3 times more than the locals which means by sending 2,000 overseas the PSD is actually depriving 4,000 locals of the same for the same cost. And face it, if these students are only doing undergraduates why the need to go overseas, anyway. Frankly, if them could get into top ranking universities on their own like Oxford/Yale etc, from my experience these same universities will readily provide their own scholarships.

Anonymous said...

"Frankly, if them could get into top ranking universities on their own like Oxford/Yale etc, from my experience these same universities will readily provide their own scholarships."

May be for the American universities but very uncommon for British universities, even Oxford.

What A Lulu said...

"Top-scoring students who get a place in a Malaysian branch of a foreign university such as Monash University, Nottingham University, Curtin University of Technology and Swinburne Unversity will also be offered scholarships."

i would have liked to see IMU on the list of universities. i think they have been one of the better training schools in Malaysia for future doctors.

Anonymous said...

Please do not believe what u read in newspaper 100%,didn"t you read "MONDAY, APRIL 21, 2008
Got into Harvard, Rejected by JPA". Many who put high hope will be dissapointed. Do you know that Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) offer special discount rate for those with good SPM result 7A,8A and 9A(100% discount school fee's). Apply to study Foundation in UTAR. Only 1 years (save time)and can continue to do your degree at the course that you like/choose. I have met many students regret continue studies in FORM 6. So why bother to study in FORM 6 or in Matriculation (99% malay students). Wake up dude.

Fikri said...

Perhaps the poor 8A student will miss out on this scholarship, but as some has pointed out in previous posts, there are other financial bridges (scholarships/loans/bonds, etc) available at various level. Would be nice to see poorer students get support, though. Perhaps what could be done is for the scheme (any scheme) to provide only part of the fees and costs. The remaining could be made up with personal financing and other grants/scholarships. This way, the government money could be spread out over a bigger number of students.

My bigger worry is as to whether this promise will be kept to to begin with. As we all know, the Abdullah administration has little qualms cancelling mega-projects (I have a feeling that the Penang second bridge is next), so the future the next generation wouldn't be too difficult for them to backtrack on.

And Anonymous (5/05/2008 10:12:00 AM), yeah, the foundation is cheaper and quicker. However, it's only if you're entirely sure of what you want to do. Many people don't. If they do, then great.

After all, why bother with places that has 99% Malay students? Might as well go overseas, where they have 99% white people. Or China, where they have...well, 99.9% Chinese :)

On a different note, apparently according to the law, Chinese universities must have at least some halal food for their Muslim students on campus. I'm not entirely sure about it, but I don't think my Chinese friends have been telling porkies (geddit? Halal? Pork-ie? :) ). But if it is true...then how great is that? :)

pemikirzaman said...

First of all,i think ur opinion about the undergraduate ssholarships should not send to overseas is typical.For me,that way still relevants when we consider some of this students will get the jobs neither locally nor overseas.They still can give benefits to the country.Not all of them want to continue their studies after they had graduate.So,the relevant for the gov to send them overseas to get all the experience,skill and get the positive values that had been practiced by that community.The majority of this students wll searching for jobs after their graduation.So,the wy gov send them is right in order to put some knowledge from the modern country to bring it in our country.this is the role for these undergraduate students,because of their amounts.Thats the right wy for gov.i think it is still reasonable.

Abe said...

I was just wondering.. Is this new implementation applicable to the students who sat for their SPM in 2007? It mentions they would sponsor students who got into Ivy League unis, so that means, they don't care where or which college you went to after secondary school as long as you get entry into an Ivy League and you scored the 9A's in your SPM they will then sponsor you unconditionally?

It's so vague and unclear. -_-

ryansoh said...

This is quite a remarkable announcement, and probably shows how much can get done when pushed.

Of course there are quibbles with 8As vs 9As and meritocracy vs need. Grades need to have a cutoff point somewhere, and wherever it is will be will always be disputed. Meritocracy vs need is a philosophical difference and it comes down to what it is the scholarships are trying to achieve.

But this announcment is a virtual guarantee regardless of race with transparent and objective criteria.

It's hard to see how you can ask for more than that.

Mathias said...

As long as one can achieve 9As, regardless of financial background, should be given scholarship. I do not agree with comments that rich students shouldn't be given scholarship.

If that's the case, there's no point for rich student to work hard as there's no reward at the end of the days as the public would label them as "he is rich enough to study".

In addition, "rich" is a very very fuzzy and subjective word. How rich is rich and how poor is poor?

For me, as long as the student is smart, he should be given a scholarship regardless of race, financial background etc. Is the academic merits that count.

Pancasara said...

Consider this case.

Mr R got 10 A's...he's the son of a successful tycoon, went to school in stylish Mercedes, have personal tutor at home, and went to first class tuition centre in evening.

Whereas Mr P only managed to score 7 A's...lived in rural village in Perak, depends solely on textbook as no way he could afford to buy supplementary revision book, worked as part-time to generate extra income to help his family.

For me, the scholarship should go to Mr P.

Yes, academic merit do counts...but just to a certain extent. Mr R's parents can easily afford their son's study expenses...but how about Mr P?

That's why it's useless to give scholarship solely on merit. Look on the bigger picture...Mr P would have done the same, or even better if he enjoyed the same privilege and condition as Mr R. But unfortunately he's just a son of a rubber-tapper.

Marc said...

i wonder, "jpa announced that ALL SPM students who have scored 9As and above would be given scholarships to do their Form 6 and matriculation studies".

are they referring honestly 2 'ALL' students from all walks of life or the 'ALL' only refers 2 the chinese & indians while the average bumiputra with 3 - 5 A's result will be given an automatic privilege 2 go through matriculation???

somehow i feel there's always a catch behind these 'promises'.

Anonymous said...

Matthias, while it is fair for a "smart" student to be rewarded with a scholarship, bear in mind that many of these "smart" students do come from well-to-do families who can very well afford college or university education. We do really need to spare a thought for those who are in need or who are deprived of higher education because of their poor family background.

Bear in mind that the number of scholarships available are definitely limited (the PSD has limited these to those with 9As and above)and if a large number of these are taken up by those who can afford to pay, then the number available to those who can't afford will be definitely reduced.

We just don't want to build a 'smart' society but a 'caring' one as well. I have seen many scholarships going to those who can really afford higher education on their own. In fact, in recent years there has been an intense scrambling for such scholarships, using the excuse that they 'deserved' them after all.
There is very little thought for those who did not do so well but who badly needed some kind of aid. I don't think the reward of a scholarship for hard work is a good reason for studying hard. We miss the point of education when we bring ourselves down to that material level.

To say that " "rich" is a very very fuzzy word" is not totally correct - for it doesn't take much to identify those who are really rich . In actual fact, you don't have to be "rich" to send your children to higher education. If you can't afford to send your children overseas, you can always enrol them in our local institutions, whether public or private. But just see how they clamour for scholarships to some prestigious overseas universities! Who doesn't want, when it is absolutely free! But think again for those who are less fortunate - and I think they form the majority. Think for those who did not obtain 9As, maybe just a few As, but who deserve to be given a chance to make it but who will never make it because of their financial situation. Of course, we can blame their parents for being poor, but remember that many did not ask to be poor in the first place and many did not have the opportunities to become "rich".

I think recent developments (including this most recent one) on the scholarship scene have not been too healthy - maybe not even just - when we view it from the whole cross-section of Malaysian society. I do agree that certain bright students should be give "merit scholarships" but such scholarships should be restricted to those exceptional ones. I think the vast majority can do well with a loan (if they really need one)which when paid back can enable others to benefit as well. In this way, we can save millions which can be used for other more urgent economic and social needs.

More importantly, we can finally make a move towards a more caring and definitely more "educated" society. We need to build a society where the rich can truly help the poor, and not a society where the rich become richer and the poor poorer.

Anonymous said...

Hi Fikri,FYI please read "Non-bumi quota in residential schools won’t be increased" posted by super admin, sunday 4th may 2008@ www.malaysia-today.net/. Comment(1) written by whiteheart, May 04, 2008 | 13:48:37, (2)written by agkamarul, May 04, 2008 | 15:17:55,(3)written by vheddoque, May 04, 2008 | 17:33:48,(4)written by petestop, May 05, 2008 | 01:26:29. It is sad till today all this still exist. I'm merely looking for future one day all malaysians regardless races will be given equal opportunity to study here & thus contribute back to malaysia(brain drain to other countries). But SAD to say, it is not going to happen sooner.So for non-malay it is better to study in majority chinese or indian enviroment, sorry.

Fikri said...

Anon, I did indeed check out your point of references (though I have to admit, your way of informing me looks really, really complex at first :) ). While I no doubt believe that such experiences are not irrelevant, it has to be noted that most of the experiences jotted down in the comments section were had decades ago. It serves as an insight, but it can't be relied upon completely if you're looking at the present situation.

But let's say, for the sake of this discussion, that such experiences are still had these days. Let's say that Chinese kids are still be marginalised in national-type schools. While I'm not at all condoning it, from my experience, I believe that such experiences are also to be had outside of the national-school types. People discriminate and mock regardless, though it's not always racist, cultural or historical in nature. Not everyone, of course, but there will be a fair number who'll leave their mark.

So maybe it's Malaysia that has the problem. Let's leave the country, then. How about England, then? A popular destination for many Malaysians, and it's a democratic, meritocratic country. No, wait, we can't, because we have to "f*ck off to your country you f*ck*ng Moroccan b*st*rd" (despite the fact that Morocco is, obviously, nowhere near Malaysia. Not even the same continent).

How about Korea instead? Ah, bugger, you probably won't be able to eat half of the food that you theoratically should be able to eat because the cook absolutely insists on putting pork into your food ("because otherwise it'll taste different" is the rough translation).

Of course, the above are rough snapshots of my own experience, which is not entirely shaped by these bad apples. Nevertheless, it makes me believe (even after my return back to Malaysia) that discrimination, amongst other barriers, exist no matter what situation you are put in. Perhaps they are not always as racist, historical, or cultural in nature; nevertheless, whatever situation you are in, there will always be barriers (even in 99% Chinese institutions). And they will most certainly be unpleasant.

So what, then, could be the solution? A multicultural approach? After all, you (and many others here) hope that "all malaysians regardless races will be given equal opportunity to study here." Yet at the same time, you suggest that non-Malays are better off being in a non-Malay environment. I think that approach leans more towards preservation of oneself rather than having a multicultural experience here.

So how do you break the cycle? Surely there are national schools out there that don't have idiots calling their own students "pendatang"? Or are all national schools like this? After all, the way that people speak of this issue, it seems that all national schools are education institutes not worth touching with a bargepole. The same applies for all public universities as well.

Perhaps what we should do is have a school that splits the entry equally amongst the four races (including 'dan lain lain'), and then cherry pick the best students who applied (note: best who applied, not necessarily the best students).

At the same time, the way that a lot of people speak of education scares me, because it strikes me that to them, the biggest factor in a child's life is the schooling. Not the parenting, not the religious sessions with the ustaz, the friends they play futsal with, the reality shows they watch on TV, the porn they surf on the net. Nope, none of those...the biggest factor in our kids's lives is a keris waving idiot, who bastardised the act (which in itself is OK) to become a symbol of putting down the pendatangs in Malaysia (which is most certainly not OK).

Perhaps while we continue to criticise the government, we should also look in the mirror and think of how we ourselves can improve the multiculturalism of our children.

Fikri said...

Anon 5/05/2008 10:13:00 PM:

"There is very little thought for those who did not do so well but who badly needed some kind of aid."

A very good point. I admit to not thinking so much thus far about those who didn't do that well either (and even less about those who don't or can't go to school).

Perhaps, then, what we need are two kinds of scholarships, one based purely on merit, and one based purely on financial need. Essentially, the current scholarships would be split up into two to support this model.

Pancasara said...

No need to split the current scholarship scheme into two...we just need a bit of adjustment.

Allocate a certain number of percentage, let's say 80% for top performers (9A's and above), and the rest is for students averaging 5A's to 8A's who come from poor families.

After all, they are not actually "average"...they have the potential to perform much better given the right guidance and environment.

kbguy said...

This 9A's scholarship thing, they think it's a great idea ? The minister just want to buy votes for next election from the Indians and chinese. Which bumiputra students will still go to form 6 and matriculation college with that results ? Only people of our race are forced to go there. Do you ever heard that your bumiputras firends who apply for matrix with 9As and above ? Nope ! They either get it to UPU with asasi sains, medic course or offered JPA scholarship because they dare says they entitled for it. If they don't get it, they'll "F" the gomen and bring the matters to parlimen, and in a matter of time, they'll get the offer. And it's people like us, 2nd class citizen end up in form 6 !

Student spm2007 said...

hmm...i score 12As in my spm 2007..
since study form 6 is almost free...
what the heck is the scholarship for?? is it mean that the RM50 fees for stpm ???
hmm....hope the PSD or watever give us more details abt the scholarship...dun smokescreen us....
we 'student' need clarification....

"jpa announced that ALL SPM students who have scored 9As and above would be given scholarships to do their Form 6 and MATRICULATION STUDIES".

yes, matric...90% malays....
who is actually the one there are sponsoring?

good result in stpm does'nt guarantee entry in a local u...

well well well.....

promise remains as promise...

12As in spm2007,
head-prefect,
president of MRCS,
president of caunseling club,
president of Prostar..
state level -scrabble competition

rejected by petronas,jpa,khazanah.

frustrated.

Anonymous said...

from jacky,

this is bullshit!

Japheth Lim Gene-Harn said...

http://whatisgeneharn.blogspot.com/2009/02/matriculation-vs-stpm.html
you might want to share my opinions about matriculation and stpm. and yes i am a person who studies in Matriculation, and i believe that everyone's views are just perspectives, not facts. I dont even call newspaper as a facts provider, they are so corrupted with nonsense during these times..

I am just standing on my point that, scholarships are to be given to smart students, scored 9As above etc? Who cares whether you have a rich poor background, no one can measure the amount of rich* and scholarship remains as a motivation to strive in studies.

To Student SPM 2007, let me guess, you have a non A scored subject? and where do you study? it refers to the location sometimes. And if you are thinking about your curriculum achievements are high, i doubt that if you want to compare with mine. It's not about the posts dude.Sigh* perhaps you got JPa interview and didn't got choosen due to lack in speech performance? and STPM and Matriculation have their own paths and pros and corns, so don't even compare them. Every course has their own stand and advantages, afterall, education and working life is a whole new angle.

james said...

I think when we discussed about the JPA scholarship, we should first define what type of scholarship is this.
Basically, scholarship can be divided into need-based scholarship and merit-based scholarship.

For the former, the emphasis is more on giving outstanding students from family with income below certain threshold.
For the latter, it is just all about academic achievements, CCA involvement, leadership, contributions etc. Of course, a potential recipient should be morally upright and have a sense of integrity.

Having said so, I have no idea what type of scholarship does JPA scholarship fall under. I am just pointing out that we should decide who deserve it more based on its nature.