Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Foreign Student Scholarships

Further to the earlier announcement by our Minister of Higher Education, Datuk Shafie Salleh, it was reported a day later at another press conference that "Malaysia will offer tertiary scholarships to 15 to students from foreign countries each year as part of the effort to position the country as a regional centre of excellence for higher education." The piece of news is carried in Bernama, the Star and the New Straits Times.
"We want the cream of the cream, meaning we want to select the best to come here and that is why 15 students will be given the scholarship annually. They will come here and study in some of the best private institutions we have to offer."
This measure of attracting top students to universities in Malaysia, and providing scholarships to 15 of them is a good move, and I fully support it. This way, we can ensure that whoever joins us at our campus will be able to contribute academically in conjunction with the local graduates.

The 15 scholarships is clearly a far cry from the announcement a day earlier, whereby 5% of seats in the local public universities will be allocated to foreign students. The two moves should however not be confused (as I was initially) as these scholarships, if I read correctly, is meant for studies at Malaysian private institutions and not at the local public universities.

The earlier announcement of 5% international students works out to as many as 3,000-4,000 international students per annum, and possibly as many as 12,000 foreign students in our undergraduate programmes at any point of time.

Hence not only is the 5% allocation to international students not favourable for Malaysians, it's also probably not practical as well. Where are we going to find 15,000 foreign students, when at this point of time, Malaysia is home to only some 40,000 foreign students (mainly in the private colleges)?

Once again, Datuk, fikir betul-betul.


Anonymous said...

We want the cream of the cream, meaning we want to select the best to come here and that is why 15 students will be given the scholarship annually. They will come here and study in some of the best private institutions we have to offer.

Ha! Ha! Ha! He! He!
Good daily joke. I just can't stop laughing. Ha! Ha! He! He!

Anonymous said...

What are obvious do not get corrected, instead what are non-pragmatic and costly get conceived
and fed to the public straight in the mass media -- with the usual remark -- "Cabinet has approved so and so ...."

It is ironic to declare oneself as a democratic country, but every policy get churn out without proper consultation, debate and feedback, at least--- at parliamentary or sub-commmittee level.

If it is such policy that would affect thousands of people and generation to come, the whim and fancy (or non-tested) idea of the minister should get some debate and refinement before it is announced to the mass media.

Once again, Datuk, fikir betul-betul.

Anonymous said...

I dun understand????

U kno "Bela Kera di Hutan, Anak sendiri ......?

We dun give enuf scholarship for our own students for postgrad and we talking about attracting other..

How many really get schlorship to do Phd every year?? Wat we get at d best is full pay leave, sum get half pay leave and most of us like me gets no pay leave ... man... !!

Anonymous said...

Why attract international students? I think it's because they want to improve UM ranking...remember that the number of foreign students contributes to the ranking as well?

Anonymous said...

another quick-fix measure by a short-sighted politician!

Ad-hocism seems to prevail..

Datuk, please read the "7-habits of highly effective people"
by Steven Covey so you would think more strategically on Malaysian education !

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

The malays (I mean the poor) would appreciate a helping hand and just show them what to do so that a day will come in the future where no section in our Malaysian society needs government dole (taxpayers hard earned cash), which could be used to enhance the social security net for all Malaysians.

Having said these, there are also poor Chinese and Indians and these should also be given a helping hand by both the government and the compassionate people at large.

Helping one another is a win-win situation and would create a society that really cares, thereby solving communal problems and promoting unity.

Helping the malays by raising the standard of malays is OK.

But helping the malays by lowering the standard of non-malays so that the gap is smaller, is another story.

That is why many malays do not understand why some non-malays are so fussy with the issue of malay special rights.

Anonymous said...

The University of Lincoln is a place of high ambition, a new institution whose progress since it was created in 2001 has been rapid but solidly grounded.

Its vision is to be a 21st century expression of the old university ideal - where a student focus is paramount - at the same time as fulfilling the modern tasks of knowledge generation and transfer for the economic, social and cultural benefit of the cities and regions it serves.

This challenging goal has meant rethinking the University's role and positioning. It has required the appointment of new faculty, professors as well as promising young scholars. It has meant retaining or restoring aspects of the old university tradition - a library for instance, instead of a 1990s learning resource centre; and the nurturing of a research culture.

Yet this has not been at the cost of accessibility. Currently almost all Lincoln's students come from state schools and nearly one-in-five from neighbourhoods with traditionally low levels of participation in higher education.

At Lincoln, we believe these students deserve the best quality of courses relevant to the 21st century.

They deserve the most modern methods of teaching and learning and up-to-date facilities of the sort to be found in the University's newly built or freshly re-furbished campuses in the hearts of the old cities of Lincoln and Hull and in rural centres at Holbeach and Riseholme.

These provide a fitting home for this vision of a future based firmly on traditional values.

Lincoln University has come far in a short time. Government auditors have given it the highest possible rating for the quality of its work.

Its progress gives promise that all who are connected with it - students and faculty, support staff and graduates- will be increasingly proud of their association in the years to come.

Anonymous said...

First off, I (Malaysian) am a new migrant to Australia.

My whole family migrated here a few years back to ensure a better chance for my siblings and me to get good tertiary education. I am now at university doing a professional course, the entrance examination was done in a fair and meritocracy manner, without any hidden agenda.

I've know what I can do for my country in the future, but the more I think about it, the more I begin to wonder: What has the nation really ever done for me? Does it really deserve my help now?

How can one do great things when one's own country won't let one do medical studies even though one has scored straight As in the STPM? Heck, one doesn't even need to talk about getting into a medical course. I know of one senior who scored all As and applied for pharmacy, but still failed to get that.

How do you expect these bright students to feel when they are instead asked to do courses like 'wood technology' or 'agriculture'? Sorry, but such reasoning, no matter what its basis, just doesn't hold any water for me.

I left because I am not bumi and I disagree with constitutional discrimination. Also, there is a world out there waiting for me to explore. If emigrants are labeled as traitors, what about corrupt business people and politicians who remain in the country?

But think about it - it is our own salary that provides food and shelter while other social services and infrastructure etc are financed by taxes - again, which we contribute to.

Why would people stay if their talents are not recognised in their own country and they do not have the opportunities to develop their potential? Why remain when they can have these opportunities in another country?

And yet countries like the US, UK, Germany, France, Canada and Australia accept millions of new immigrants every year. At the same time, their unemployment rate is high and definitely higher than Malaysia's. So, what gives? Why do they take in more people than they need?

As it is, there is a brain drain from this country, which has been going on for decades. If we cannot even retain our own citizens who have to uproot from the comfort of familiar surroundings, what hope do we have of attracting top foreign talents?

The bitter truth is that the majority of this nation don't see the need to change things yet and until then, we can do little about it.

Humans have always migrated throughout history - 'in search of better lives'. It is in our blood. Animals also do it. Some prefer to settle, others move on at whatever odds. The Chinese race is a good example of enthusiastic migrants. The Scots yet another.

Patriotism is not a one-way thing, it is a two-way commitment. If one finds that one's patriotism and loyalty is not reciprocated as having to live with a corrupt government, discriminatory policies, inhumane and repressive laws etc., one has a right to review one's patriotism and commitment if one so chooses.

I would like to stress that we are all independent individuals, and migrating is a personal choice which should not be condemned. We live in a free society and everyone's personal liberty should be respected.

In the US, anyone whether black, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Mexican, etc has the right to run for president. There are no restrictions, one only needs to secure the votes.

Discrimination is a myth of the past era of 'White Australia'. In reality, meritocracy is the only prevailing force in action. For instance, two-thirds of undergraduates pursuing medical degrees in Melbourne University and Monash University are Australian of Chinese origin from different parts of Asia. Isn't this strong enough proof of Australia's non-discriminatory policy?

A better life to all.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the government should run a check on how many students in NUS and NTU now are Malaysians rejected by local education system. They were forbiden their oppurtunity eventhough they were the best of the best. Since NEP, the gap between Singapore and Malaysia deepens and this clearly prove what Malaysia government has done so far.

If you want further brain drain of local talents, KEEP THE WAY AS IT WAS NOW. I shall stand tall and look down on you.

Anonymous said...

Too much has been said.

When I actually make that giant leap, I make it solely for the future of my family. If you look at it from an economic point of view, I will lose more than half of my accumulated wealth.

Emigrating is simply a decision that I make within my family and has nothing to do with the guy next door. Call it selfish or whatever, but all I can say is that it is none of anyone's business. I am the one leaving behind the good and bad times, friends and family, my social circle and the things and people I love.

If I had millions of surplus cash like many of our 'politicians', I might put it in a briefcase and just walk into another country and buy properties and live a good life. It might then be a decision that needs not much thinking about at all.

You see, I am not leaving my country, but leaving behind a system that does not present a fair future for my generation. It is a pity that my kids will not have the opportunity to grow up with the older generation and their cousins.

They will lose a very big part of our tradition, but I am hoping that they will grow up to be good human beings, able to do whatever they please with their future.

There is so much out there for everyone, but it is a pity that the lords and masters of our country are trying to limit the capabilities of our children. From where I stand, we are moving from becoming a developed nation to a backward nation in terms of intellectual ability.

See what is happening to our universities, as they churn out youngsters into a workforce that does not view them as valuable resources. This is due to the many limitations (government propaganda, quota, syllabus, etc.) within the system that disallows young minds to be independent and competitive in the world market.

Everybody knows it, but no one dares speak out. This itself is creating a very subversive culture which will only damage the country in the long run.

Perhaps one day things will change, but I do not see it in the near future and am not willing to bet my family's future on it. Yes, I am looking for a better life, but not necessarily a wealthier life. When my kids become adults, where they choose to live, will be their decision.

The grass may not be greener on the other side, but you never, never know if you never, never go!

Anonymous said...

my foot,

we attracting the best students from other countries for bla bla bla...

and do those monkeys realise that hundreds of our best brains are attracted to our neighbouring nation?

and do those monkey realise that if they were given a place to study here they do NOT even need to pay a SINGLE cent?

n how the heck the country will benefit from attracting 15 brainies compared to those who left?


Anonymous said...

Well they are still trying to 'tweak' their way through the bad reputation of UM. That is why they use this as a pretense to say "Wow we actually try to do something improve or local institution". Then they start to pat everybody at the back.

Giving out scholarship to students where the institution is rotten is not even close to solving the problem. This is just more money wasted. Get the meritocracy system back, start hiring resouceful faculty and get rid of the VC along with his cronies. Now that is a quantum leap to improvement. With these 3 grand actions all will fall into place in time. The leaders in our education system is a menace to society by draining money and brains. They have been in power causing too much pain for too long for the Malaysians. I wont ask them to fikir betul betul because they are quasar stupid and has no capability to think about important issues but themselves to retain power. Instead I will ask the people to challenge their authority because they are doing the wrong thing.


Anonymous said...

Tt's all kinda dumb. Giving away scholarships to attract international students to raise the standards of the local universities? SHouldn't we FIRST improve the standards of the tertiery institutions here (a revamp of the education system for both the private n government unis would be a good start) THEN only attract the international students? Attracting top 'international brains' might be good to help stimulate the study experience for the local students here and providing them healthy competition, but it's really no use when most of the brains of the country are all headed elsewhere to S'pore, US, etc.

I say, try taking care of the local rakyats first, and stop the brain drain out of the country. THEN, lets talk about giving scholarships to international students.

Sometimes I wonder, do these political bigwigs actually take us people as idiots or what? I'd really like to see a government that's competent and fair for a change, but that's not gonna be possible if everyone conveniently forgets about all these dumb things the government did when they go to the polls in the next election and give them another overwhelming majority win. :S

Golf Afflicted said...

Deleted this comment by mistake.

Posted by coolstudy to EDUCATION IN MALAYSIA at 11/24/2005 07:27:20 PM

Every year at one time, when government scholarships are awarded, there is a lot of heartbreak for students with exemplary SPM results. The same drama is repeated every year and despite the obvious lack of transparency in the selection criteria, the authorities don't seem to care or simply don't give a damn about it.

This year, there are several cases of deserving students whose hopes for further studies have been mercilessly crushed by the Public Services Department. Unfortunately for them, they are not children or members of parliament, state assemblypersons, the politically connected or millionaires.

It is moments like these that I cannot help but wonder what's in store for my young children in the future.

Frankly I don't know what kind of message our government is sending to these young, intelligent Malaysians who have attained brilliant, excellent academic results. We are talking about the cream of the Malaysian students.

Students who have managed to obtain 13 straight As are being denied scholarships to do courses of their choice. As one student succinctly put it, 'the government wants us to love our country and be patriotic but is this their way of winning our love?'

The present government policy has created a generation of bitter, angry Malaysians. In order to garner loyalty and patriotism from its citizenry, the government has to earn it. It doesn't come served on a silver platter.

The government cannot expect its citizens to remain loyal and patriotic when it treats the former with contempt.

The most pressing question that begs to be asked currently is, Why can't the Public Services Department (JPA) give scholarships to the top 300 SPM students in the country?

They were supposed to have screened their scholarship recipients, but one is dumbfounded as to how this screening was done, when students excelling in both academic studies and extra-curricular activities are rejected.

I thought they are now practising meritocracy. How wrong we are. Maybe it's about time that the entire staff of the JPA be changed to one that reflects the racial composition of our country.

Dr Mahathir has called for the list of AP recipients to be made known. I am now calling on the government to publish the full list of all JPA scholarship recipients.

It has been said that the department's scholarships are reserved only for one particular segment of our society. This list should give the lie to that rumour once and for all. Then we should know where the problem lies.

Perhaps, there is a fundamental flaw with how the entire scholarship system is built.

Four hundred high achievers have complained to the MCA that in spite of scoring all As in their SPM examination, none of them obtained a Public Services Department scholarship. It is so unfair.

Over 400 SPM high achievers denied Public Services Department scholarships and yet they expect them to stand up straight when the Negaraku is played!

Doesn't this sort of open racial discrimination make non-malays really feel that we have no place under the Malaysian's sun?

We are only tolerated as 'pendatang' and not regarded and valued as equal citizens. Our nation's best are discarded because of their skin color. No nation which does not value her best can compete and excel in the world and that is a fact.

When our country's oil and gas run out, maybe then the government will realise this. By then, it may be too late for Malaysia to catch up with the rest of the world.

If we keep treating our best in such a sloppy manner, soon other countries too (like Thailand) will shoot far ahead of us and we too will be left far behind.

And yet policymakers are blind to this. What they carelessly discard (based on race), other nations will only gleefully welcome.

Australia, Canada, Singapore, US and other countries are benefiting from our folly because we are giving away our best to them annually. No wonder Singapore is prospering and excelling in the world.

MCA is nothing but a sycophantic servant of Umno. Its leadership is useless and self-serving, more concerned about positions and self-interests than the community's real concerns.

Otherwise, how do you explain this perennial problem? Last year, it happened. This year, the same thing. Next year, it will be the same old discrimination and injustice all over again.

Anybody wants to bet MCA can solve the problem? Not me.

Posted by coolstudy to EDUCATION IN MALAYSIA at 11/24/2005 07:27:20 PM