Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Progressive JPA loan policy

I thought this is rather progressive of the JPA / PSD as reported in the Star a few days back.

Students in foreign universities will be eligible to apply for Public Service Department (PSD) loans once they complete the first semester of their studies.
Previously, those studying in institutions of higher learning in Indonesia and some other countries could apply for the PSD loans before they entered the universities.
“Now, they can apply for these loans based on the achievements of their first semester examinations at the foreign universities,” said PSD corporate communications head Hasniah Rashid.


“Those studying medicine, dentistry and pharmacy can be exempted from repaying their loans if they agree to be contractually bound to serve the Government for 10 years.”

I think it's good that the JPA is becoming more flexible in how it disburses its funds. I learnt from a few of my friends who are JPA scholars that it's possible to be on a special loan instead of a full JPA scholarship and if your results are decent enough, a certain portion of that 'loan' is waived.

My ongoing grouse with the JPA / PSD is that they have very, very poor post graduation planning. Most JPA scholars hope that their files will be conveniently 'lost' when they return to Malaysia after they graduate and 'report' to be assigned a job in the public sector. After a year of their files being 'lost', they go on to find work themselves, mostly in the private sector, which defeats the purpose, in some ways, of giving them the JPA scholarship in the first place. And don't even get me started on the non-existent crackdown on those who 'default' on their scholarships and don't pay back their bonds!

I think that Petronas, Telekom and Tenaga does a slightly better job in this, in that they at least have jobs in their respective companies for their scholars. But still, I've heard complaints from scholars in these organizations that the training and human resource management element is almost non-existent (with perhaps the exception of Petronas). There's no equivalent of a 'management trainee program', as far as I know, where scholars are rotated between different departments so that they can learn about the different departments and then choose which department they most want to work in.

Giving money away, in the form of scholarships or loans, is in some way, the easy part. The harder part and the greater challenge is to utilize the beneficiaries of these scholarships and loans so that the public service, and the nation as a whole, can benefit from their service.


Anonymous said...

This loan program is indeed something to be lauded. I see it benefiting primarily middle-class families who are just barely able to afford sending their child overseas, and would welcome such a loan to reduce their burden. However, I don't see it helping the lower income families as the student won't be admitted without any proof of financial support. On the other hand, I understand JPA's need to have their first year results because they only want to provide the loans to students who are able to complete the course and pay back the loan. Any solutions to this? Maybe consider pre-U results instead?

Anonymous said...

JPA loan scheme is definitely more flexible and also more lenient towards its recipient. I myself have benefited by this scheme to a certain extent. Having granted a loan to cover a huge partion of my school fee in London i was able to pursue my study with peace of mind. Thanks you JPA/PSD!!!! =)

clarence said...

Can anyone please advise if the loan is approved,how long before you get it?Thanks.

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