Wednesday, June 20, 2007

JPA Overseas Scholarship Policy

Based on a report published in The Star on March 5th, 2007, as blogged here earlier, the Minister stated that overseas scholarships will only be offered to “students who are accepted by renown foreign universities”.
...the move was to produce high quality graduates.

“Tertiary education in Britain and the United States is very costly. We do not want to send our scholars to any overseas university randomly. It’s better if we only send them to renowned universities and in return, we produce high quality graduates,” he said.
However, based on the latest circular issued by Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam (JPA), scholarships will continue to be awarded to students who fail to qualify to the top universities, particularly those from the United States.
Selepas berjaya di peringkat persediaan dan memenuhi had kecemerlangan akademik yang ditetapkan, pelajar-pelajar yang berjaya mendapat tawaran daripada universiti-universiti bertaraf Ivy League atau Ivy League Standard akan meneruskan pengajian di Amerika Syarikat selama 4 tahun.

Bagi pelajar-pelajar yang tidak mendapat tawaran daripada universiti-universiti bertaraf Ivy League atau Ivy League Standard, mereka akan meneruskan pengajian Ijazah Pertama di bawah American Credit Transfer Programme (ACTP) di mana pelajar-pelajar akan mengikuti pengajian 1 tahun pertama di dalam negara dan seterusnya meneruskan pengajian selama 3 tahun lagi di universiti-universiti di Amerika Syarikat.
Hence it is clear that the Government will continue to finance students with scholarships irrespective of the universities which they manage to secure places in despite what the Minister of Higher Education has promised earlier.

In addition, no mention of qualifying for the top universities in the United Kingdom, Canada or Australia was made as a criteria for these countries.

In the pursuit of the quantity of scholars, have we decided once again, to forgo “the move to produce high quality graduates” as expressed by the Minister of Higher Education himself?

I've actually called a press conference on this issue last week and it was reported in most Chinese press. Thanks to VTKY for the heads up ;)


Anonymous said...

There were students before who failed to qualify to the top universities so the circular has to be amended to allow select students to continue their studies at the expense of tax payer’s money. Excuse me there were also those who went abroad and who failed in their studies and allowed to continue on. What a waste of taxpayer’s money!

It is obvious that the selection was not done in a fair manner. Everything is so opaque. The panellists themselves are questionable. Only “a kind’ It is definitely not based on total merit. Good students who deserve and who need the scholarship were not granted the scholarship. They have no choice but to do STPM what with the astronomical cost of private college fees. As record has shown, even excellent STPM students who score well has no guarantee of getting their choice of course in the local IPTAs. The disadvantaged STPM students always has to play bridesmaid to the matrix students. The matrix students must be so darned good! A medical class would have STPM students greatly outnumbered by the matrix ones.

It is criminal and shameful that they deny sons and daughters of the soil, born and bred in their motherland, and of whom parents pay taxes. You can feel anger burning inside the hearts of parents whose children were rejected by JPA and whose grades were better than some of those who were chosen. I am one of them. They rather allow those (who have A2s, B3s ) compare to those(with all A1s) to study abroad. Never mind if they do not make the cut. What justice is there?

Anonymous said...

1.Grades are everything, nothing.

2.True meritocracy also has its problem if you actually understand it. In the end you can only conclude that there aren't any perfect systems in this world, Not even such things as better systems. Only ones that benefit you or not.

Would you like to be judged based on your skin colour, religion or genes? I mean some people are favoured because of their skin colour but changing the system to one which is truly meritocratic ultimately leads you to judging someone based on his or her genes. Intelligence is born, not cultivated. Wisdom and passion can be.

So which one you prefer now?

Give post grad scholarships. That's the only think I can make sense of.

Shawn Tan said...

It's true that no system will be perfect. No criteria can ever be entirely objective. Grades alone do not represent a person entirely.

Whatever criteria is used, it is important to make it transparent and stick to it. It doesn't look good when the government cakap tak serupa bikin.

If some kids with good results do not get scholarships while their friends with lesser results do, it is important to satisfactorily show them exactly which aspects of their applications weren't up to par. Don't leave it purely to their imaginations.

However, with the system that we have now, all these things seem to be held behind a shroud of secrecy. So, people only see unfairness everywhere. Even the successful scholars can only count their lucky stars because they themselves don't know why they were selected over their brethren.

With regards to government scholarships, our government probably gives out quite a lot more than most others.

PS: It may not be well known but the government does fund Masters and PhDs.

Anonymous said...

I think the scholarship should give the first priority to people who are from poor family. They are the one who really need it. I agree that a total meritocracy system has its flaw as well. As for the entrance of the university, I agree that it should based on meritocracy. Everyone who has achieved a certain high level performance should be granted for a place for higher education.

However, when it comes to scholarship, I believe that performance is not the whole story. We need to consider the financial situation of the candidate as well and not solely based on his/her performance. Having say that, the scholar however should have a reasonably good performance but not necessary have to be the top of the class. The bottom line is that it should based on who "NEED" it more.

Imagine, the scholarship could be the only opportunity in a life time for certain people to pursuit a better future. If someone is from a middle class family, the scholarship might not be as critical as for someone who are from poor family. Although, most people won't think it that way and always wanted their own child to get the scholarship even though they can afford their children to study overseas. To me, that is a very selfish thinking and you could have just shattered someone's dream for a better future.

Another purpose of the scholarship, I believe, is to prevent a scenario where the "rich became richer and the poor became poorer". Those who come from a rich family has all the oppoturnity and reason to perform well academically. They can afford the best tutor, computer, textbooks and etc. But, it's the poor who can't afford these things that left behind. They have to work extra hard to achieve what other kids do. Simply imagine that some one can do an assignment just by sitting in front of his computer in his own air-conditioned bedroom. While others (poor kids), might walk miles and travel hours to the library to get internet access. If both of them get the same score, does it mean that they are both as good ? Is it fair ? I doubt so.

After all, it's very subjective as to who sould get the scholarship. However, I truly believe that the scholarship should be offered to some one who is capable and truly deserve it regardless of sex, social status and race.

koln_auhc said...

And you are one of those on government service doing PhDs.haha. Work hard le.

I understand your transparency theory. More transparency leads to a better meritocratic system which ultimately leads to more satisfaction of the 'justice' in the system. Fair I would say, on the macro level as it will assumingly benefit the country more because resources are used more efficiently.

I felt that I would just be repeating what I had just typed days ago, so if you're free then read on the post below.


Ignore the rants, especially the ones below.

Anonymous said...

Well, there are few ways to look at this issue and how Malaysia always contradicts herselg.

1. Quantity will always topple quality concern under Malaysia's system.
2. Talk and walk are two different actions, and are nearly impossible to happen in Malaysia in a parallel fashion.
3. Any US university is still better than local universities, so those studying there can still be considered "quality graduates".
4. JPA is extremely rich.

So, there's no need to argue. Live with it.

Anonymous said...

What would count as a "renowned" US university anyway?

Anonymous said...

what defines "renowned" university? Top 10, 50 or 100 in the THES list? and why?

Anonymous said...

I am a US JPA scholar.
I totally disagree with all u guys say
maybe the gov is contradicting itself but some students choose to go in 2nd year and some students would like to go as transfer students.
according to the contract from jpa, we r given 2 years in malaysia n 3 years in US.
however students can apply to ivies n ivy standards to go earlier.