Tuesday, May 13, 2008

JPA rejects 10A1 student

A student who scored 10A1s in the SPM exam was rejected for a JPA scholarship. To add insult to injury, she was also rejected for the matriculation program.

It is not unprecedented for a student with 10A1s to get rejected by JPA. I have a friend who obtained 11A1s and one A2 and was was rejected by the JPA as well. We are not sure if Kamine Devi was a straight A1 student or whether she had some A2s and B3s along with her 10A1s.

Neither is the option of studying medicine out of her reach, yet. She still can do her STPM and get into medicine via that route (although this too is challenging since she needs to score straight As in her STPM).

But what I am peeved by is the fact that she was rejected for the matriculation program. I won't go into the weaknesses of that program - which many have criticized as a back door creation for weaker Bumiputera students to get into our public universities - except to say that only 10% of the places in these programs are given to non-Bumis. I can understand, somewhat, if she was rejected by JPA because she didn't get straight A1s or that there might have been other students who had more straight A1s. But what I cannot understand is the fact that she got rejected by the matriculation program as well!

It's not as if top SPM scorers are making a beeline for the matriculation program or that non Bumis are inundating the matriculation program with their applications. What is the basis for her rejection from this program? That she scored TOO MANY A1s?

The matriculation program has come under some level of criticism. You can read letters in Malaysiakini to get a flavor of what these criticisms are - here, here and here.

I wish Kamine Devi all the best in her dream to become a doctor. I hope that these rejections will not demoralize her.


Anonymous said...

“I felt that my world collapsed that day,”

That is the entire problem with the Malaysian education system. Everyone somehow treats the SPM now as a qualification exam for lucrative scholarships to overseas (UK, US top the list) study without stopping to think for one second that:

1) Not getting a scholarship is not the end of the road; if you're truly as deserving as you think you are, then you will succeed in life with the same grit and determination that brought you straight A1s in the first place, no matter what.

2) It is the right of the government to offer you a scholarship - or not. While I agree that the entire process could be made more transparent and that scholarships should be given out as a means of stopping brain drain, I also have to say in the same breath that nobody owes anyone, not even a straight A1 student, a scholarship. This mentality that straight A1s automatically means a scholarship should be changed. Besides, lets be realistic here - tons of people score straight A1s every year nowadays. With limited places and resources, are we expecting the system to accommodate them all? To dish out scholarships like candy? What if the pool of straight A1 scorers increase every year? Don't think I have to do the math here, do I?

“I just want to become a doctor so I can serve the country,”

Very heartening to hear that dear, but isn't that what almost EVERY aspiring scholar says when it's time for appeals? Yes, you may play the whole patriotic kid role now, but as a taxpayer who has seen his money go to the so many errant scholars who are now leading comfortable lives overseas after refusing to come back, I personally doubt her sincerity. We've already given the benefit of doubt to so many students who then take us for a ride. Don't believe me? I have friends from my school days who are now final year undergrads at top universities in the US telling me that they don't plan to come back and many others are planning to do so as well. From the horse's mouth so to speak.

So where is the guarantee that these people will come back and serve the nation? I know the government is partly to blame for not enforcing stricter laws requiring them to return, but these people, as educated and intelligent as they are, should know better than to throw the rakyat's trust in them to the dogs. Surely we as the rakyat are entitled to expect high moral standards from our scholars, no?

Sorry for the long rant, but I'm just getting really sick and tired of reading about errant scholars abusing the people's money and trust while on the other end, our young ones continue to see JPA, etc scholarships as the only road to a bright future. The latter just distorts the meaning of education if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

"...if you're truly as deserving as you think you are, then you will succeed in life with the same grit and determination that brought you straight A1s in the first place, no matter what..."

Spoken like a true bumiputra!

While the nons are encouraged to rely on our grit and determination, the bumis get to party on!

Malaysia boleh!

Anonymous said...

It doesn't take a bumi to tell nons to stick to nothing but pure hard work. Non bumis like us can do that too can we not? Wait, did I just say I'm a non-bumi? Well of course I am!

Tiara said...

I don't even figure into the non/bumi system (yay lain-lainness :P) and I have to say, Commenter One is FULL OF WIN.

If there is some sort of race-based prejudice affecting the awarding of these scholarships, then by all means investigate it - race should not be a factor. However, as the public uni undergrad said, the lack of scholarships aren't the end of the world. There's lots of opportunity out there.

And if you want to serve the country, there are many other options besides doctoring. Nursing is close but a different discipline. There's public service, teaching, non-profit management, government and politics...

Anonymous said...

I for one feel the SPM is a joke as most of my students who scored well in their SPM can't even write or speak well. Articulation is wanton. Secondly, 10As and all is like a circus and the examiners often have self-inflated opinions of themselves especially with all the past scandals. Even the foreign universities are in on finding out on the scandals of our examinations sytems. Bumi or non-bumi it doesn't mean anything and I agree with the first post on how the SPM is an overated yardstick. No longer is the SPM, GCE or even the SAT good indicators of life success. Heck even the American executive came from Harvard and look what he has done to the American economy and psyche including high unemployment. Look at Prof Bernanke and what he is doing to the confidence in Wall Street. Come on get real academia doesn't mean that you will do well in life's many challenges and finally being good at college doesn't mean you are sound and ethically driven in your conduct in office.

Anonymous said...

form 6 is very tough, but since u get such a good result in ur spm, i truly believe tat u can do well in stpm too!but must put ur 100% effort in it!
all the best!^^

Anonymous said...

She must learn to handle life disappointments. I believe having an entitlement mindset would only ruin her. Assuming she gets a scholarship now and completes her medical studies, is she going to complain about which hospital she goes to for her housemanship?

This is life. She is a top-scorer who did not get a JPA scholarship. She should try other scholarships and exhaust all avenues instead of complaining. Even the best graduates don't get called for every job application he/she applies to.

Anonymous said...

Randy, I clearly think you are quite stupid beyond anyones imagination. First of all its extreamly difficult to earn 10As and I am here in the UK looking at some idiots who dont deserve to be here. Many are here due to their family contacts or Bumiputra. Only a handful manage to get in.

What else you want this girl to get? 12As? Malaysia is a bright place with some really stupid people and thats why University Malaya has drop from top 20 in Asia to the 200s now and cant even be compared in the world because its so bad.

Think next time before you leave any stupid comment.

Anonymous said...

Cheh! I had 11A1s plus a big 'fat' A for my GCE-O English 1119 but no JPA scholarship. Don't whine and just get on with life.

Anonymous said...

And that was 2 years ago...ah, how time flies....

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous (5/14/2008, 3:25pm),

We all understand the system is rotten and need to be fixed, URGENTLY. Many students who scored full A1, during those days before the current grade inflation did not get anything from government either. Still, they excelled in life.

The point I want to raise is that failure to get scholarship is not the end of the world, I am sure the point that Randy want to raise is to be positive in own capability. She is an excellent student and I am sure she will do well in her future.

Lastly, pointing finger at others and commenting others as stupid does not elevate yourself any higher either.

Fikri said...

For once, plenty of good comments here that I can understand (except for ipaidformyselfthruschool, who sounds like he really want to party too :) ), but I don't think it helps that the government only just recently announced supposedly-automatic scholarships for those who gain a certain number of As. If anything, it only gives rise to the entitlement mentality amongst the masses. Nevertheless, there are plenty of avenues to success, without much of the cons of a JPA scholarship.

Anonymous said...

Everymorning when you start reading newpaper, this shit would pop up and hurts people who read it. Sorry to you Devi. You are not the first and there are thousands of non-bumis out there facing the same rejection from our government who offer you false hope and empty promise.Your talent are not welcome here cos you are not indian-muslim. I believe india government would appreciate your talent. Find a way to india to study the course you like (medicine)as many private unversities do offer scholarship for bright student like you & may god bless you abundently. Wake up.

Anonymous said...

I was disturbed by anonymous's (5/15/2008, 12:33AM) comment.

I agree the comment that Devi's talent would be appreciated else where and government is giving false hope to people.
However I am just curious why particularly "India government would..." ?

Is this because Devi is India origin? This mindset is dangerous as anonymous seemed to agree to the fact Malaysian Indian and Chinese has more loyalty to the India and China. If majority of Malaysian think this year, then for sure Malaysia is a failed state, failed experiment by British to try form this multi-racial multi-cultural new nation.

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous (5/14/2008, 3:25pm),

I doubt you gave any thoughts to what I posted earlier before spewing your vitriol. Not only that, you failed to comprehend what I wrote and you went off tangent and attacked me for something I did not write or meant.

Please get a grip of yourself and read before shooting from your hips. You do yourself a disfavour by calling me 'stupid' for your own non-comprehension.

Anonymous said...

Tony, not relevant to this A1 case. But I worry for our kids trying for a place in NUS. There is newspaper report say their number who apply increase. And that is only for their locals. Foreign numbers would also increase, meaning, our kids will find it even harder to get into NUS from now.

Can you do a write up and give advise pls?


Smaller cohort, but universities getting more applications

Sandra Davie
Wed, May 14, 2008
The Straits Times

UNIVERSITY applications surged this year to 58,606, up from 53,853 last year.

Of the total, 36,858 applications were from A-level students and 21,748 were from polytechnic graduates.

Most applied for two, if not all three, universities.

The increase occurred in spite of last year's batch of A-level school leavers being about 1,000 fewer than that of the year before.

Those eyeing a place in university this year had hoped it would be easier to get in, not only because of the smaller A-level batch, but also because of the Government's announcement that 25 per cent of the graduating cohort would be offered places, compared to 23 per cent last year.

In total, the three universities are offering 14,700 places this year.

The Ministry of Education (MOE), which released the latest application figures to The Straits Times, said the Government's announcement that university places would be increased might have encouraged more school leavers to apply this year.

University officials said that there were more repeat applicants this year - a quarter of the A-level applications were from repeat applicants. Last year, this group made up only 16 per cent of applications.

Students and parents, however, put the increase down to more aspiring to go to the university.

Said parent R. Velu: 'A degree is a must, so every A-level and polytechnic student who meets the cut-off will try.'

He admits that his son's scores - a B and three Cs - are average and may not get him a place. He is considering downgrading from the family's five-room HDB flat to send his son overseas.

University admission officials are unable to offer consoling words to parents like Mr Velu, whose son applied to study business, one of the most popular courses.

Some of the courses are oversubscribed many times over, making it harder to get in without strong grades.

Like last year, the most sought-after courses this year include business, accountancy and arts and social sciences.

National University of Singapore vice-provost (Education) Tan Thiam Soon asked students to consider any offer of a place, even if it is not in their top-choice course.

'Students think if they pick a course, they are locked into it. That's not the case. Universities allow a lot of flexibility in mixing and matching courses. Engineering students can do a second major or even a second degree in business or law. The future is for them to define,' he said.

Singapore Management University (SMU) officials also had similar advice. Its most sought-after course is business, but an SMU spokesman said its first batch of social science graduates have just completed their studies and many have been offered jobs in banks and multinational corporations.

However, applicants such as Miss Karen Teo, 20, felt that the Government should consider increasing the number of places in popular courses.

Said the Ngee Ann polytechnic graduate who hopes to study business or accountancy: 'I am just following my interest and passion.'

Her housewife mother, Madam Tan Ai Nah, 44, said the Government should be planning for a fifth university, not just a fourth.

The MOE said it recognises the aspirations of young Singaporeans to pursue a university education and that is why it has significantly increased the number of university places over the years.

It is targeting to provide subsidised university places for 30 per cent of each cohort in 2015. On top of that, it is also providing generous subsidies for part-time degree students at the three universities and SIM University.

But a ministry spokesman said university places have to be increased in a measured way so as not to compromise standards. The ministry must also meet the economy's needs in planning for university places.

'We need to ensure that our university graduates are able to find good jobs after graduation,' she said.

Anonymous said...

“I just want to become a doctor so I can serve the country,”

Really people, ONLY doctors can serve the country! I am not disputing the A1 achievement or the arguments in the scholarship decisions. But why does EVERYONE think that ONLY doctors can serve the country?!

The rest of us who are not doctors are what? USELESS BUMS?

Come on fellow Malaysians, successful life belong to more than just doctors!

Anonymous said...

Guys (and babes), this SPM get medical scholarship thing, is funny. I am not refering to the girl's case.

In China, Singapore, Japan, UK, you need an A levels or STPM standard to get into a medical course.

In America, you need a bachelor's degree or an associate Degree to get into an MBBS course.

In Malaysia, we need only an SPM?!

Are our people too genius that we can beat USA, UK, Singapore, Japan?!

Or is our system too low class?

Marc Ng said...

hmm students are complaining that the government is unfair for not granting jpa scholarships especially 2 those who scored excellent results in spm.

at the same time, jpa scholars that finished their courses choose 2 remain & work overseas, aren't they not unfair 2 by refusing 2 come back & serve our country??? after all the $$$ used 2 spent on their education belongs to the rakyat.

the way i see it high achievers nowadays has this mentality that the world owes them something.

2 'IPaidMyselfThruSchool',

if i say that i support the NEP, does that statement determine that i'm a bumiputra??? think

Anonymous said...

marc said:"...if i say that i support the NEP, does that statement determine that i'm a bumiputra?..."

Not at all! Its just confirms my notion that you are a 'pillow biter' ;-)) LOL! Ask yourself this: "Why do I have to keep opening my legs or raising my arse up whenever I am told?" Think!

To Fikri: Of course you can talk lah! I am the one faced with a lecture hall full of morons, out of "matriculation", who loved to snatch your assignments, and get distinction because the lecturer bocor the soalan (sorry, for bumi only!)

I remember the first thing the bumi student does when JPA money arrives - beli motor! Bawa awek jalan2 kat kampus. Syok oh! While I am slogging away at a food catering company every night, get to sleep maybe 3-4 hours tops.

Twice I got hauled up by the lecturers because the assignment macam kena fotostat! I got let off because the teach knows me, knows my handiwork.

And finally to the "undergrad student": Read my comment. I used a word there, "like". Have you any idea what it means? Here's the link:

Fikri said...

To ipaidmyselfthruschool: Yeah, that's what I do. I am Malay, so therefore, when I get money, I don't spend it making my film for the semester. I buy a bike, because that's what all Malay students do.

But why stop there? Since you're intent on this whole 'I've seen one/some/a lot of Malay students buy bikes, so ALL Malay JPA students must use their money to buy one' ideology, why not go all the way? Might as well say that all the Indians open up mamak shops and the Chinese can start buying blank DVDs, because the way that you're saying it, all bumi students buy bikes so that we can all be Mat Rempits.

So much for a platform for intellectual discussion. No doubt that you're hardworking and willing to go through a lot to get an education, but you're letting your own experience and bitterness colour everything else, to the point that no other possibility for anyone else exists.

It's fine for now, commenting anonymously on a blog, but in real life, there would be plenty of people who would feel differently. I suppose it's like going to any Chinese and saying, "Eh, ini DVD tak boleh main lah. Saya mahu tukar." :)

There were plenty of morons at Monash University, too, people who got in because of their ability to pay rather than anything else. I believe that wherever you go, there will always be the smart ones, and the idiots; I think these issues are a matter of percentage (how many are smart, how smart, etc.).

And I've never received one cent of government help in my entire life. In fact, I was similarly rejected for education aid, but let's not let that get in your way, shall we?

After all, I'm Malay, so therefore I can talk, right? :)

To Anonymous 5/15/2008 12:55:00 AM: I think the fact that India has a proven medical record is also a factor. Russia also appears to be a popular destination for such courses.

But after watching 'Sicko', I reckon that decamping to Cuba for her studies would be more interesting :)

Anonymous said...

India's medical record is, well, like its IT record.

If any of us have been to the Maldives and Mauritius, we will find many Indian doctors practising there. Because these places are near to India but have not Medical colleges of their own.

You know what the Indian doctors do? Instead of looking at symtoms and prescribing from low dosage to high if ineefective, they prescribe every damn anti-biotics there is in their clinic, and at the highest dosage. If you cannot be cured, surely, you are terminated. India? The talk the more than what its worth. (No, I am NOT saying the same for our own local Indians).

Anonymous said...

I got an interview offer for the jpa scholarship last year but I didn't go because I was on an exchange program to Japan. I tried to apply again this year but I got rejected pulak(my results was above average-lah).

Now, I'm stuck at a private college where the kids there are mostly kids who are wasting their parents money and not actually studying,who are non-bumis btw(because bumis are a minority here).

It's kinda frustrating to see that there's still a lot of bumi/non-bumi issue going on. I've met some non-bumis who had great results but didn't get jpa scholarship too.

I really do think that JPA should not do a quota thing for bumis and non-bumis or else we might as well remove the word 'muhibbah' from the Kamus Dewan.

Anonymous said...

My friend's sister scored 12 As n SPM, rejected by both JPA and Matriculation too.

The education system of Malaysia is not fair, like it or not, it is a fact. To Malaysians who are not from a certain community, don't give up!

Anonymous said...

The standard of SPM & STPM nowaday are deteriorated significantly. If we refered back to 1970 - 1980, the standard of SPM (MCE) is very much higher and it almost equivalent to current STPM level. I came to know that HSC used to be the most difficult level among ohter in the world. During that particular period, the student who score A is not many and and indeed is very less. Now, come back to 2000~, it is became very common to score all A either in SPM or STPM. Why ? Is it our student become more talent and smart ? Or is it due to standard dropped significantly as I mentioned earlier ? Certainly the answer is the 2nd one.

Malaysia education should improve the standard accordingly in order to produce a genuine intellegent student. By the time, the number of student who scored A will be greatly reduced and by own meant, there will be a lot of vacancy available irrespective scholarship or popoular course like medicine, engineering, law etc. However, I don't think government would do whereby to improve the academic standard because it will cause a lot of bumi obtains the bad result and eventually not qualified to enter the University.

The ranking of Malaysia University dropped in such a bad situation majority because of poor academic performnace by non qualified student. I think the reader should know the student ratio in bumi/non bumi in most of the University Malaysia.

Unless the government totally change, else, the situation like this would be continued until forever.

tzarina said...

Some of your comments that "advice" this girl to just swallow her disappointments, that life is full of shit, that she is not the only one, there are others with more As bla bla bla sound very sanctimonious and frankly, ignorant.

Yea, yea...we know there are Einsteins out there. They should be the ones to get scholarships.

We also know that shit happens, so she should just bite her tongue and just get on with life.


First, we need to know who are the REST of the successful JPA scholars and matriculation candidates, before we tell this girl that the ones who received the scholarships are more qualified than her 10A1s. We need to know if they QUALIFY. Their names and grades and schools should be PUBLISHED in newspapers or the Internet.

Second, we need to understand her background. She is Indian. And if she comes from a poor or medium income family, the probability for her to become a doctor in the future, is close to NIL, except through a scholarship for a private university, even with good STPM results.

And that brings us to STPM. What is the assurance that if she get all As in STPM, she WILL get a medical seat in the government universities? Some of those seats are being warmed up by unqualified bums, who would never have been able to sit there in the first place if the playing field was fair.

So in a biased, racist, unfair, and crony country like Malaysia, cases like 10A1s not getting into universities for the courses that should be laying out a red carpet for such results should be highlighted and played up. Simply because if everyone just accept their lot in life, nothing will change for the better!

Anonymous said...


I don't think anybody in the right frame of mind merely asked her to swallow her disappointments and stop at that.


What's the big deal about 10A1s? I thought a smart malay girl got 18A1s 4 years ago and someone got 21A1s just last year.

Anonymous said...

it's surprising to know most 'MALAYSIANS' here are racist.as far as i concerned, scholarships are hak istimewa bumi.so others shouldn't argue as if government owes them scholarship.
yeah, it's maybe true that india will appreciate kamine.but just 1 thing, if u think like this,then i would say all respective races should go back to their origin where they thought they will be much welcomed.
bumi or non-bumi...
we're just MALAYSIANS ( if u think so)

Anonymous said...

JPA or not, life must go on.I used to hate how the jPA scholarships are given but now I feel nothing. If u r really smart, dun worry, God will make your life easier. If u think Msia cant give u a satisfying offer, try overseas. Someone somewhere out there appreciates u more!!

Anonymous said...

Orang Malaysia suka benda free. Belajar pun nak free.

Orang yang dapat, suka
Orang yang tak dapat, marah!
Marah JPA, marah kerajaan, marah semua orang!