Monday, May 18, 2009

Only 20% of JPA scholarships given on merit?

Not sure if the thrust of this report in the Malaysian Insider accurately reflects what the PSD DG told the DAP contingent. That 20% of the scholarships are given based on merit seems a bit too low. I'll reproduce the article below in full since Tony is mentioned a few times. I agree with his suggestion that these scholarships should be awarded based on pre-U results such as STPM results instead of SPM results and should more accurately reflect the kinds of universities that these students manage to get accepted into.

Only 20pc of PSD scholarships given on merit
By Shannon Teoh

PUTRAJAYA, May 18 — Only 20 per cent, or one in five, of Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships are given based on merit while the rest are allocated based on racial quotas.

This appears to be a key factor leading to the public outcry over the large number of top-scorers in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), Malaysia's school-leaving exam, not obtaining scholarships to further their studies.

This was revealed when DAP leaders, including its parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang and information chief Tony Pua, met with PSD director-general Tan Sri Ismail Adam today.

Also present was DAP Socialist Youth chief Anthony Loke, who told The Malaysian Insider that Ismail had confirmed that 60 per cent of scholarships were given out based on the population ratio of respective races.

Another 10 per cent is set aside for East Malaysian Bumiputras and the same ratio for underprivileged students.

"This is at odds with what Parliament Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz told the house last year, when he said it would be split according to a 55:45 ratio," Loke said.

The Rasah MP said that there was no way that the current method of allocation could hit that desired ratio.

"This change of policy is why there are more clear-cut cases of qualified students not getting scholarships this year," Loke added.

Ismail had on Saturday asked the public for understanding as there are 8,000 students who qualify on merit but his department had only 2,000 scholarships to allocate.

Lim, in a press conference on Friday, had called for students with nine 1As and onwards to "automatically qualify for scholarships, especially now that the new prime minister has promised to put the people first."

Pua today also called for a total reform of the system, saying that too many high achievers were falling through the net and that pre-university courses such as A-levels or the local equivalent, Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia, were a more accurate benchmark for who deserved a scholarship.

"We should change the benchmark to the point when they actually apply to enter university. Then if you do not get accepted into a certain list of universities, there is no argument – you are simply not qualified for a scholarship," he told The Malaysian Insider.


Shawn Tan said...

What TP said is right. It'll even help reduce JPA costs - outsource the scholarship selection process to the universities!

Wei Jiet said...

I support TP suggestion for awarding those A levels and STPM students with good grades...I'm also a victim of JPA, got 11A1 and still no scholarship. I felt that I have let my parents down a lot...words cannot describe the agony I'm going through...

Coltz said...

Delaying JPA decision to after application can be a very good idea - admissions committees of the top universities in the world can be a lot more competent and efficient than JPA. Problem is, of course, what to do about the domestic awards. Keep the old system with domestic fellowships and people will yell "foreign bias"; apply the new system and people will fight over which universities qualify for the "A-list" and get very political. Proceed with caution.

"Sapphire Dragon": I think your reaction exemplify the "whining loser" group that some of the haters commenting on this blog mentioned, which I hope is the minority among all legitimate, qualified people denied of JPA scholarship. It's one thing to argue that the award process is unfair (fully justified), it's another thing to scream "oh the agony I'm going through, I'm their victim" and roll around only to shut up for good - once MCA brokered some stopgap exceptions that benefit your kind (happens every year).

Disclaimer: I do not support said haters, but I think reactions from people like you are strengthening their positions.

Despite not agreeing with a lot of his positions in other issues, I'll suggest that you visit Shawn Tan's open letter link and bring yourself some new vision/energy. Peace.

George Tan said...

Say NO to DISCRIMINATION in education! Peace :p

Niel said...

Please take notice of where all these JPA recipients are going too. Seems like most of my friends who got it went to IPTS, not overseas. And that's only for Diploma. O.O

mymoksha said...

YOuve gotta be kidding me.. you turn and call them racist biased for giving most of the PSD scholarships based on racial profiles... then turn to the people and say that it should be given to the STPM students who by the way a majority of them are Non-Malays.... and yet they remain the racists.... Im not with UMNO nor against them... Nor am I with the PR or against them... but at the very least... I dont think we should listen to these people who call others racist and then practice racism.... f**king politicians... theyd lie through their teeth if they wanna a vote...

Hazrul Nizam said...

Agree that only those who have got offers from SELECTED universities are given scholarship.

I know many students during my time that received scholarship or government loan after SPM then totally screwed up during their A Level and did just enough to be admitted to some lowly-ranked new universities (former polytechnics)in Britain. People should only get scholarship for attending universities that are at least as good as our public universities.

Anonymous said...

20% is more then enough for merit only scholarship.

changyang1230 said...

As far as I agree with the need to totally reform the whole JPA scholarship system, I feel that DAP has been sensationalising the "only 20% JPA scholarships are based on merits" issue.

The fact is, this has actually IMPROVED from previous years. If we apply the same perspective to previous years, the scholarship was totally based on racial quota (80-20 in early years, 55-45 in last few years). So in those years, the case was actually "0% JPA scholarships were given based on merits".

While technically all the facts given in the news report are correct, I feel that it's been misleading in that it gives the impression that this is the worse JPA allocation ever, when it is not.

Not saying that JPA is doing the right thing now; but I feel that a clarification is warranted.

Horlic said...

since MCA cant really help much on the issue.. hopefully, pakatan can help them! 100% support

Anonymous said...

Selection process is not transparent for a reason!

If the Govt is sincere in 1Malaysia they could have treated the citizens with fairness.

Its a long way before UMNO can do away with racial politics. Education is just another means for UMNO to project their stand to protect "Malay Privilege".

In my opinion UMNO is not doing the Malay a favour but to safeguard their power base.

Personally, I have left Malaysia some 30 years and the policies in Malaysia have not changed.

If I have not left Malaysia to be be a PR in UK there is no way I could have my 2 kids in Medical Schools courtesy of the British Govt and their fair play.

I would encourage non-Bumi to look beyond Malaysia for opportunities if possible. Malaysia Govt does not know what they are losing until it runs out of natural resources especially OIL!

Anonymous said...

merit? meritocracy?
stop making me Orwell said some two legged animals are more better

Anonymous said...


Plus, how come JPA scholars don't have those who go to NUS and NTU?

We discriminate against our neighbour like we discriminate against our own race? Sigh.

must be sincere said...

Tired of all this meritocrazy or discrimination? one word...JPA must be sincere....else no dream of merit on scholarship.

limsp said...

First of all, scholarships should not be awarded on merit alone! This is seriously unfair to those who could not afford tertiary education.

Why award a scholarship to a straight-A student whose parents are doctors/engineers/directors?
These people could easily afford to send their kids overseas and they are competing against others who could not even pay a cent for an education in a local private college.

I have personally seen a neighbour moving to a bigger house soon after their daughter was awarded an overseas JPA scholarship. Is this fair? They are saving their money on their daughter's education to be able to buy a bigger house while others are struggling to send their kids to a private college.

Scholarship should be awarded based on academic performance, GENUINE financial needs, and extra curricular activities.

yauld said...

C'mon mymoksha,

STPM is a worldwide A level qualification. Awarding scholarships based on STPM is much much fairer than SPM. I seriously wonder if that student from that religious school who scored 20A1s in SPM could score 5As for STPM...then I would have faith in the standards and difficulty level of the current SPM exams.

Anonymous said...

Scholarships should be awarded based on merit! or else it is not called 'scholarship', it is called assistance fund for special people.

You can apply for many types of UK scholarships (the foreign one) as they don't discriminate people against any criteria.

郑国_培 said...

All I know is that this kinda criteria that are based on race and skin color is damaging the whole education system and even people's hope. When you study hard, get good results(10A1s above), and eventually gets nothing...that's very horrible! Its sort of like killing people's hopes and dreams? What for study that hard? Just turn take a skin-color-changing jab, then that's all settle. You can get a scholarship for the courage of changing skin color! Hei, or even go stand under the hot sun days before the interview? That's easy right! Get a nice cool tan and get a glamorous scholarship! Yeah!

Muhammad said...

let me tell you all one thing, this is malaysia and you have to accept the flaws. we are malaysians and we should support whatever the government ask us to do regardless of good or bad. We are Malaysians!!!

Anonymous said...

I strongly think that scholarship should be awarded not only based on merit, but also taking into consideration of co-curricular activities and family's financial background.

Why should we award scholarship to whose parents earning 20K a month, who can spend lavishly on overseas holidays every year, who can buy luxury goods which cost thousands of dollar, but stingy enough to spend their money on their child's education? I simply want to say that scholarship should not be awarded to students with rich family background.
Rich people should not be greedy.
Scholarship should be awarded to under privilege students with less stable financial background.

And i would also insist that by scoring 10 As above does not guarantee that the students is bright enough. Scholarship award should also takes into consideartion of the student's co-curricular activities, leadership skills etc.

I just do not understand why certain races become so racist when comes to scholarship. 10 As does not means the student is good enough. Interview performance should also be taken into consideration.
What is the points scoring 10 or 15 As but not able to perform in he interview.

May i suggest JPA records the interview. If, in case the top students who score straight As but not performed in the interview and subsequently fail to get the scholarship, then trying to sensationalise the issue thru media with DAP backing, JPA would then be able to show the student's performance in the interview. What say you ??

郑国_培 said...

Dear Muhammad, its really pathetic to say that Malaysians have to follow the government. I really can't accept this! I know the current political situation in Malaysia is not good. We, the younger generation have to change that! I have always feel that those people who say that they are hopeless or giving up are simply weak people who don't have the strong will to live!

Anonymous said...

No matter how we complain the unfairness of Malaysia government just useless because they will not listen. The majority forms the government and government is acting as rascist, and the majority is Malay. Most scholorships and government contracts are ONLY awarded to Malay, so as the newly 1Malaysia is designed to brainwash new generation saying that Malay privilage is unchallegable. What a lousy country.