Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wan Junaidi: Scholarship criteria not fair for Sarawak students because many are losing out

Saturday June 11, 2011
By STEPHEN THEN, thestar MIRI: The Federal Government’s current criteria to award scholarships to top SPM students to pursue higher education is just not working in favour of those from Sarawak.

It should draw up a different set of criteria for students from not only Sarawak but also Sabah with preference given to rural students.
Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar believes that many deserving students from the two states are missing out on the scholarships every year.
He felt that a separate criteria should be formulated for Sarawak and Sabah, and he had brought this up to the Federal Government.
“At the moment, the bulk of these scholarships are given to students from the peninsula. This has been going on for a long time.
“The criteria must take into consideration the very different social situations that exist in Sarawak and Sabah. Students who study in rural schools must be given priority. If they obtained even just a few A’s, they should be given consideration for scholarships, even ahead of urban students in the peninsula who obtained 10A’s,” he said.
He explained that this was because most rural students were from poor families and without scholarships, it was very difficult for them to further their studies.
He added that applicants should be judged based on their family income and not just on how many A’s they obtained.
Junaidi said the latest controversy over government scholarships arose when deserving students failed to secure them even for local universities.
He said the opposition parties had jumped on the issue and used it as ammunition to attack Barisan Nasional parties.
“This issue is going to be a very hot topic in Parliament during the coming sitting. However, there are certain sides to it which many people fail to realise. It is not that the Barisan government is unfair or that only bumiputra students are favoured, the real problem is there are many students whose families are rich but still applied for scholarships and somehow they got them,” he said.
He also pointed out that there were some scholarship recipients who insisted on more expensive overseas universities even when they were offered places in local universities.

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