There has been much dispute over the question of JPA scholarship allocation to SPM students. Unequal distributions of funding has disappointed so many excellent students as they have worked so hard and strived for so many “A”, and end up with nothing.
I have had great opportunity to meet with two scholars in the UK, but I don’t have good feeling with them, despite the fact that I had met so many good scholars previously. I shared my experience in my chinese blog here and here.
Anyway, my humble opinions about the scholarship allocation are as follow:
- The way to award scholarship based on SPM result is outdated. I think we should assess their performance according to Pre-Uni result, like STPM, A-Level, etc, or even only award the over sea scholarship to postgraduate only. The reason is, an individual who scored well in SPM, doesn’t mean he/she will perform well in the university studies in the future. Besides, there are more and more “straight A” SPM student every year. In order to secure the scholarship, students tend to take up as many subjects as possible and neglect their real interest. Even though, the authority can allocate more scholarship for qualified students, but this is not the practical way. I believe we don’t want students that only know how to score “A”. Instead, we need future leaders that are able to work independently, think critically and creatively.
- Although they have begin their undergraduate studies, the performance of scholarship awardees should be closely supervised. This is due to the difference between the standard/level of secondary & tertiary education. Unlike secondary school that mostly rely on teaching’s note, in tertiary level, students are expected to learn independently, practice proper time management and develop soft skills, etc. If they can’t cope with these challenges, then the name of “scholars” doesn’t reflect their eligibility/ capability.
- Impose strict regulation to prevent certain individuals that intend to take the opportunity they have as a stepping stone to establish their career in the overseas. Also, ensure they “must” contribute to the home county, and serve in the government agency.
- Award overseas scholarship only to postgraduate level. Since, the nation still provide acceptable quality of undergraduate educations, so why don’t let these top students study in local uni first. Indirectly, a way to improve reputation/ performance of local unis. Furthermore, undergraduate qualification is insufficient to make them become expert in their area of studies (as I believe the government’s intention was to train scholars become expert in selected areas and contribute back to the nation in the future). If they perform well, they still can get funding to pursue postgraduate in foreign country in the future :-)
That’s all, humble opinion from ck.