JPA/PSD Local & Overseas Scholarship Statistics

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PSD: High-achievers have to compete for scholarships
Source: TheStar Online, 18/05/2008

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government cannot afford to offer all high-achievers a scholarship for overseas studies, said the Public Services Department (PSD).

“The most common misunderstanding is that academic excellence will guarantee them scholarship. However, the fact is that many excellent students have to compete for a limited number of scholarships and those awarded will be the 'cream of the crop',” said PSD Director-General Tan Sri Ismail Adam in an e-mail interview with Sunday Star.

This past week saw many disgruntled high achievers who had their application for PSD scholarships under its Foreign Degree Programme rejected.

Only 2,000 scholarships were available for studies abroad but a total of 15,217 applications were received, out of which 7,253 were called for interview.

PSD advised those who had failed there to apply for a scholarship under its local programme. A total of 10,000 scholarships for local programmes will be on offer online next month, but many students, especially the non-Malays, are worried about their chances.

On Friday, MIC secretary-general Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam said all students who score 10A1s and above in the SPM examination should automatically be offered PSD scholarships after some 140 top students who failed to clinch a scholarship under the Foreign Degree Programme approached him for support.

Ismail, however, stressed that scholarships are a privilege provided by the government rather than a right, highlighting how the growing number of students obtaining straight As in their SPMover the years has made it tougher for the Government to select deserving recipients for PSD scholarships.

According to a PSD source, the trend of students doing more than 12 subjects for their SPM has also pushed the academic criteria up.

This year, for example, although the criteria set was lower, in the selection process, the committee had to push their academic criteria to a minimum of 13A1 in their selection process.

Subramaniam, who is also Human Resources Minister, said the lack of transparency in the awarding of scholarships was a problem, as some students alleged bias towards bumiputra students.

PSD denied the allegations saying 1,100 scholarships for overseas study went to bumiputras and 900 to non-bumiputras this year.

Ismail also said that students who obtained 9As in the 2007 SPM examination were eligible for an automatic local scholarship to pursue Form 6 right up to a degree at a local university or institution of higher learning.


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