Wednesday, January 19, 2011

PSD to end sponsorship of undergrad studies abroad

KUALA LUMPUR: The 1,500 scholarships offered by the Public Service Department (PSD) for undergraduate studies overseas will be phased out from next year.However, those who have secured entry for undergraduate studies at top foreign universities such as Oxford and Cambridge may still apply for such scholarships.

Scholarships for postgraduate studies will also be available.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz said the move was aimed at increasing the number of scholarships for those studying at local universities and to address complaints that there were not enough scholarships for outstanding Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) students.
These scholarships are awarded on merit and take into account the student’s background.

Nazri said this would not affect the Perdana Scholarship—the 300 scholarships awarded by the PSD entirely on merit, regardless of race.

This is the second year of the Perdana Scholarship, which is solely for students doing a master’s degree or doctoral programme in all fields with emphasis on science
and technology,at world-renowned universities.

Nazri, who is also the minister in charge of PSD scholarships, said that there would always be complaints that the government was not providing enough scholarships.
“There are just too many outstanding students. Even with the new grading system, where grades are divided into three classifications, for example, A-, A and A+, there are still many students who are able to get with outstanding results.

“It’s impossible to increase the number of scholarships because we don’t have enough money for that when we also need money to focus on other areas,” he said told the New Straits Times yesterday.

The 1,500 overseas scholarships given out under the PSD’s Program Ijazah Luar Negara (PILN) overseas programme are awarded according to a race quota with 56 per cent going to Bumiputera students and 44 per cent to non-Bumiputeras.

This year, more than 15,000 students applied for the scholarships.

Nazri also refuted a claim by Federation of Malaysian Indian Organisations president A Rajaretinam that 80 per cent of the scholarships were awarded to Bumiputeras, calling it a “blatant lie”.

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