Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Selfish View On The Award Of Scholarships

From the opinion section of today's The Star
.
Unfair to discriminate against the rich in scholarships
The SPM results have just been released. Many students will be busy applying for various scholarships and loans to help finance them in their studies.

Here, I would like to voice my opinion on the criteria used for awarding scholarships. According to the Webster's Dictionary, scholarship is defined as “the position of a student, who because of merit, needs, etc. is granted money or other aid to pursue his studies. “

This means that if a student has worked hard and excelled in his studies, he deserves to be given a scholarship despite his financial background. This scholarship should be awarded to him as he has worked hard to earn it.

Thus, I feel that it is unfair to penalise a student and deprive him of a scholarship because he comes from a wealthy family.

If a student came from a poor background, he or she has to work extra hard to secure a scholarship as otherwise he can always apply for a loan.
A scholarship should be awarded according to the student's own merit. It should have nothing to do with the parents' income.

The fact that the student is making an application shows that he or she needs the money for further studies.

I have gone through a number of scholarship forms and am shocked at the particulars they want. For example, they want parents' details, race, religion, etc. The income of family is considered as an important criteria and this carries a certain percentage of marks.

What has that got to do with awarding the scholarships? It should be based entirely on student's own particulars, examination results, and the activities they have participated.

I hope the various bodies offering scholarships would reconsider the set of criteria and award scholarships based on merits.

P. SAROJINI, Port Dickson.
***** Apparently the above writer has absolutely no sympathy for the poor and deprived. She views everything through a rigid lens of 'merit'. The fact that she can say without qualms that the poor 'can always apply for a loan,' is testimony to her lopsided thinking.

The
Webster's Dictionary definition is not an absolute and neither is merit. The selection criteria for scholarships must be tempered with justice, fair play and a realistic assessment of the prevailing situation in our country.

One must understand that the number of scholarships available at any one time is severely limited and often much less than the number of those qualifying with top marks. After making allowance for the disparity in income between the poor and the 'wealthy' as the writer prefers to describe them (and herself?) and all things being otherwise equal, scholarships should be given to those from the lower socio-economic groups.

Obtaining a scholarship on merit is not the inherent right of any citizen. These are meant as a financial helping hand for those from the poorer sections of society who would otherwise find it almost impossible to undertake tertiary studies. Scholarships should be considered as a social service by the government and charitable trusts and foundations. It is a way for them to redress the imbalance in the quality of life between the various class groups in the country where the rich pupils can afford the most expensive tuitions and other facilities while the poor have to make do with what little is available, if at all.

If the wealthy have a shortfall in funds to finance their children's education, it is THEY who
can always apply for a loan.
Image - Source

Another letter to The Star: Give poor deserving students a chance at higher education

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12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

All scholarships should be replaced by interset-free educational loans, to be repaid by monthly installments once the recepient starts working. I beleve we are well aware of overseas scholarship holders receiving monthly up to 5 times the salary of workers in this country. And they are yet complaining that it is not enough and are clamouring for more. What is wrong with paying back the amount of money spent on your education once you start working?

2:04 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely disagree with your view on this. In the first place there should be scholarships based on different categories, some based solely on merit, some based on family/financial background and others probably based on sporting abilities.

Scholarships must and should be seen as a form of recognition and incentive to all who are bright, irrespective of their backgrounds. Think your view that scholarships should only be handed out to the needy seems a bit narrow

2:10 PM GMT+8  
Blogger kittykat46 said...

She does have a valid point, you know...
I agree, the principal social purpose of scholarships is to assist deserving students who will otherwise face financial difficulty to pursue further education.

However there are also well-known scholarships in the US and UK, for example, which are awarded to the very best candidates - from a combination of academic, social, intellectual, sports achievements, regardless of their financial background.

These scholarships exist primarily to encourage and recognise excellence, and are very highly regarded.

It can help build a culture of excellence in the country - provided we are willing to leave behind the usual Bangsa dan Agama and "Connections" criteria.

2:13 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Navi said...

Scholarships awarded should be based on the socio economic background of the student and not on their academic performance. As said by anonymous, overseas scholarship holders are paid fat amounts that they can afford to have their whole family out with them and return with posh cars.

There should be some help for the failures in school too. While those academically able continue their studies, these failures turn to life of crime, drug taking and other forms of unacceptable habits. The government should actually pay a lot of attention to these failures. Proper skills and vocational training should be made mandatory.
The wealthy can afford their education. If they don't want to take their money from their own kitty, take a loan.

2:17 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHAT THE HECK... MERIT OR NO MERIT, POOR OR RICH, WHATS THE FREAKING PROBLEM HERE.

ASKED TO VOTE BR & PETRONAS WILL TAKE CARE OF EVERY CHILD EDU UNTIL UNI... BUT YOU BLOCKHEADS DID OTHERWISE AND FOLLOW BADAWI... WHY WANT TO BITCH ABOUT THIS NOW.

WE EXPECT MORE BITCHING... WHEN THAT MINISTER 'WHAT-IS-HIS-NAME' FROM JOHOR DECIDE TO REMOVE SUBSIDIES OF ALL KIND & DIVERT THE FUNDS TO BUDDIES ACCOUNT.

LIKE THAT MAMAK SAID : YOU GET THE GOVERMENT YOU DESERVE... SO, LIVE WITH IT & STOP BITCHING ABOUT IT FOR THE NEXT 5 YEARS OR...

YOU FOLKS COULD DO A HARA-KIRI.

...BEERANYONE?

2:28 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous SM said...

The writer does have a point.
HOWEVER, since there are usually only a certain number of Scholarships available, as suggested by Anonymous 2:10PM, there should be a few categories. Maybe 50% to those from the needy category & the remaining based on Merit & some other categories (like sporting, etc).
Your view may be a bit narrow, however the writer's view is also similarly narrow (& yes probably a bit selfish but truth be told, aren't we all a bit selfish?).

2:36 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, I was giggling when I finished reading that letter. She is clearly loopy.

can

2:45 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Lyna Wan said...

I think scholarships are given with priority to the students who excel in their studies and come from low income family. But, being a scholars myself I don't think that person from wealthy family can't secure a scholarship. After the priority is taken, then there are still rooms for those who come from high income family.

3:06 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, i think if we follow Singapore's method of slapping a 10% interest charge + 40K admin charge payable within a year in the case of breaking a bond, this might even be a money maker for the govt...lol

4:48 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, scholarships should be given to students who excel in education and after taking into considering their financial background.

The problem is the rich are never satisfied with what they have and want more. If you can afford it, please please give it to the poor because they need it more than the rich.

Students from rich family doing well in education is common as they get the best tuition and what not that comes along. Poor students have to work double harder to excel because their parents cannot give them the comfort and conducive environment.

So please, rich people, don't be so selfish, think of the lest fortunate.

6:10 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This subject has been discussed and argued numerous times but no solution is yet in sight.

Scholarship is also a testimony to a student and parents that the student did well in his study. You wear it like a badge. You don't get that with "old man" (father) scholarship. It's like a datukship.

Maybe in lieu of a scholarship, the father can get a datukship if he choses to finance his son or daughter. Just kidding.

6:34 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hahaha why dog-fighting among each other so that whose son/daughter should get into local universities in Malaysia hahaha. U wan ur son/daugthers becomes like Nordin Kardin (UUM VC) similar INTELEKs ahh hahaha (yalo his intellectualism along with many other whom he claim he represented only cost RM7 million only lo haha).

Man this country had no hope la, save ur strength and $$ to leave le haha. Hoping ur son/daughter becomes lawyer ahh, when he/she faces LINGAM, who will win haha. Hoping ur son/daughter becomes doctor ah like Dr Lim Keng Yaik ahh see la he can cure his own GILAness or not haha. And lastly hoping ur son/daughter becomes PM ahh like AAB ahh, see he alway sleeps around and commanded by his SIL only haha..

5:41 PM GMT+8  

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