PAGE chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim advised parents not to rely on the government to fund their children’s tertiary education. — Malay Mail pic 

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 — Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) urged parents today not to rely on the government to fund their children’s tertiary education, after Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships were reduced in the revised Budget 2016.

PAGE chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim highlighted Malaysia’s poor economic conditions and said the government’s move to cut public scholarships was unavoidable.

“Recession is expected and parents must realised that education is expensive and the government does not owe your child anything.

“Parents should look at saving up for their own children’s education rather than expecting this to come free,” she told Malay Mail Online when contacted.

In announcing the revised budget yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the top 20 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) achievers will be entitled this year to receive scholarships under the PSD’s National Scholarship Programme to study locally or abroad. This was a reduction from 50 students last year.

Najib, who gave the reduced figures for four PSD scholarship programmes, also said scholarships for the PSD’s engineering programme to Japan, Korea, Germany and France would be offered to 200 students, a drop from 300 students last year.

PSD’s bursary programme would be offered to 744 students for only local undergraduate studies, a reduction from 1,000 bursaries last year that had been open for study at foreign institutions. The PSD’s First Degree Programme for 8,000 students this year also showed a cut as it had been offered to 10,050 students in 2015 to pursue their first degree locally, according to DAP lawmaker Zairil Khir Johari.

Malacca Action Group for Parents in Education (Magpie) chairman Mak Chee Kin, however, opposed Putrajaya’s decision to cut public scholarships.

“What is going to happen to the fate of the more than 700 students who had received offer letters from reputable universities?

“Imagine getting an offer from a very good university, and then being asked to study locally in an institution that is not on par with some of these international universities,” he said.

Saying that he was not looking down at local institutions, Mak pointed out that the exposure and certificate obtained at reputable universities overseas could help cultivate better human capital for Malaysia.

He said it would be the other way around now as neighbouring nations like Singapore would identify and grab Malaysian talents to study and work in their country.

“A girl who scored 9A+ in her SPM examination here in Malacca did not receive any government scholarships despite applying several times.

“A Singapore university which saw her potentials, then accepted her and paid for her education,” Mak said. “She is now working for the government there.”

A parent, whose daughter is currently waiting for her SPM results, also condemned the cut in PSD scholarships.

“Education is an important tool in developing a strong nation and by cutting back on education spendings, it goes to show that the government is not really sure what it wants for the country in the long run,” he told Malay Mail Online, declining to be identified.

Source from The Malaymail Online

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