PM: Education top priority

EDUCATION, with emphasis on co-curricular development, innovation and academic achievement, will continue to be the government’s main agenda.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the pursuit of knowledge has been challenged by Covid-19, but the education system has pivoted accordingly.“The effort to educate students continues by adapting technology through online classes,” he said during the PETRONAS Education Sponsorship Programme (PESP) ceremony at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre on Sept 20.

Ismail Sabri pointed out that while online learning is not easy, students have been able to cope with the challenges.

“This learning method requires high concentration, motivation and discipline, as well as a proactive attitude to learn independently, but students have managed to obtain excellent results,” he said, when addressing some 600 students who have obtained sponsorship from PETRONAS.Ismail Sabri also stressed the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

He said it’s necessary to examine the direction of STEM to prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“We must ensure that Malaysia does not fall behind in the STEM field so that the country continues to remain competitive at the global level,” he said.

Ismail Sabri noted that the number of students in STEM currently stands at 47% while that of Pure Science students is at 19%.

On a separate matter, Ismail Sabri announced that PETRONAS will increase two categories of allowance for sponsored students to address the rising cost of living.

He said this will benefit 2,267 scholars studying locally and abroad.

The two categories are book and study materials allowance, and onboarding allowance.

“This assistance is expected to ease the burden of students and parents, and further facilitate the learning process of students,” he said.

The books and study materials allowance will be increased from RM1,000 to RM1,500 for students in Malaysia and an additional allowance of RM500 for students abroad.

Meanwhile, the onboarding allowance for new scholars will be increased from RM4,500 to RM5,000.

Also present during the ceremony were Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad, Deputy Education Minister II Datuk Mohamad Alamin and PETRONAS chairman Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh.

This year, PETRONAS sponsored 600 outstanding Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) 2021 students to pursue their tertiary education.

Of the number, almost 80% of scholars are underprivileged students.

This year also marked the highest number of sponsorships awarded in a year by the company, with an investment value of more than RM340mil.

Recipients of the sponsorship will pursue tertiary studies in chemical engineering, petroleum engineering, mechanical engineering, geoscience, economics, law, and other industry-related courses at Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP), as well as in other leading local and overseas universities in Australia, China, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Since 1975, more than 37,000 outstanding Malaysian students, including 1,720 who are currently in the programme, have benefited from sponsorships valued at over RM3.5bil.

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