PETALING JAYA: The group which petitioned the government to sponsor their overseas studies are happy that the government has stepped in, but called for adjustments in the way foreign universities were considered for scholarship awards.
A-Level student Edmund Kong, who started the petition, said the Public Service Department (PSD) should give out the sponsorships based on the university’s subject rankings and not general rankings.
He said this is because students chose a university based on whether the institution excelled in a chosen field.
“Oxford University is ranked number one for general rankings, but is ranked far behind the top ten for courses like Mathematics. Not all faculties are equally powerful,” he pointed out.
Kong started the petition about three months ago for the government to review its policies on overseas scholarships.
He also said some students received offers from universities which are at the top eight for their courses, but because PSD used the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, these students would not get to go overseas.
Kong lauded the PSD’s decision to sponsor 80% of the cost to study abroad for 13 students.
“But one possible worry is that some students can’t even pay the 20% as they’ll need close to 100% sponsorship.
“While some can actually ‘afford’ approximately 50% of their fees,” he said.
“Probably in the future PSD can vary the percentage sponsored according to household income,” he suggested.
On Thursday, PSD director-general Datuk Borhan Dolah (pic) said the Cabinet agreed to PSD sponsoring the studies for 54 students.
These students, he added, received offers from universities ranked among the top 10 in the world. Among the universities listed in the THE World University Rankings 2018 are the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.
The remaining 41 students will receive full PSD scholarships to pursue courses at local universities, Borhan added.
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