Form 6 still same after 15 years…

June 8th, 2010 by poobalan | View blog reactions Leave a reply »
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I remember entering Form 6 15 years ago. Within weeks, the class become about half the population as the Malay students “vanished”.  At that time, I had no idea of matriculation or UiTM, so couldn’t really understand why some of my friends or classmates went away. And now, my relatives in the next generation also faced the same thing.  Where the students disappeared too? Kidnapped by aliens? Can’t afford to study in Form 6? Went to work? Went to IPTS? Recently, HRP had their gathering of SPM leavers who didn’t get place in the relevant programs. The below is news covered by Malaysiakini.

An SPM school-leaver with excellent results has failed to get a government scholarship, prompting the father, also a teacher in the same school, to suspect if there were ‘inside deals’ awarding scholarships to unqualified students instead.

The father, who declined to be named, says he believes such an internal network exists, that contributed to unqualified students in his school “disappearing one by one” as they headed for overseas programmes or matriculation studies in local universities.

“(My) children are capable too. They are also loyal to this country because we always encourage them to embrace 1Malaysia,” said the father of three.

“When we see (those unqualified students) disappearing (on scholarships) one by one, we ask ourselves, what (then) are we?

“We too are Malaysians, we struggle, we work hard but look at (what has happened to) our kids. We are disappointed, we can see tears in their eyes, but what are we to do when we are stuck?” asked the visibly upset father.

Last year, Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin insisted that the awarding of the highly-coveted Public Service Department (PSD) scholarship had been done transparently, although he conceded that there were interest groups and members of the public who were in the dark over its selection process.

Despite his assurance, a number of Indian Malaysian students are crying foul that the government has ignored their scholarship applications despite having passed their exams with flying colors.

Some, who scored more than 7 ‘A’s, are lamenting that their application for matriculation studies were rejected due to their skin color.

‘Cheated by education system’

Yesterday, these students (below) gathered at the Indian-based Human Rights Party (HRP) office in Prai, Penang, to complain about how they felt cheated and disappointed by the country’s education system.

Thennarasi Pannir Selvam, who scored 8 ‘A’s in her exams at the Bukit Mertajam High School, was heartbroken that she was rejected although her results amply qualified her to study medicine.

“I feel cheated, and unfairly treated. This is not 1Malaysia, because those whose results were lower than mine had been offered to study matriculations, whereas I did not get the chance,” said the 17-year-old, who comes from a low income family of eight.

Ravien Shanmugam, who obtained 11 ‘A’s from SMK Balidshah said the system was terribly unfair to him as he had repeatedly appealed for entry to the matriculation programme, but failed to get a response from the relevant departments.

“Even ‘normal’ students managed to get into matriculation; I studied hard and scored well in my exams. But I (am dependent) on the government to pursue my studies, and did not get a scholarship, so I feel very disappointed,” said Ravien, from a middle-income family of five.

Kavata Balasubramaniam, who scored 10 ‘A’s at Penang St George’s School also failed to get into matriculation studies as she had hoped.

“I applied for the PSD scholarship because my parents cannot support me, as they have two other kids to care for. But I failed to get it, so I have no choice but to study in Form Six. I feel very disappointed,” she said.

‘A national issue’

Meanwhile, HRP advisor N Ganesan (left) stressed that while the Indian community was most affected by this problem, it was a national issue faced by other communities as well.

“There is a definite scheme to clearly (oppress) them when they are young, so that (the prospect of a good) future is (robbed) from the Indians,” he said.

“We have been a minority, for more than 50 years we (have been) marginalised. And the problem here now is more acute than we are led to believe,” he added.

Referring to Prime Minister Najib Razak’s public claim to be willing to help the students with their applications and appeals, Ganesan suspected it to be mere lip service.

“I hope this is not something that is merely cosmetic. I hope something real happens, but as it is with this country, only when it happens (then) I (will) believe,” he said.

“How can we talk about human capital (for the country) when we stunt the growth of these students, just because they are Indians?” he asked. 

Political parties on bandwagon

The prime minister was recently reportedly to have expressed willingness to resolve the controversy over the awarding of the much sought-after scholarship, that assisted entry to overseas programmes or matriculation programmes in local universities.

Many SPM leavers with excellent grades who failed in their applications for the PSD scholarship and the placements have since appealed. 

Parties like MCA, MIC and now HRP, have offered to help the students with the appeals.

MCA said that there’s too many top scorers, too few PSD scholarships:

It is not possible to award Public Services Department (PSD) scholarships to all of the SPM straight-A students because there are too many of them.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said 7,800 students obtained straight As while the PSD could only offer 1,500 scholarships.

However, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek and Dr Wee, who is also MCA Youth chief, said they had appealed to the PSD during a recent meeting to give out more scholarships in view of the high number of top scorers.

During the meeting with PSD director-general Tan Sri Ismail Adam, Dr Chua and Dr Wee brought up the case of 1,304 top SPM scorers who did not get scholarships from the department.

“Currently, 1,500 scholarships are given out, 214 to students with A+s,” said Dr Wee after launching the Read Malaysia 2010 book fair yesterday.

Dr Wee hoped that in future students with the most number of A+s would be given priority in the awarding of scholarships.

He also said that the DAP should not hit out at him because the awarding of the scholarships was not under his ministry.

I’m not sure what the Minister is trying to prove, but he’s merely stating the obvious. Everyone knows that there are too many top students around. Question is, what has been done to alleviate the problem? This issue has been happening for many years now. Why not make the requirements stricter and be totally transparent? Until now, the list of scholarship recipients were not published. No details have be given on the selection logic. No wonder some groups claim that there may be hanky panky involved.

I think besides total transparency, the cut-off grades should also be properly highlighted and duly complied with. The scholarships should be awarded to those who score all A+, while those with a mixture of As should be given scholarship to study locally, either in reputable IPTS or IPTA (via matriculation/pre-u/foundation routes). Secondly, those with less than 9As should be asked to continue in Form 6, while the ones with less than 5As should be encourage to take up diploma in IPTA or polytechnics. As an alternative, stop scholarship for SPM leavers and create scholarship for STPM leavers. Only offer scholarship to those student who are able to secure places in universities list by JPA/MMC etc. This would save a lot of time and work for JPA. Matriculation programs should be stopped and post-SPM education streamlined to be fair for all Malaysians.

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