Saturday, May 03, 2008

Should Income be considered for JPA Scholarships

There has been a lot of talks on whether income should be taken into account for JPA Scholarships to study abroad. Today, family income below Rm5k would give the students 10 points, between RM5k and RM10k, would be 5 points and more than RM10k would be 0 point.

Some of the richer ones are arguing that this might be unfairly penalizing on them, whereas some others are saying that this is fair.

Some of my opinion as alternative to current method is:-

1. Take income outside of consideration of scholarship giving, but parents would be required to contribute a portion of income towards the scholarship amount. This method might mean that parents have to contribute 10% (this % would need further analysis) of their annual income towards their child's studies abroad. The remaining portion would be funded through scholarships. In this case, it would be fair to all students, and it can help government to save some cost and send more students too. The downside is that in earlier years of implementation, government might find it harder to predict the total cost. And some parents might start to cheat on income tax (but come on, do enforce on income tax surveillance and bring them to book for cheating on income tax).

2. This method also would suggest take out income component from the scholarships determination. But parents can choose to contribute a certain amount to reduce the number of years of bonds for the students. So, for instance, for every RM50k or RM100k (again arbitrary figure), it would reduce 1 year of bond. So, effectively, the student would get the title of being a government scholar, and yet having shorter bond (This would help government to reduce wastage too, if they are not using the scholars in civil service). Maybe a minimum of 2 years of bond or 3 years be set and a cap of maximum parents' paying of RM300k or RM400k etc. (More analysis needed for the figure).

3. Set up separate scholarships quota for poorer family. Today, those who earn at least 10A1s and below RM1,500 would automatically get the scholarships. Perhaps this could be enhanced on this aspect. Perhaps this figure of income could be increased to say RM3,000 (again arbitrary number here), and set aside say 300 or 500 (again arbitrary number) scholarships for them. This would ensure the needs of the poor and rich are taken care of.

What do you think of the opinion above? Do point out what is right or what is not right on the opinion above. Maybe if we can come out with a bunch of good suggestions for JPA.

You can discuss it further here, or more interestingly at - The Worldwide Malaysian Students Network

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