PUTRAJAYA: The bulk of SPM top scorers who apply for Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships can forget about studying in top universities around the world.
They will have to make do in local universities.
The privilege of choice overseas study will be reserved only for the best 20, according to the Public Service Department (PSD) which is the countryâ€™s largest provider of scholarships and bursaries for post-secondary education.
In a media briefing here yesterday, a PSD senior spokesman said only 20 of the â€œcreme de la cremeâ€ would be allowed to study in top ranking universities abroad and return to join the civil service.
â€œIt is part of the long term plan to inject the civil service with quality graduates who will in turn be quality civil servants.
â€œThey will be groomed to be our civil serviceâ€™s next generation of leaders,â€™â€™ the spokesman said.
He said an additional 200 top students would have places under the Special Engineering Programme but would only be allowed to study in Japan, Korea, Germany and France.
On the new funding regulations, the spokesman said that studies in local public and private universities will be given priority.
â€œWe cannot be having all our finest and brightest study outside the country as it does not reflect the aim of having outstanding students in our local institutions,â€ he said.
The spokesman also announced that there will be no more Bursary Graduate Programme from next year onwards.
For this year only 250 SPM leavers with 9A+ from 2015 will be offered funds through the bursary programme to study locally.
As for some 744 students, who qualified for the bursary programme in 2013 and 2014 and were hoping to study abroad, they will now have to do their degrees in local public and private universities.
The spokesman advised the 744 students not to be disheartened.
â€œYou canâ€™t get what you want all the time, just like everyone wants to be a CEO but that is impossible,â€™â€™ he said.
â€œThe focus is on funding more people to get into the varsities here. The quality of our varsities have improved,â€ he added.
Stressing that the Government was trying its best to offer as many scholarships as possible from the RM1.65bil pool announced in Parliament recently, the spokesman said there was also the additional allocation of RM160mil approved under the recalibrated Budget 2016 to fund this yearâ€™s batch of students.
This amount, which came following the Budget 2016 revision announced in January, is meant to support 49,060 students, with 41,324 (84%) of them studying here, and the remaining 7,736 overseas.
He said among the criteria that will guide the PSD in its selection process were merit and the socioeconomic background of the applicant, besides grades and co-curricular achievements.
The spokesman said the department will also focus on those categorised in the B40 and M40 groupings, with attention on technical & vocational education and training (TVET).
(B40 refers to the bottom 40% of households in the country who typically live on a monthly household income of under RM3,860, while M40 refers to those from households with monthly incomes of up to RM8,319)
A thousand students from B40 families will be offered the Dermasiswa B40 to pursue diplomas in polytechnics and public universities, including Universiti Tenaga Nasional and Multimedia University, he said.
Seven thousand university students, who are currently pursuing their studies in local public and private institutions of higher learning, will continue to benefit from PSD funding.
The spokesman added that a special briefing for 2013/2014/2015 Bursary candidates will be held soon, although no specific date was mentioned. More information can be found at esilav2.jpa.gov.my or by calling 03-88853603/3777/3398.