Master’s degree holders who have sacrificed jobs and begun the journey to complete PhD studies while relying on financial support promised earlier should not be victimised, writes JD Lovrenciear.
Education Minister Maszlee Malik has said that the postgraduate scholarships aimed at producing 60,000 PhD-holders for our nation will be put on freeze.
Maszlee said the ministry decided to postpone the MyBrain15 programme because its RM90m allocation never reached his ministry. He added that the RM90m was also insufficient to meet the academic needs of the recipients. The total cost was actually RM612m.
Although it can be understood that the financial bungle of the preceding government has put tremendous pressure on the new government to cancel, revamp or put on hold education aid, the minister needs to consider one crucial factor.
Master’s degree holders who have sacrificed jobs and begun the journey to complete PhD studies while relying on financial support promised earlier should not be victimised.
If we as a nation can put our hands together to raise millions through Tabung Harapan, let us not take short-sighted shortcuts by punishing those citizens determined to pursue higher education to meet the nation’s human capital needs of tomorrow.
The least the minister is obliged to do is ensure that those who have embarked on PhD programmes be given the scholarships. Meanwhile future applications can be put on hold till the country can better afford financial relief.
Hopefully the minister will be aware of this appeal made in the interest of the hundreds of Malaysians who have embarked on their PhD programmes. Hopefully too Malaysians and the local media will bring to the fore this concern for the benefit of the country’s future.