Thursday, June 09, 2005

When being top scorer don't get you anywhere.. Malaysia, that is.

Ng Ee Liang (13A1), Chung Ling High School
Desmond Chee (13A1), Penang Free School
Teoh Wan Ying (13A1), Penang Chinese Girls High School
Khaw Chok Tong, (12 1As), Pahang
Chew Ying Dee, (13 1As), Perlis
Ang Nee Hui (12 1As), SMK Keat Hwa, Kedah
Another 4 top students from SMK Sin Min, Kedah

These are the top scorers whose application for a scholarship were rejected. Reading the news yesterday, and looking at this list, one cannot help but feels that there's some other factors deciding who's in and who's out.

So what selection criteria does PSD use??

Based on the report today in the Star, the selection is based on points. Points are allocated to applicants according to their academic achievement in the SPM as well as their extra-curricular activities, family background and performance during interviews with the department.

The Star published the PSD's selection criteria as follows:
1. Excellent SPM results
2. Subjects that match course requirement
3. Grades for the subjects
4. National requirement for the course.

Other criteria include:
- Personality
- Self Image
- English Profiency
- Extra-curricular activities

While others selection criteria are pretty mush standard, but criteria such as "Personality" and "Self Image" are very subjective. Is there a proper guideline on how points should be given?

"Half-a-point can make or break", according to PSD. My question to PSD, what selection criteria do you use, when there's more than one applicants with the same points?

There are only 25 top scorers nationwide. Not 2500, not 250. Only 25. How difficult can that be?

I think the PSD has to be more transparent on awarding scholarships. Don't just say "Permohonan Ditolak". Provide a reason on why it is rejected. Publish the list of successful applicants, together with selection criteria and total points. Make it known to the public. If you have nothing to hide, why not?

Malaysia, if you don't appreciate your own people, someone else will.