KOTA KINABALU: The Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) will extend the implementation of the ‘Pembangunan Siswa Sulung Keluarga Malaysia’ (SULUNG) sponsorship programme to 20 public universities next year.
SULUNG will benefit the first generation children of B40 families who do not yet have a family member who has the opportunity to further their studies in bachelor’s degree and above programme.
The ministry’s caretaker minister, Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad, said 76 students have been selected from 115,477 UPUOnline applications for public higher learning institutions (IPTA), for the SULUNG programme.
She said that the first cohort for 2022 had just started this month involving eight public universities as pioneers.
The universities are Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI), Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM), Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP), and Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP).
“I had the opportunity to visit a few SULUNG undergraduate houses in Johor and Melaka to extend the letter of offers. MOHE top officials had also met-up with a few student candidates in Kedah, Kelantan and Sabah.
“However, in view of limited time, we were not able to go to all locations,” she said at the launching of SULUNG and presenting the Letter of Offers for the MOHE programme at Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM) in Batu Pahat, Johor, recently.
She said MOHE was working on getting allocations from the government and also funding from outside parties to ensure the sustainability of the programme.
Noraini said the first-year students selected for the programme were not only given special admission into university, but were are also offered financial assistance.
“The financial assistance will be in the form of student’s tertiary donations covering tuition fees and other related fees, allowances and assistance such as living allowance and laptop assistance.
“Apart from that, other facilities such as boarding throughout their study period will be provided. There will also be guidance from SULUNG counselors and academic advisors to ensure that students focus on their majors.
“We will also help SULUNG students in terms of increasing their marketability through collaboration with industries to ensure that they get better job opportunities upon their graduation,” she said.
Noraini said MOHE was also offering scholarships and financial assistance to a target group which comprises teaching staff in public institutions and members of the public who are qualified to further their studies in all aspects of levels from certificates right up to advanced degrees.
She said they included officers who are currently serving as teaching staff at public universities, polytechnics and Kolej Komuniti as well as non-academic staff at the public universities, MOHE offers ‘Skim Latihan Akademik Bumiputra’, ‘Skim Latihan Akademik IPTA’, ‘Sub-Kepakaran’, ‘Pasca Kedoktoran’ and ‘Hadiah Latihan Persekutuan’.
Qualified members of the public are offered programmes such as MyBrain Science (MyBrainSc), IPT Outstanding Athlete scholarship, ‘Tokoh Siswa’ and Polytechnic Excellence Student scholarship.
“For those who come from the B40 family, MOHE also offers Basic Financial Assistance and Kolej Komuniti Student Financial Assistance (BKPKK): while for people with special needs, we have financial assistance for the special needs (BKOKU) and Special Education Programme (PPK).
“Currently, we also have the ‘Dermasiswa B40 TVET’ programme, especially for B40 students majoring in TVET fields.
“To make these scholarship initiatives and financial assistance a success, a large allocation is provided by the government to MOHE annually,” she said.
Noraini said this year alone, a total of RM150 million went to education sponsorships for a total of 30,314 students.
At the same event, MOHE strategic partner, Lembaga Tabung Haji, contributed RM12 million in zakat through its ‘Iqra’ TH’ programme to 20 public universities at RM600,000 each.
According to Noraini, the ‘Iqra’ TH’ programme is part of the Lembaga Tabung Haji’s corporate social responsibility to help finance the education of around 30,000 university students from poor families.
On the supply of tablets under the Keluarga Malaysia Student Device (Peranti Siswa) phase two, a total of 474,311 applications were received across the country before the closing date on Sept 30.
Noraini said, as of Oct 20, 2022, a total of 291,096 applications were approved, which is 61 per cent of the total applications.
“MOHE expects that the distribution of the approved tablets will be distributed in stages, within these two months.
“We have distributed these tablets in a few IPT according to their zones such as UMS, UKM, UTM, University Malaysia Trengganu (UMT), Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM), Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UNISZA) Besut Campus, Universiti Islam Antarabangsa (UIA), and Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM),” she said.
She also said students whose applications had been approved can go to the UTHM counters to claim their tablets.