Offer more bursaries instead

Offer more bursaries instead

I agree with Mr Devadas Krishnadas ("PSC scholarships: Tackle larger issues"; last Friday) that financial aid provided by the Government, especially for education, helps children from lower- and lower-middle-income families afford higher education.

However, scholarships are not the way to do it.

Perhaps what would be more appropriate is to increase the number of bursaries available. Bursaries are awarded based on need, not merit, just as scholarships are awarded based on merit, not need.

Scholarships are intended to "reserve" for the organisation the best talent, while bursaries are intended to help those who cannot afford further education.

Currently, most bursaries are offered by universities or philanthropic organisations. Precious few of these come directly from the Government.

And most bursaries are awarded based on per capita household income; has the qualifying criterion increased over the years to account for inflation?

Also, many bursaries are bond-free. What about including a bond and internship period, just like for scholarships, to allow the recipients to experience a broader education and job security upon graduation, further improving social mobility?

That way, greater socio-economic diversity would be introduced into the civil service without changing the original objective of scholarships - to seek out and attract the brightest students.

Lee Chee Yann

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