Most scholarships are awarded based on what the assessors make of the candidate at a particular point in time, encompassing a brief one- to two-hour interview, psychometric test, essay test and an evaluation of academic and co-curricular achievements ("Ensure scholarship holders are made of sterner stuff" by Mr Heng Cho Choon, Wednesday and "No foolproof method to awarding scholarships" by Mr Ling Ming Hui, Thursday).
None of these will eventually point to a reliable and valid projected possibility of how anyone would turn out in the future, regardless of how rigorous the selection process is.
There is no need for a more stringent selection process, if such a process is even available.
As it is, many scholarship providers are already looking beyond the typical academic achievements, and looking towards other attributes, such as maturity, empathy and traits that resonate with the organisational vision and mission.
Perhaps what is lacking is proper and regular communication between the scholarship provider and the scholarship recipient, other than the usual e-mail correspondence regarding disbursement of allowance and the release of examination results.
Just as scholarship holders are accountable to taxpayers who support their academic endeavours, scholarship providers should also play a bigger part in ensuring that their scholarship recipients are coping well, despite the stress of being in school and having to meet the criteria set out in the scholarship agreement.
Perhaps such emotional support could have huge uplifting effects for many scholarship holders, especially those who are young and studying abroad without the company of family and friends.
This article was first published on April 11, 2015.
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