As a former human resource practitioner, I can understand why some scholarship holders fail to complete their bonds ("A*Star scientist's protest over bond sparks outcry"; Wednesday).
Some students who return after completing their studies abroad expect to be highly regarded as "special" professionals whose skills and experience are not available here.
They want to experiment and put into practice what they have learnt during their overseas stints. They cannot wait to assume leadership roles, without considering the organisational structure of their employers.
When their expectations are not met, they lose interest and may want to break their bonds.
An unhealthy situation arises when they are unable to pay liquidated damages and have no choice but to serve out their bonds. Chances are, they would be frustrated, unmotivated and unhappy.
Organisations share part of the blame as some are insensitive to the needs and aspirations of these scholarship holders.
While it is true that a lot of support is given to scholarship recipients to further their studies, it will come to naught if they are deprived of opportunities to serve as leaders in their respective fields.
Perhaps important terms should be spelt out clearly before the bond agreement is signed, such as the purpose of the scholarship, the recipient's specific role on completion of his studies, how the organisation and the individual benefit, and so on.
The bond should be made in good faith, and unnecessary inconvenience can be avoided if both sides keep their end of the bargain.
Jeffrey Law Lee Beng
This article was first published on December 6, 2014.
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