MRSM and residential schools should serve original purpose

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 23 — The original objective of setting up fully residential schools  (SBP) and the Mara Junior Science College (MRSM) in helping those from the low-income group must be maintained and should not be for those who are well off.

The  selection of students into such schools should not be based on a student’s academic excellence alone, but consideration should also be given to the family income and background.

President of the National Parent-Teacher Associations Consultative Council (PIBGN) Associate Professor Datuk Dr Mohamad Ali Hassan said the government’s move to increase the entry quota of up to 60 per cent for SBP and 65 per cent for MRSM for B40 students from next year, was an outcome he welcomed.

He added that the intake of students into both such schools must follow the quotas that have been set, he added.

Mohamad Ali said  the move was also in line with the new government’s policy to continue helping the less fortunate so that they obtained quality education facilities.

The quota system for  B40 students had become a sensitive issue with many parents who had hoped that their children would be enrolled in the SBP or MRSM based on merit.

However, the Education Ministry and Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) had expressed its commitment in seeking more opportunities for students from low-income families with Rural Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Harun herself insisting that she did not want MRSM to be monopolised by “elite” students which would disrupt opportunities for the B40 students.

On Friday, when the SBP and MRSM schools announced the list of students who were being admitted into Form One next year, social media was abuzz with comments from parents, especially those whose children’s names did not appear on the list.           

They had claimed that their children had obtained 6As in the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) and were also actively involved in co-curricular activities but were not in the list because they were in the M40 (middle income )and T-20 (high income) groups. 

They added that friends of their children who only had 1A had been accepted as they were from the B40 group.

Meanwhile  Professor Emeritus of the Faculty of Education, University of Malaya Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Isahak Haron also wanted the government to tighten its intake requirements into SBP and MRSM so that priority was given to the B40 group.           

“This should be done to narrow the gap between the students. With the quota system, excellent students from various backgrounds could enjoy quality education,” he said. — Bernama   

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