KUALA LUMPUR: The decision by the government to increase enrolment of B40 children in fully residential schools (SBP) and Mara Junior Science Colleges (MRSM) is crucial to restore the original objective of the elite schools.
These schools were set up with the main objective of helping the rural folks, but over the years, they have become the choice schools for children of the rich and “affordable” families.
Realising this, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government decided to restore the original objective in the establishment of these schools, albeit not a popular decision.
As such, the selection of students to these schools this year saw nearly 70 per cent of those offered places at MRSM are from the B40 families, and about 52 per cent for SBP schools, which are under the Education Ministry.
Chairman of the Parent Action Group Of Education (PAGE), Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim, lauded the government for deciding to restore the original objective of SBP and MRSM.
“The main objective of SBP and MRSM is for these (B40) children, there are not for the rich,” she told Bernama.
The B40 or ‘bottom40’ group refers to households with monthly income of not more than RM3,860.
Meanwhile, MRSM EX-Students Association (Ansara) vice-president Azealea Dzulkefflee said among the impact from the enrolment of B40 children in MRSM is the opportunity for them to change their life and that of their family because of the high quality education provided at the college.
She said Ansara, through its Human Capital Bureau, is intensifying its outreach programme to assist the government by identifying eligible students from the B40 group to study at MRSM.
“We are working hard, including going to the interior areas in Sabah and Sarawak to track down the eligible students because their families or parents might not know of the opportunity for them to send their children to study at MRSM,” she added.
She said the children, upon finishing their studies at MRSM, would also stand a better chance of pursuing their studies at the institutions of higher learning and become quality human capital.
However, Noor Azimah and Azealea said the government should look into the high cost at SBP and MRSM, which is a burden for the B40 families.
“Some of the children are forced to reject the offer because their parents cannot afford the cost and fees, although it is only RM1,500 a year,” said Noor Azimah.
As such, she said, the government should come up with the best mechanism to help such parents so that their children would not miss the opportunity of getting quality education at either SBP or MRSM.