KUCHING: Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg has launched a new initiative called the BP40 Bursary Scheme.
It is aimed at encouraging Bumiputera students to study at three private universities under Yayasan Sarawak, namely, Swinburne University in Kuching, Curtin University in Miri, and Sarawak Technology University in Sibu, with the expectation that eligible Sarawakian Bumiputera students will be interested not just to continue their studies in Sarawak, but also see more Bumiputera enrollment in the three private universities.
The scheme, particularly for the B40 and M40 students, will see them being charged a subsidised fee that is less than the reduced rate set by these three private universities and it is meant for courses offered at the foundation, diploma or degree level.
The subsidised tuition prices are comparable to those of public universities (IPTA) and the government will cover the balance.
This is expected to reduce the financial burden of parents, particularly those in the B40 and M40 income brackets.
Furthermore, BP40 Bursary recipients are still eligible for education loans if they meet the requirements and need to cover the remaining fees.
The Sarawak government only provides each university with a small quota of 100 Bumiputera students per year in the hope that the percentage of Sarawak Bumiputera students will increase from 13.79 per cent to 20 per cent.
Even after few years of launching the initiative, from 2019 to the present, enrolment among Bumiputeras in the three universities remains below the 20 per cent mark, which is at 18.43 percent.
Yayasan Sarawak is now pushing more Bumiputera students to catch up with the non-Bumiputera students who dominate the three private universities not only in terms of student enrolment but also the volume of financial assistance already received by those enrolled in these universities, both Bumi and non-Bumi Sarawakian students.