The Student Exchange Scholarship Programme is one of the earliest initiatives in the history of the Sarawak Foundation establishment.
This programme aims to create national integration between Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak and Sabah. The scheme involves a sponsorship as well as sending outstanding Form 1 and Form 4 to:
• Full Boarding Schools/High Performance Schools as well as Kolej GENIUS@Pintar Negara, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) in Peninsular Malaysia.
• Selected schools in Sarawak for Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia students.
• Selected schools in Sabah and Federal Territory of Labuan for Sarawak students under the sponsorship of Yayasan Sabah.
The programme was first introduced in 1972 with the sending of a group of students from Sarawak for admission to Form One selected secondary schools in Peninsular Malaysia.
At that time, the selection was among the primary school students who obtained excellent Year 6 examination results to be sponsored. The sponsorship provided by Sarawak Foundation was in the form of fees, books, stationeries and pocket money, including school uniform clothes, compulsory clothes and round trip flight tickets every year.
Besides that, the Sarawak Foundation (SF) also sponsors students from Sabah who are selected to further their studies in Sarawak. On the other hand, for Sarawak students who are selected to enter selected schools in Sabah and the Federal Territory of Labuan, their sponsorship is under the responsibility of Yayasan Sabah.
The implementation of this programme is to foster cultural understanding between communities of different races and religions from various parts of the country. It is also in line with the efforts of the Education Ministry to coordinate the national education system in terms of development, formation of national identity and national unity at the time.
In addition, it can also foster cultural understanding as well as gain a deeper perspective of foreign cultures.
The academic achievement of the students is also very commendable. Citing a report in the Sarawak Vanguard newspaper dated Sep 15, 1974, the then Director of Sarawak Foundation, the late Datuk Amar Abang Yusuf Puteh, said, “We have just received the results of the term examination for this year. At Sekolah Menengah Jitra, Kedah we have 20 students who are studying in Form 3. The examination results have shown that our sponsored students have ranked first to eleventh among all 241 students in the school. This is an excellent record.”
He also referred to the outstanding achievement of another student, Valentine Khoo, at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Mersing, Johor who had been ranked first in her class for two years in a row.
After almost 50 years of programme implementation, SF is proud to have succeeded in producing many famous figures through this initiative.
Among the figures in question are Senior Minister of Works Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusuf; Assistant Minister of Corporate Affairs and Public Communication Unit Abdullah Saidol; Assistant Minister of Islamic Affairs and Kuching North City Commission Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi; physician at Columbia Asia Hospital, Miri Datuk Dr Phillip Raja; founder and general manager of Konsortium Bumi Consultant and Services Group Datuk Ir Janang Bungsu; Permanent Secretary to Ministry of Urban Development and Natural Resources Datuk Sr Zaidi Mahdi, and Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research Kameri Affandi.
Indirectly, the programme is also one of the main reasons for SF to set up a branch office in Kuala Lumpur specifically to take care of the Sarawakian students’ affairs.
This branch office has served as a “second home” for students, because usually the Program Perkampungan Pelajar will be held there during school holidays, thus providing the students with opportunity to strengthen friendships and camaraderie amongst themselves considering they study in different parts of Peninsular Malaysia.
This can also help towards the efforts to improve identity building among young people and they will be given the opportunity to interact with their peers.
Through this programme, SF has proven to have made a significant contribution in the education field since its establishment in the early 1970s.
To quote Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi, “I am one of the students selected in the student exchange programme. The Sarawak Foundation has carried on with the continuity from long ago to elevate the field of education in Sarawak.”
He said this when officiating at the Majlis Penyampaian Hadiah Pelajar Cemerlang Yayasan Sarawak on Oct 26, 2019.
Those who are interested in this programme can browse the Sarawak Foundation website at https://yayasansarawak.org.my/my/program-dan-bantuan/alamat.
In accordance with current developments, the requirements needed to apply for this programme are as follows.
• Students who have been accepted into a Fully Boarding School/High Performance School/Kolej GENIUS@Pintar Negara, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).
• Students who have sat for public examination in government or government-aided schools in Sarawak.
• Students who obtained excellent results in UPSR or PT3.
• Students from Sabah are to be selected by Yayasan Sabah.
• Priority will be given to children from needy families.
In conjunction with the celebration of its 50th anniversary, SF will launch its Hall of Fame which will display the outstanding achievements of its former sponsored students.
This Hall of Fame listing will also include the achievements of former students who have participated in the Student Exchange Scholarship Programme.
As such, SF is inviting all alumni of the Student Exchange Scholarship Programme to contact them at 082-441686 or sent an email to email@example.com for further information.