Indigenous students deserve help, says university college

Rebecca Alex (left) and Jane Lynette Joannes with their diplomas at the Tunku Abdul Rahman University College convocation in Kota Kinabalu.

KOTA KINABALU: For two Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC) graduates, their diplomas may not have been possible if not for the generosity of the institution and the faith it put in them.

Both Jane Lynette Joannes and Rebecca Alex were recipients of the college’s special bursary for the needy and deserving indigenous students from schools in the interior divisions of Sabah.

The bursary covered tuition fees for the duration of their studies.

Jane, who obtained a diploma in information system engineering, said she is planning to further her studies in the same field at TAR UC in Kuala Lumpur.

“I was fortunate because I come from a moderate-income family. My father works as an IT technician while my mother works in a salon and our household income is only about RM2,000 to support our family of six.

“Without the bursary, it would have been difficult for students like me to further our studies,” she told FMT.

Rebecca, who obtained a diploma in hotel management, has found a job in a hotel here.

Pamela Yong.

The eldest of six siblings, she said it was her responsibility to help out since her father, a driver in Singapore, is the sole breadwinner of the family.

However, she does not discount the possibility of continuing her studies in the future.

The chairman of the select committee for the bursaries, Pamela Yong, said the college has offered the incentive to eligible students for the past three years.

However, she said only 17 students have qualified for the bursaries.

This is because of their fear for English, their low confidence and concerns about the cost of living.

Yong said the college carries out a six-month intensive English course for those who are weak in the language and also arranges foster family programmes for indigenous students from the interior.

Ryan Izzat Razali, who obtained a diploma in business management at the age of 16.

“We work with the churches to find the best accommodation for our students. The bursaries are there for the taking but very few are applying,” she said.

She said the programmes will continue as there are many indigenous students from the interior who are talented but poor.

“Many of them go to rural schools and manage to get good results despite their poor background. They will definitely do better if given the scholarship and the best education,” she said.

A the same convocation ceremony, the college conferred a diploma in science (Information System Engineering) to 16-year-old Ryan Izzat Razali, its youngest student ever.

Ryan, who started his college education at 14, was home-schooled by his father, Razali Koroh, a former teacher, and passed his Cambridge A-level in Economics and Business Studies at the age of 12.

“He is in the top two in his class and has been offered a full scholarship to further his studies at TAR UC in Kuala Lumpur,” said Razali.

Ryan will be studying for a degree in Information Technology in Software Systems Development.