PETALING JAYA: An education group has called for a more “diverse, equitable and inclusive” quota system instead of the race-based approach in higher education institutions.
The Higher Education Malaysia Association (Heya) said the quota system should ensure a balanced composition of students in higher education institutions, and proposed that the system take into account three factors rather than race and ethnicity.
The first factor is “economic capital”, allowing students from low-income households to benefit and ensure education equity is upheld for less financially capable communities.
Secondly, “social capital” should be considered, factoring in the digital divide and lower access to educational material of students from less developed or rural areas.
“This is to ensure we leverage the competitive field for students who face huge geographical challenges, especially students from Sabah and Sarawak as well as the Orang Asli community in the peninsula,” the association said in a statement.
It said the third factor to be considered is “cultural capital”, whereby students from a single-parent household, orphans or those with a disability or impairment should be given priority.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said the quota system for Bumiputera students in education has to be maintained.
He stressed that the government must also find ways to help non-Bumiputera students who excel in their studies.
Heya said it disagreed with Anwar’s remark that the race-based quota system should be maintained as it no longer reflected the “social reality” in the country.
“We call on the prime minister and higher education ministry to incorporate the three factors in formulating the quota system rather than utilising the narrow racial ethnic quota system, which will only widen the education inequality gap, to help the underprivileged community,” it said.