The only reason Malaysians should stop sending their students overseas would be to stop them from returning and ending up like Rafizi Ramli, who is shooting his own foot in trying to be heard.
A foreign graduate who is riding on his foreign degree and education to get to where he is and to be noticed, Pandan MP and PKR secretary general has arrogantly said that there is no need to send students overseas for first degree and that they could be just as well educated in Malaysian public universities.
He gave the reasons of cutting costs, enriching the public universities and the simplistic idea of Malaysians only mixing with Malaysians on foreign land. Worse of all, he had the gall to say this to students at a PKR’s National Students’ Congress.
What kind of costs would you exactly be cutting when you stop sending Malaysian students overseas? Rafizi himself said that it costs between RM2 to RM3 billion annually to send less than 10,000 students overseas.
So, to save that couple of billions, we stop our brightest sparks from getting the best of education and exposure, and put them in our public universities, where we have yet to get the system of education act together?
What is a couple of billions when our national budget is RM267 billion this year alone? Is Rafizi wanting to save the government pennies?
While Rafizi may spout that politicians like Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim were local graduates and are smart (as Rafizi is a politician), it must be borne in mind, that they are the exception. What we are talking about is the intellectual and intelligence potential which can be harnessed when you send our brightest to good universities overseas.
In a global world, Malaysia would be far behind if we were to rely completely on our own education system to produce the best of professionals and greatest minds and thinkers.
If we think that we are being patriotic by keeping all our bright ones at home on local turf, then we are not thinking of our nation on the whole and in the long run, it will be like trying to churn new butter with old milk.
We need both our foreign educated graduates and local educated graduates to make Malaysia better.
One of the best ways for Malaysia to continue on its path to be a First World country, would be to send its creme de la creme to world listed universities.
It is not saying our public universities are bad, but one must accept the fact that we have yet to make it to good rankings for our universities, even the best and oldest in the country which takes in the best of our students, University of Malaya, is only ranked at 146 in the world.
Those who cannot make it overseas to world listed universities make do with taking the degree locally. Going overseas, although some may say is passe, is not only about getting the degree, but about getting exposed, getting inseminated with the best of ideas, opening the minds and seeing the world and returning to make use of that experience to better the country.
Agreed, not that everyone would be a success in foreign universities, but most who do have been and they are thankful they have been given the experience.
Rafizi has said the exception should be to those who get top world ranking universities, but is the world run by the graduates from these universities alone?
Obviously, Rafizi is being very selfish, when he has allowed himself the experience and now wants to stop the future generation from seeking the same, and he is not even in power yet. One shivers thinking if Rafizi ever comes to power and becomes the Minister of Education.
He also said that he would have done as well if he had attended UTM here and not the University of Leeds, UK.
Why did you not, then? Why did you go to University of Leeds, then? No one forces anyone to take up the government scholarship – for if you had, maybe we would have a more grateful graduate who thanks the government for having given him that chance which he could not afford on his own.
Rafizi also said that those who go overseas may even think twice to speak to the white people, in the end they discuss things among (fellow Malaysians) and their capacity to contribute is limited.
“If they are placed in local universities, they can assist in enriching a much better higher education system,” says Rafizi.
How, one wonders is the logic of Rafizi’s thinking that if they huddle together there, they would not huddle together here?
And what enrichment is he talking about?
Our standard of the English Language among our graduates is atrocious and this has been cited as one of the main reasons our local graduates are not able to get employed. So, by Rafizi’s logic, we take those who are afraid to speak to “white people” (as Rafizi said) and then we hope they will be able to better themselves and enrich the universities here?
Perhaps Rafizi has also forgotten the quota system that we practise in public universities and if we were to scrap the scholarships to foreign universities, how do we work that on the quota system?
We have a very big number of Malay students who get government scholarships to foreign universities and if they were not sent overseas, they would take up the quota of the less smarter students, and where would these less smarter Malay students students go to?
Or is Rafizi suggesting we increase the Malay quota here and lessen the non-Malay quota?
He also said that “Some people sell cows and can be richer. The culture of (thinking that) not enrolling in university means that one is stupid, must be changed.
“Universities, society leaders have to communicate this. Parents have to understand that universities are a place where you go and learn knowledge, not to make money, not to become Donald Trump,” he said.
In saying that, Rafizi does sound like Donald Trump now – only that he sounds like a Donald Trump without the billions.
What is needed is not to cut these foreign scholarships but to push the government to invest more in public universities and get their act on the system of education right.
So, Rafizi, the next time you open your mouth, use the brains that you have up there. Do not be arrogant and shoot out ideas which may be the downfall of this nation to be better. You need not moo for the mere sake of being heard.
The Heat Malaysia Online