KUALA LUMPUR 08 05 2008 : The government will not scrap the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) scheme even though there are more than 500,000 loan defaulters owing it an estimated RM700 million.
Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Idris Haron said the scheme was introduced to help those who wanted to pursue higher education, but faced financial difficulties.
“Many students have reaped the benefits of getting a formal education and have been gainfully employed,” said Idris.
However, he said the loan defaulters were jeopardising that arrangement.
“Borrowers should do the right thing and be responsible.
“Once they get a job and earn an income, they should repay the loan,” he said, adding that the minimum amount was RM70 and instalments could be arranged for up to 20 years.
“Put it this way: it is as if we are borrowing money owned by the future generation.
“So, if defaulters do not repay the loan, the next generation will be robbed of having the privilege of an education.”
Since the corporation’s inception in 1997, PTPTN has disbursed RM1.5 billion to some 1.1 million borrowers.
Idris said this yesterday after the launch of the Open University Malaysia’s (OUM) e-content and alumni portal by its chancellor, Datin Paduka Seri Jeanne Abdullah.
In her speech, Jeanne said the project signified the institution’s commitment towards quality education by providing interactive aids to supplement printed modules.
“I am heartened by this initiative, and believe this will enhance student experiences and make learning fun and engaging.”
In his welcoming remarks, vice-chancellor Professor Tan Sri Anwar Ali said the university had achieved a lot in the seven years of its existence.
“The supplementary modules provide learners with value-added education, besides being flexible and offering greater freedom in the learning process,” he said.
OUM offers 51 programmes and has 60 learning centres, including in Bahrain and Yemen.