2018 Budget: Educators, students seek education boost


KUANTAN: Educationists from institutions of higher learning are hoping for more allocation to research grants to boost research and development (R&D) in the 2018 Budget which will be tabled on Friday.

Dr Siti Fazelah Mohd Noor, a resident here who lectures at a public university at Batu Pahat, Johor, hoped next year’s budget would be able to address the 30 per cent research funding reduction.

She said the reduction had seen many lecturers failing to achieve their key performance indicators (KPI) which requires them to complete two research papers annually.

“Previously, we could receive up to RM50,000 in grants to conduct research over a three-year period, but now we barely get RM40,000.

“The publication of a single journal already cost us between RM1,000 to RM5,000,” said the 46-year-old.

As for Lisa Juanita, a lecturer of a public college here, she hopes the government would encourage educators to produce research papers by making allocation for non-financial benefits like study leaves to complete their research papers.

“We (lecturers) are aware of the cutbacks made by the government for lecturers to further their studies and in completing research papers.

“(Via Budget 2018) The government could instead grant us more paid leaves (for study purposes) in a year,” said the 34-year-old.

She said the drawback of the overall allocation trimming not only affected lecturers and students but also the institution of higher learning itself.

“It could be seen that a lot of the college facilities and maintenance are disrupted due to the insufficient funds,” she said.

In Budget 2017 which was unveiled late last year, it was announced that RM100 million would be allocated towards R&D and publications for institutions of higher learning.

Meanwhile, college student Rumaisak Amirruddin, 22, hoped the government, would not only continue with 1Malaysia Tertiary Student Discount Card (KADS1M) but also increase it to RM300 from the existing RM250.

“Being in this field (pharmacy studies), most of my handbooks cost me a lot. What more reference books and additional notes.

“I am grateful for the current funding allocated by the Prime Minister for students. However, it would be better if the amount (for KADS1M) be increased to at least RM300,” she said.

College student Nur Syakirin Roslan, 22, who is studying International Relations, echoed the same sentiment on KADS1M, saying that such allocation would allow not only the purchase of reference books but also other non-book study materials.

“Previously (via 1Malaysia Book Vouchers or BB1M), I have friends from art and technical courses who complained about the book voucher given as they could not buy materials related to their field of studies such as brushes and canvases (for art courses),” she said.

She explained that with KADS1M, students not only could afford buy a wider range of study materials, whether books or non-books, but also enjoy other benefits not directly related to studies such as getting discounts at food outlets.

She said that even if the debit cards (KADS1M) is empty and not reloaded, students could still get discounts when paying for food at outlets by showing the said cards.

In Budget 2017 unveiled last year, the government had allocated RM1 million for KADS1M cards which allows them to purchase books, computers accessories or internet access, among others.