By Chew Lip Song
STUDENTS at public institutes of higher learning will be given discounts of up to 15 per cent for their hostel, administrative and activity fees to ease their sponsors’ financial burden due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad said the discount is applicable for those in their second semester of their 2019/2020 academic session.
She added that her Ministry had discussed with the matter with the Finance Ministry receiving feedback from students, parents and relevant stakeholders, The Star reported.
“From the discussion, the government has agreed to reduce the rate of the hostel, administrative and activity fees in public universities by up to 15%.
“This was done after taking into account the financial capabilities of the government and public universities,” she said in Parliament today. She was replying to Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin (PH-Hang Tuah Jaya).
Shamsul had asked the Ministry if there were plans to help reduce the burden of students at public higher learning institutions since many have not physically attended classes due to Covid-19.
Noraini said the reduction of fees involves a total allocation of RM72mil, and from that RM20mil will be channelled from the Finance Ministry.
The remaining RM52mil will be from internal allocations of the public universities derived from the savings during the movement control order (MCO) period.
“Some 523,318 students in public universities nationwide are expected to benefit from this decision,” said Noraini.
Noraini said the Ministry is also aware on the challenges of online learning methods due to Covid-19.
Among the challenges, she said, included limited Internet access and wifi coverage, high data cost and some students who don’t have laptops or smartphones.
Realising this, the government has asked public universities to help students by sending the relevant materials via post so that they won’t be left behind in their syllabus.