Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Universities have mechanism to help needy students

Students faced with financial woes can seek the assistance of the student affairs department and the alumni of their respective universities.

Secretariat of deputy vice-chancellors (student affairs and alumni) of public universities chairman Prof Datuk Dr Adnan Hussein  said the universities have a mechanism to help needy students.

“The aid can be given through zakat, welfare fund, free food programme run by students’ representative council or donations from university staff,” he said in a statement here.

He regretted media reports that “sensationalised” the issue of hungry students without getting the full picture.

“We are worried some quarters will play up the issue for other purposes. The reports have given rise to negative perceptions that university administrations are unable to handle student welfare matters.

“They also tarnish the dignity of students," he said questioning the accuracy of the survey done by a non-governmental organisation on
the financial crunch faced by students.

On Saturday, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said universities were encouraged to have food aid programmes to help needy students.

Idris was responding to a report in The Star that the rise in the cost of living had affected more students and it was a serious problem now.

It had reached a point where more student bodies had to help them get regular meals. And the number of such needy students was growing.

Many student bodies report cases where students could only afford RM1.50 a day for food. In some instances, there were students who fainted from skipping meals.

A recent survey by the Muslim Volunteer Malaysia Association on some 26,000 students in six public universities also revealed shocking facts.

More than half of the respondents said they could set aside only RM5 a day for meals while many were living on instant noodles or ate only plain rice with one fried egg and soy sauce.

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