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The True Purpose Of Scholarship

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Let me disabuse all scholarship holders, past and present, of the notion that they are special people who in some way deserve to be provided with an expensive free education in ­prestigious foreign universities.

A scholarship programme is not about the recipients, their careers, their earnings or their ever-changing interests; it is about the maximisation of our national intellectual capital for the benefit of society.

Scholarship holders are very fortunate people who were given ­financial support by their fellow citizens to further their studies, in view of their desire, commitment and potential capability to serve as leaders in specific fields, either in public service or in the private sector.

Scholarships are awarded because there has been a meeting of minds and a common purpose between the recipients and society.

Those who harbour grandiose illusions about their own talents and a matching false sense of entitlement should never apply for a scholarship. Those who treat scholarships solely as opportunities to secure fame, prestige and an easy road to self-serving ends should abstain, lest they waste everybody’s time.

Those who, at the end of their studies, did a cost-benefit analysis of bond-breaking should ask for moral guidance.

Not keeping their end of the bargain after successfully completing their studies is not merely a breakdown of a transaction between the scholarship holder and the Government, but also a grave affront to the trust, honour and respect that we normally reserve for recipients who served our society humbly and dutifully.