SEPANG: Norsyakinah Jam, 27, from Tapah, Perak, is set to make history as she will be among the few Orang Asli to pursue her doctorate at Glasgow Caledonian University in the United Kingdom this year. T

he former lecturer, who is from the Semai tribe, is also the only Orang Asli to pursue her studies in Islamic Banking at a higher level.

She is one of 18 Orang Asli chosen to be part of the Department of Orang Asli Development Malaysia (Jakoa) Overseas Degree programme 2016, who flew off to the UK yesterday.

“I feel honoured and happy to have been chosen for this programme. I am deeply honoured to represent the Orang Asli, especially in promoting higher education.

“Islamic banking is part of my passion and I feel this is the right time to purse the field, as it is expanding rapidly,” she said at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), here.

Norsyakinah was a lecturer at DRB-HICOM University of Automotive Malaysia teaching Islamic banking before embarking on her PhD studies. Chai Mei Ling, 22 from Bera, Pahang, who will study petroleum engineering, is another example of excellence.

Chai, whose father is from the Jakun tribe, and is part Semelai on her mother’s side, has wanted to study overseas since she was 16.

“I did my diploma in chemical engineering and obtained a 3.7 cumulative grade point average. I will be pursuing my degree for two years, after transferring my credits from Universiti Malaysia Pahang.

“This is a great opportunity for me to push myself and achieve greater success,” she said.

Jakoa director-general Mohd Jamalludin Kasbi said 54 Orang Asli kids had successfully completed the programme since it was introduced in 2012.

He said the programme, which was a collaboration with Mara, was part of the department’s key performance index.

Six students left for the UK yesterday, including one PhD student, three Masters students and two degree students, he said.

“These students represent the ability and achievements of the Orang Asli.

“Our target for this year was 15 students, but we are sending 18 students. Two have already left on July 17. We will be sending the remaining students to India, the United States and South Korea,” he said.

Jamalludin said the programme helped showcase the determination and capabilities of Orang Asli in competing with other students to achieve success in education.

Source: NST Online

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