Plantation firm provides Rp 4.6b in scholarships
It was a happy event when 55 Indonesian university students received their scholarships worth a total of Rp 4.6 billion provided by palm oil producer PT Minamas Gemilang on Dec. 5.
The scholarships were presented by Tun Musa Hitam, chairman of the world’s largest publicly-listed palm oil producer Sime Darby and president commissioner of Minamas, Sime Darby’s fully-owned subsidiary.
Also present at the ceremony were the recipients’ parents and deans from various faculties at the University of Indonesia (UI), Gadjah Mada University (UGM) and Bogor Institute of Agriculture.
“Through this scholarship program, we hope that more Indonesians will have the opportunity to improve their skills and capabilities while being groomed to become leaders for both Sime Darby and Indonesia in years to come,” Musa said in his speech to the recipients.
The students, currently pursuing their diploma and undergraduate degrees, were chosen based on their academic achievements as well as a selection process which included tests conducted by their respective universities, psychometric tests, English proficiency tests and leadership competency assessments.
The recipients are divided into two groups. The first group consists of 20 recipients who were awarded a total of Rp 610 million to study forestry management, business management and accounting, law, biology, microbiology and agronomy at UI, UGM and IPB. In the second group, Rp 3.99 billion scholarships were granted in cooperation with IPB to 35 students of which 14 students are children of Minamas’ employees and another 21 students are those living in and around estates operated by the wholly-owned subsidiary of Sime Darby Bhd.
Five of the 35 students in the second group are currently pursuing degrees majoring in business management, agronomy and horticulture, land resource management and biology under the Regional Representatives Scholarships (BUD) program. Students in this program will return to their respective regions and serve their local communities.
The remaining 30 students have selected to study at various three-year Diploma 3 programs including production technology and plantation management. They will be equipped with the technical and practical skills in managing plantation crops and other relevant plantation technology.
The students will then be exposed to Minamas’ operations through a six-month compulsory attachment program at various estates during their three-year studies.
“The students are also required to serve for a bond service between three to five years according to the time spent,” Musa said.
“It is a good arrangement as the students are guaranteed employment after graduation.”
He said the Minamas-Sime Darby Scholarship Program provided full tuition fees, living expenses and a book allowance.
“The scholarship also provides the students with laptops as you cannot go to college without one these days,” he said. “We even also provide an allowance when the students are writing their final papers.”
While the fund is provided by Minamas, the administration is conducted by the Sime Darby Foundation which has the expertise from conducting similar programs in Malaysia. The foundation CEO, Yatela Zainal Abidin, said the scholarships had also been offered in the past to students from other universities such as Riau University, Bandung Institute of Technology, and the 10 Nopember Institute of Technology.
“We are trying to include more universities in the future,” she said. “For 2012, the number of recipients will be increased to 60 students.”
Interested students can find more information at http://www.yayasansimedarby.com/1011090432%C2%BBScholarships_for_Indonesia.aspx