Medical school now open for all

Since he was a child, Wahyu Permana had a big dream — to become a doctor. His dream was almost shattered when his parents’ businesses went bankrupt three years ago. They were unable to support his education soon after he graduated from SMA 1 high school in Singaraja in 2010. Becoming a doctor would require a lot of expensive education. Only students from rich families could afford to enroll in the medical faculty.

“I felt very sad but it was fortunate that I heard about the scholarship program provided by the Udayana University’s Medical School,” recalled Permana, now in his third year studying medicine. Permana applied for the scholarship and was glad to be accepted as one of the recipients. The scholarship, named after Prof. Ida Bagus Mantra, has been provided to high-achieving students from low-income families.

Normally, any student admitted to the medical school will be required to pay Rp 3.4 million (US$350) in tuition fees every semester and Rp 30 million as a development contribution in the first semester. Recipients of the scholarships receive Rp 2.4 million cash assistance every semester. “In the three years, I have only had to pay Rp 20,000 for health insurance per semester. But my GPA must be at least 3 out of 4,” he said.

Permana is one of dozens of students who receive scholarships. Ketut Suastika, dean of the university’s medical school, explained that the university had fully opened itself to students from low-income families enrolling in the medical school and other faculties. “There is a continuing image that the medical school is only dedicated to students from wealthy families as the cost of education in this school is very high compared to other faculties,” said Suastika, a medical professor at the university.

The scholarships, he explained, were made available from cross-subsidy funds, generated from students who undergo independent examinations, which required them to pay higher fees when passing the tests. “This is one of our efforts to maximize our limited funding to provide scholarships for talented and bright students who cannot afford a medical school education,” the dean maintained. It was relieving that the provincial administration would also provide support through additional scholarship programs for low-income students.

The provincial administration is to provide ten scholarships for medical students worth Rp 7 million per student per semester, plus Rp 3 million for monthly living costs for each recipient. “The government-sponsored scholarships will give more opportunity to clever students from under-privileged families to enroll in the medical school,” he said. It was expected that when graduating from medical school, all scholarship students would dedicate their professional lives to help provide healthcare services in remote regions across Bali.

source : bali daily

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