The Sime Darby Foundation (SDF), or Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) is commencing its international scholarship programme in Liberia with scholarships worth USD$420,000 being offered to Liberians to pursue tertiary education in Liberia and Malaysia this year.
The foundation, which is the philanthropic arm of the Sime Darby Group plans to award scholarships annually to Liberians.
The 20 excellence scholarships offered this year will include five scholarships to outstanding Liberian freshmen at selected universities to pursue undergraduate studies at top universities in Malaysia for four years in the fields of civil or mechanical engineering.
Another 15 scholarships will be awarded to Liberians to pursue undergraduate studies at selected universities in Liberia including the Uuniversity of Liberia, Cuttington University and Stella Maris Polytechnic in the fields of agriculture and engineering.
The scholarship programme in Liberia is part of Sime Darby’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative in countries where Sime Darby operates.
Those awarded scholarships are also guaranteed full employment with SDPL after they have satisfactorily completed their studies.
The full scholarship programme will cover tuition fees, living expenses and books. For the 5 scholars to be sent to study engineering at Malaysia’s top University, laptop allowances will also be provided.
The foundation will work very closely with SDPL for the administration of the scholarship programme, with the full support of the Ministry of Education Liberia.
Liberian Education Minister Etmonia David Tarpeh who welcomed the foundation's gesture, expressed hope that young Liberians would be encouraged to take on the scholarship opportunity and stressed that higher education was one of the major needs in the country.
"We hope their families will do everything to encourage them. What they do at this initial stage of the scholarship will have an impact on whether the scholarships will be continued for other children to benefit.”
"On our part, we will encourage them to be upfront with accurate information. Otherwise, if they are not qualified, they will not be able to cope. It will be our role to encourage them to live up to the expectations and I believe if they are actually committed, they can do it," she said during a courtesy call by SDF Chief Executive Officer Yatela Zainal Abidin at her office.
SDF will also extend other educational benefits to the scholarship recipients including scholars’ development programmes prior to joining Sime Darby's workforce, internships with continuous personal support of the scholars' welfare and academic performance during the tenure of scholarships.
Candidates will be chosen based on their academic results and a selection process will include psychometric tests, leadership competency assessments and interviews.
The fields of study under the scholarships will include agriculture-related studies, civil and mechanical engineering as these courses are relevant to Sime Darby’s core businesses.
Upon completion of their studies, scholarship recipients may be required to serve Sime Darby operations in Liberia between two to four years depending on the value of the award.
The annual scholarship programme aims to: Ø Nurture young talents in countries where Sime Darby operates through SDF’s scholarships whilst fulfilling Sime Darby’s workforce requirements. Ø Ø Strengthen ties between Malaysia and Liberia, in line with Sime Darby’s growing business presence in Liberia. Ø Ø Enforce Sime Darby’s commitment in Liberia not only in its business investments but honing Liberia’s human talent pool as part of its corporate social responsibility. Ø Ø Promote educational assistance for Liberians which will in turn provide strategic opportunities for both SDF and Sime Darby to increase global presence whilst maintaining a good rapport and interaction with existing and prospective key stakeholders in Liberia. Ø The foundation, through SDPL, will be hosting a scholarship recruitment drive and expects to complete the selection process by the end of September 2012. Preference will be given to those from needy families and those who live in counties where SDPL operates. Qualified women applicants are also encouraged to apply.
Applications for the undergraduate studies in Liberian universities are welcomed from high school graduates with achievement of Division I or in the 2011 or 2012 West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) with above average performance in their high school transcripts.