Curtin Malaysia students benefit from Curtin Cares initiative for Covid-19 support

Miri – 7 July 2020 – Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia), the largest international campus of Curtin University situated in Miri, Sarawak, recently announced that over 100 of its students have received financial assistance to the tune of about RM335,000 to weather the ongoing COVID-19 crisis through Curtin University’s Curtin Cares campaign.

The fundraising initiative, launched in May and due to wrap up soon, has provided much-needed assistance to core sections of the community in Western Australia and in countries where Curtin University operates, such as students, healthcare practitioners and teachers, who are experiencing hardship or require much-needed resources during these challenging times.

Curtin Malaysia Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Simon Leunig said the Curtin Cares campaign builds on Curtin’s existing commitment to student support measures to help those in need through the crisis and assist them in preparing for the future.

Through Curtin Cares, the University has invited donors, both large and small, to partner with it in delivering aid to the three core groups. The donors have included a significant number of staff who saw the need to help those in the Curtin community, particularly students, who have fallen on hard times due to the pandemic.

In Malaysia, the campaign has largely benefitted students of Curtin Malaysia who have been struggling to make ends meet. Students who applied for assistance received anywhere from RM700 to RM4,500 according to their needs. In total, about 2,000 students across all the Curtin campuses in Western Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai and Mauritius have received assistance.

According to Professor Leunig, the University needs to ensure students at its campuses continue learning without the spectre of financial stress and hardship; nurses (in Western Australia) can benefit from specialised educational resources and training provided by Curtin University as they battle on the frontlines of the pandemic; and teachers get support to help them quickly become experts in ‘blended learning’ techniques that bring online and face-to-face methods together.

Curtin Cares is a true reflection of our University’s ethos, values and the legacy of its namesake, former Australian Prime Minister John Curtin. In 1932, he said that a university ‘should find its heroes in the present; its hopes in the future’. His words ring truer than ever in this time of hardship. Through Curtin Cares, we hope to not only deliver support for those in need right now, but to empower, enable and inspire them for the future,” said Professor Leunig.

 On the Curtin Malaysia students who were supported, Professor Leunig said it is fortunate that the campaign was extended to Curtin’s offshore campuses as many students, both domestic and international, were finding it hard dealing with changed financial circumstances all of a sudden.

“We were pleased to be able to extend hardship bursaries to more than 100 students whose families have lost their usual sources of income or exhausted their meagre savings. Being a student is stressful enough without having to worry about getting through each day, but many were coming to us, reluctantly but out of necessity, asking for a hardship bursary from the University.”

Professor Leunig said the wellbeing of its students has been the top priority of Curtin Malaysia since the outbreak of the pandemic, from ensuring that effective student learning continued in online mode, and essential services on campus, including health and counselling services, continued to operate for those stranded by the Movement Control Order (MCO).

 He related how, when the crisis was at its height, university staff worked closely with the Ministry of Higher Education to ensure the students were adequately fed, and that all Malaysian students received their automatic one-off cash entitlements from the government. When restrictions on student movement were lifted, efforts were made to help students get home safely.

The latest form of assistance is a special 10 per cent discount on course fees for students re-enrolling for the second semester this year, which will lessen the financial burden on many students and their parents. It is applicable to both self-funded domestic and international students and students holding approved government study loans and partial scholarships.

“We appreciate that our students care enough about their education to make significant sacrifices to obtain a university degree, and we’re honoured to have them. We will continue to support them the best we can in these difficult times, enabling them to weather COVID-19, complete their courses, and join the workforce as tomorrow’s graduates,” Professor Leunig concluded.

Curtin University shows care for students through its Curtin Cares campaign.