Its strategic plan will enhance the impact of long-term services to the community, while creating a stable and effective work environment
by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic by TMR FILE
AS MALAYSIA’S main education fund and one of the agencies under the Ministry of Higher Education Ministry (MOHE), the National Higher Education Fund Corp (PTPTN) aims to remain relevant and competitive with its recently launched PTPTN Strategic Plan 2021-2025.
The plan was developed to clarify and focus on the fund’s policies and activities for the next five years, as well as playing a key role in enhancing the competitiveness, integrity and “esprit de corps” among PTPTN staff.
In an interview recently, chairman Datuk Wan Saiful Wan Jan said the strategic plan will enhance the impact of long-term services to the community, while creating a stable and effective work environment.
“As one of the agencies under MOHE to ensure students can continue their studies without financial constraints, I think it is very important for us to guarantee PTPTN’s sustainability.
“We have outlined in the strategic plan some of our thrusts and work plans to ensure that all current needs can be fulfilled, while meeting the current challenges.
“In the next five years, we expect many changes in terms of technology, economic environment, as well as manpower and human resource needs in the country, so we want to make sure PTPTN is always up to date,” he said.
The five main thrusts of the strategic plan are to make the National Education Saving Scheme (SSPN) a major education savings product in Malaysia; empower education loan management towards becoming a leading and superior education loan manager; improve loan repayment collection management more effectively; implement funding and investment strategies that bring optimal returns; and empower organisations towards more dynamic and excellence.
On the second thrust, Wan Saiful said the main goal is to strengthen the management of education loans, thus giving more efficient results and dynamic loan fund management.
“This is so that everyone who deserves a loan will receive it. The process is simplified and more customer-friendly.”
Based on the third thrust, Wan Saiful said although loan repayment has always been a controversial issue, PTPTN will take a new approach by providing a more effective and flexible repayment mechanism that does not burden borrowers and at the same time, maintains PTPTN’s sustainability.
“We want to make sure that the issue of repayment is not politicised because this is related to the future of the country’s human capital,” he said.
The fourth thrust is to sustain PTPTN with an effective funding strategy and generate more investment returns through a variety of mediums.
“So far, PTPTN’s record in terms of returns sometimes beat the market rate, but this year may be a little challenging.
“We will make sure that our management costs are less, while our investments are diversified and our returns are higher,” noted the chairman.
He said the fifth strategic thrust emphasises on strengthening PTPTN’s image through branding and building strong trust with the community through effective communications.
Similarly, the aspect of systematic data management will be vitalised through the artificial intelligence (AI) framework and ICT capabilities will be enhanced with the use of the latest technology.
Acknowledging the challenges ahead, Wan Saiful said several important elements have been set to determine the success of the strategic plan namely management commitment, adequate funds or financial resources, human capital competency development, strengthening governance, as well as support and cooperation from various parties.
Apart from that, PTPTN will also be reviewing its key performance indicators system and working procedures.
Lastly is the provision of sound infrastructure facilities, which include providing the latest ICT equipment and technology, as well as the acquisition of data and information with integrity.
“To ensure the smooth-running of our services, I am interested in the potential of AI and big data analysis. The world is heading towards a cashless society, many transactions are held online and we are responding to the challenge.
“We are in the process of enhancing online transactions and have started developing a smart application where all of PTPTN’s functions can be mixed and accessed by our customers,” he shared.
Despite the various challenges faced during the pandemic, its saving products continue to be the main choice of parents for their children’s education fund.
Since its introduction until May 31, 2021, PTPTN has recorded an encouraging receipt of SSPN deposits amounting to RM8.99 billion with over 4.98 million accounts recorded.
In terms of loans to date, every year PTPTN gives loans to between 150,000 and 180,000 borrowers.
According to the projections made in the National Higher Education Blueprint, the number of students who will enter institutions of higher learning is increasing from year to year and can reach up to more than 200,000 people a year.
Wan Saiful said the amount of loans issued each year is between RM3 billion and RM3.5 billion.
He asserted that PTPTN is concerned for its borrowers who are affected by the pandemic, with a series of moratoriums offered from the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak.
“The moratorium still applies. If borrowers face a challenge or are affected by Covid-19, they need to inform PTPTN. We are always ready to discuss and ensure that borrowers are not burdened,” he concluded.