Poverty main cause of big dropouts – IDS chairman

Front row, from second left: Clarence, Teo and Mohd Hasnol with the participants of the seminar.

KOTA KINABALU: More than 40,000 students in Malaysia dropped out of school during the transition phase from Form 3 to Form 4 every year, said Institute for Development Studies (IDS) Sabah chairman Datuk Seri Panglima Clarence Bongkos Malakun.

Additionally, he said there were nearly 20,000 dropouts every year in the transition from Year 6 to Form 1, between the ages of 11 and 12, and then within the subsequent years in secondary schooling.

“In absolute terms, thousands of students are still dropping out from the mainstream schooling system.

“Poverty is more commonly known as one of the major factors, while the temptation to enter the labour force is also another most common factor,” he said at the opening ceremony of a seminar on ‘Gender and Literacy Development: Reaching the Dropouts’ here yesterday.

The seminar was officiated by the Minister of Special Tasks Datuk Teo Chee Kang, who represented Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman.

Clarence said reasons of dropouts were many including lack of interest in  schooling, the inability to pay for education-related expenses and poor academic performance.

Even involvement of parents in a child’s education related activities at home, frequency of interaction of parents with school teachers, management and Parent Teachers Association (PTA), and parents’ opinions of education including technical and vocational education pathways are also considered among the reasons, he said.

“While data from the MOE show that the dropout rates are low in Malaysia, but the absolute number of students leaving the system before completing a full secondary education reaches into the thousands.

“Majority of these students are from low-income households, hindering their ability to improve upon their future socioeconomic status,” he said.

According to the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025 (MEB), Clarence said approximately 36 per cent of each cohort does not reach the minimum achievement level desired by all students.

“This means that students from one particular cohort are no longer enrolled in the system or have not passed core Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) subjects.”

As a comparison, Clarence said in Korea for example, 98 per cent of those between the ages of 25 abd 34 had completed the equivalent of a high-school degree indicative of a negligible level of dropouts from the system.

“Whereas in Malaysia in 2011, only 56 per cent of the working age population in Malaysia had an SPM qualification or higher and a majority of these, about 65 per cent, had only an SPM qualification.”

H e said the Ministry of Education (MOE) revealed that one factor contributing to dropout rates was the inability of students to cope with the syllabus being taught besides poverty.

“If we can give children a good grasp of basic literacy and numeracy skills early in life they will be less likely to drop out of school.

“This could also mean that our future generation will have a brighter future.”

by Chok Sim Yee.

Read more @ http://www.theborneopost.com/2017/05/19/poverty-main-cause-of-big-dropouts-ids-chairman/

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