Most school dropouts unable to cope with syllabus – IDS

KOTA KINABALU: Most school dropouts are from the lower socio-economic group unable to cope with the school syllabus, according to Institute for Development Studies (IDS).

Its chairman, Datuk Seri Clarence Bongkos Malakun cited the Malaysia Millennium Development Goals 2010 report, saying that over 90 per cent of those of lower secondary school age who are not in school are from the bottom 40 per cent of the income distribution.

“While 75 per cent of those who are of upper secondary school age but are not in school are from the bottom 40 per cent of the income distribution,” he said adding that those that are hit the hardest are from the rural areas.

Speaking at the Seminar on Gender and Development: Reaching the Dropouts, at a resort here yesterday, he said that another main factor contributing to dropout rate is the students’ inability to cope with the syllabus being taught in schools.

“Therefore, if we can give the children a good grasp of basic literacy and numeracy skills early in life, they will be less likely to drop out of school, and this could also mean that our future generation will have a brighter future. “Dropping out problem is more prevalent in the transition from Year 6 to Form 1, and during the subsequent years in secondary school, which amount to 20,000 every year.

“Similar situation is happening during the transition phase from Form 3 to Form 4 where more than 40,000 students dropping out of schools every year,” he said adding that this is mainly caused by the temptation to enter the labour force.

Meanwhile, in his welcoming remarks, IDS Executive Director / CEO, Datuk Mohd Hasnol Ayub said that while it is difficult to obtain official rates and data on dropouts, the education system needs to address the problem. He said that the last comprehensive study conducted on the issue was the Dropouts Report 1973 which was also known as the Murad Report by the Education Ministry (MOE).

“Little information is available about the students who dropped out of school and where they end up, which makes it difficult to calculate the true cost incurred.

“While the economic and financial costs of dropouts in Malaysia have not been calculated, it could be a large opportunity cost in the future as the country is already facing shortages of skilled and knowledge-based workforce in many key economic growth areas including service, manufacturing, and IT sectors.

by ERIC BAGANG

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