JOHOR BARU, Dec 7 — The Johor government estimates that up to 20 per cent of the total of 131,281 lower primary school (Primary One to Three) pupils in the state have failed to master the three basic skills of reading, writing and counting.

State Education, Information, Heritage and Culture Committee chairman Mazlan Bujang said the problem was made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic since early 2020 when schools were forced to close as disease prevention measures.

“In this regard, the state government has designed a special programme called Didik Johor, with an allocation of RM450,000 to assist students who have dropped out of mastering the essential 3M skills.

“The programme, which will be introduced by next year, will be assisted by expert teachers through the implementation of tuition methods,” said Mazlan after launching the KPT [email protected] Generator Programme at the Sultan Abu Bakar Heritage Complex here today.

Mazlan, who is also the Puteri Wangsa assemblyman, added that the Didik Johor pilot programme is currently being organised by the Johor Baru City Foundation in collaboration with the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA).

He said it has been implemented since last month involving public housing areas in the Desa Mutiara People's Housing Project (PPR), Kempas PPR, and Bakar Batu PPR.

During the recent state assembly session on November 23, Mazlan said the state had received more than 50,000 books to assist primary school pupils to read, write and count better.

“The Johor Education Department has done much to address the problem among the lower primary pupils with reading, writing and arithmetic proficiency,” he said in his reply.

On the KPT [email protected] Generator Programme, Mazlan said that a total of 500 unemployed graduates in the state will benefit from it.

Through the programme, he said Johor graduates residing in the state will obtain a Certificate in Food Service and Barista Services through training at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM).

“Graduates who take this course will be given food and beverage allowances and accommodation. They will also undergo industrial training at fast food restaurants as food management and handler trainees.

“After completing the programme, they will continue to be absorbed into work automatically upon completion of their training.

“This initiative is designed to help unemployed graduates get jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic," explained Mazlan.