KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — Poverty is one of the main causes of school dropout, especially among secondary school students, said Deputy Education Minister Lim Hui Ying.
She said the Ministry of Education (MOE) found that there were students who did not attend school as they had to work to support the economy of their families.
“This is a social problem that we need to find ways to address,” she said during the question and answer session at the Dewan Rakyat today.
She said this is her reply to a supplementary question from Muhammad Ismi Mat Taib (PN-Parit) on whether poverty is the cause of school dropouts and the MOE’s steps to address it.
Lim said one of the steps is to make it compulsory for all students to complete 11 years of schooling, starting from Year One in primary school, up to Form Five in secondary school.
When replying to the original question from Muhammad Ismi on MOE’s initiative to help dropout students due to poverty, Lim said that the ministry has expanded the implementation of Comprehensive Special Model School Year 9 (K9) from the existing 12 to 17 schools.
“The main goal of the K9 school being created is to deal with the dropout issue in rural areas, especially for students who face difficulties in continuing their education to the secondary level due to the location of the secondary school being far away, the challenging terrain and the family's socio-economics,” she said.
She said that the concept has also been expanded into Comprehensive Special Model School Year 11 (K11) to provide access to a more comprehensive education for students from Year One to Form Five.
“The K11 concept is also expected to be able to reduce the dropout rate of students transitioning from lower secondary to upper secondary school.
She added that MOE also provides 18 types of school assistance for students from low-income families, including federal scholarships, supplementary food programme and early schooling assistance.
“Various assistance including textbook loans and the services of counselling are also provided to boost students’ interest in continuing schooling,” she said. — Bernama