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Poverty among main causes of school dropouts, says deputy minister

Lim Hui Ying says it is a social problem that must be addressed.

2 minute read
A student crosses the road on her way to school in Kuala Lumpur.
A student crosses the road on her way to school in Kuala Lumpur.

Poverty is one of the main factors behind school dropouts, especially among secondary school students, says Deputy Education Minister Lim Hui Ying.

She said the education ministry had found that there were students who did not attend school as they had to work to support 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 yesterday.

She was responding to a supplementary question from Muhammad Ismi Mat Taib (PN-Parit) on whether poverty was the cause of school dropouts and the education ministry's steps to address it.

Lim said one of the steps was to make it compulsory for all students to complete 11 years of schooling, from Standard One in primary school up to Form Five in secondary school.

Responding to the original question from Ismi on the ministry's initiatives to help students who drop out due to poverty, Lim said it had expanded the implementation of the Comprehensive Special Model School Year 9 (K9) from the existing 12 to 17 schools.

"The main goal of the K9 school is to deal with the dropout issue in rural areas, especially for students who face difficulties continuing their education to the secondary level due to the location of the school being far away, the challenging terrain and the family's socio-economics," she said.

She said the concept had also been expanded into the Comprehensive Special Model School Year 11 (K11) to provide access to a more comprehensive education for students from Standard 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 said.

She added that the ministry provides 18 types of school assistance for students from low-income families, including federal scholarships, supplementary food programmes and early schooling assistance. 

"Various forms of assistance including textbook loans and counselling services are also provided to boost students’ interest in continuing their schooling," she said.

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