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Education ministry finalising policy to make secondary school compulsory

Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek says school dropouts will not occur if children are required to study up to the SPM level.

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Students complete their work at a school in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Students complete their work at a school in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

The education ministry is in the midst of finalising the compulsory secondary education policy in an effort to curb the issue of students dropping out of school.

Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek said the issue of dropouts would not occur if children were required to study up to the SPM level under the new policy.

She also said that the country was facing enrollment problems for preschool and secondary school levels but not for primary schools.

"We have no problem with primary school enrollment which stands at 99%. We reach the universal target because we have a compulsory primary education policy," she said when appearing as a guest at the Women’s Question Time programme in Bukit Mertajam last night, along with PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar.

Fadhlina said the ministry aimed to tackle the preschool enrollment problem by establishing 118 new preschools this year.
She said this was an early intervention measure to prevent student dropouts at the early childhood education level.

"I am pleased to see preschools with two sessions. This shows that our preschool is getting a much better response. That is why it’s important to support early education so that we can have a preschool in every primary school," she said.

Fadhlina also said that early intervention was crucial to preventing student dropouts, including among students with special needs, as it helps identify their needs from the age of four to six.

She also said that the quality of education in Malaysia was much better than in other Southeast Asian countries due to the requirement for preschool teachers to hold a diploma in early childhood education.