Full boarding schools no longer to help the poor, says Dr M

PETALING JAYA: Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad today accused full boarding schools of deviating from their original purpose to help poor students whose home environments are not conducive to school work.

Speaking during PH’s policy talk streamed live on Facebook, Mahathir said criteria for enrolment was no longer what it used to be.

“Full boarding schools existed to help the poor who did not have proper amenities at home for the children to do their homework.

“Children from rural or poorer families often fared differently in school as they lived in an environment that did not allow them to do their revision at home.

“Most of the time, they were required to help their families with other work, and this disrupted their studies.”

Now, however, children from all manner of financial backgrounds were admitted to full boarding schools, not just those from poor families, he said.

“This should not be the case as the parents of these children do not need this assistance.

“This has caused a shortage in aid channelled to poor families as they have to compete with those who do not come from poor backgrounds.”

Mahathir, who is also PPBM chairman, added that those who wished to enrol their children in full boarding schools should have their backgrounds assessed before their applications are approved.

The fully residential school (SBP) system was established in 1957 to offer educational opportunities, especially to students in rural areas.