PETALING JAYA: A parents’ group has urged the government to set up an “adoption” programme to ensure students who dropped out of school amid the Covid-19 pandemic can complete their studies.
The Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education (Magpie) said a needs-based approach, taking into account these students’ backgrounds, would be key to ensuring the RM100 million set aside to help these students was put to good use.
“I would suggest that the education ministry conduct a holistic survey of these students, examining their financial background and finding out what they need, and then implement an adoption programme,” Magpie chairman Mak Chee Kin told FMT.
He said students who quit school during the pandemic often faced varying levels of financial needs, adding that a special team should monitor their academic performances and also look into the issues they are currently facing.
Mak cited his personal experience in helping a Form 6 student return to school after the pandemic.
“At the start, we gave him RM200 a month in financial aid. Initially, he did well but he fell behind again. We did another check and found that the student needed to work again because RM200 was not enough (for him and the family).
“So he ended up working to support his family again. Our programme conducted another survey and gave him an extra amount. Once he received enough money, he stopped worrying about his family and went back to his studies,” Mak said.
In the 2024 budget tabled by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim yesterday, the education ministry was allocated the largest sum with RM58.7 billion. It is an increase of about RM3.5 billion from the amount allocated for this year.
The allocation included RM100 million to “implement a holistic approach involving all parties” to aid students who had dropped out during the pandemic.
Mak also urged Putrajaya to cut the red tape when it came to any request for funds by schools, in order to save time and money.
Currently, he said, schools have to apply for funds through their respective district and state education departments before the request reaches the ministry. He added that this process was “inefficient”.
“The education ministry should allow schools to apply directly to them, instead of going through other levels. Once they receive the request, the ministry should send officers to the school and examine their request,” he added.
According to Mak, the funding should be given to the school directly as they understood their own needs better than the ministry.
Dual Language Programme
Meanwhile, the Parent Action Group For Education Malaysia (PAGE) said the budget lacked a detailed plan to further develop the Dual Language Programme (DLP), which allows pupils in selected schools to study several subjects in English.
“We would like to see the ministry elevate the English Language Teaching Centre (an institution under the ministry) which oversees the DLP from a unit to a department, and give it the authority to expand English as the language of technology,” PAGE chairman Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim told FMT.