KUALA LUMPUR: The number of students who have dropped out of school in 2018 is higher compared to during the Covid-19 pandemic from March 2020 to July this year, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon(pix) said a total of 34,074 students dropped out of school in 2018 while only 21,316 students were recorded as having stopped schooling from March 2020 to July this year.

“This means that the number (of dropout students) recorded in previous years was higher than what was given (in a written reply) to Kangar (Noor Amin Ahmad),” he said during the question-and-answer session.

He was replying to a supplementary question from Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (Independent-Muar) about a written reply from Senior Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin to Noor Amin on the number of students who dropped out of school from March 2020 until to date.

In the written reply, Radzi informed that 11,301 school dropouts were recorded from March to December 2020, while a total of 10,015 students dropped out of school from January to July this year.

Dr Maszlee Malik (PH-Simpang Renggam) who is also the former Education Minister, in a tweet yesterday expressed his concern over the number of students who dropped out of school for the period.

In this regard, Mah said the Ministry of Education (MOE) had implemented various measures to reduce the dropout rate, which included directing schools, the state education department (JPN) or the district education office (PPD) to detect students who were absent from school or did not attend the home-based teaching and learning (PdPR) sessions.

In addition, he said the MOE also provided guidance and psychosocial support services through various methods as well as holding discussions with schools, parents or guardians of students to identify reasons and measures to address issues such as a lack of interest among students.

“...at the same time, we are implementing interventions for students at the risk of dropping out at the JPN and PPD levels. We also provide guidelines for managing students at risk of dropping out for PPD, JPN and schools’ reference,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mah said the ministry had no plans to introduce a National Unity subject for primary and secondary school students, replacing the Moral Education subject.

However, he said the Malaysia Education Development Plan 2013-2025 recommended that the moral education curriculum for non-Muslim students focus more on universal values, unity and good relations among human beings.

“The MOE has also implemented integrated improvements by focusing more on the element of unity in the curriculum, teaching and learning strategies and support materials,” he said in reply to a question from Prabakaran A/l M Parameswaran (PH-Batu) on the matter.-Bernama