KULAI: The government is currently reviewing the Education Act to make it mandatory for students to complete schooling from Standard One till Form Five.
Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching said parents who failed to send their children to school could face a fine of up to RM5,000 or six months imprisonment.
She said at present, the Education Act only required pupils to complete schooling until Standard Six.
“Currently, more than 98 per cent of children are schooling (in primary schools) but our target is 100 per cent,” she told reporters after the launch of the national-level ‘Ziarah Cakna’ programme at the Kulai District Education Office here today.
Teo said the programme was a continuation of the ‘No Child Left Behind’ initiative which began in July 2018, aimed at identifying the problems faced by families which lead to their children not attending school.
“Perhaps this way (by having the Ziarah Cakna programme) we can meet the parents and understand their problems.
“Parents who do not enroll their children to school at age seven can have action taken against them by the government, but I think this way, the teachers and local leaders can go to visit parents at home and understand the problems they face and draw up an action plan for them,” said Teo.
She added that her ministry could also help these parents obtain assistance from the right channels if they had financial difficulties in sending their children to school.
However, Teo said there were also irresponsible parents who did not think about the future of their children.
Meanwhile, she said the government did not intend to reintroduce the class streaming system for children entering Standard One, saying it was too early to label children according to their aptitude at the age of seven.
“We hope we can give an equal opportunity to all children. In Finland, where there is no class streaming, their education system is one of the most brilliant, and the gap among students in school is also the smallest.
“I think this is what we should learn because we want to avoid the situation where the students are labeled from the very beginning,” she explained.
According to her, the Education Ministry is also keen to develop pupils with good character, and not just chase after academic excellence. - BERNAMA