While most of us will take it for granted that our children must receive a proper education, it's always depressing to find out that there are those who chose to neglect providing their children with formal education.
Did you also know that "Section 29A of the Education Act 1996 stated that parents who did not enrol their children in school could be fined RM5,000 or jailed six months"? Although I've never heard of anybody being prosecuted under the act, it's also good to know that the Government have in place certain measures to encourage families who are poor to attend schools.
Deputy Minister of Education, Datuk Noh Omar said "parents could no longer use poverty as an excuse for not enrolling their children in school because the Government had established the Poor Student Aid Fund to assist all unprivileged pupils."
Assistance provided includes RM200 for registration fees, RM50 monthly aid currently distributed to poor students which will be increased to RM70 next year as well as other benefits such as free breakfasts to needy pupils.
While I wasn't born in poverty, my parents were definitely not of the privileged middle class either. My father had up to Primary 3 education, and owned a small poultry farm selling eggs for a living while my housewife mother only managed to complete primary school. We lived (and my parents still do) in the kampung 10 miles from the town of Batu Pahat.
I would attribute what I have achieved today besides a little luck, to a good education and plenty of encouragement, guidance as well as moral support from my parents. I've always believed that education is the only true leveller in and of society. Hence, it is of the key reasons why I started this blog in the first place, having experienced the immeasurable impact of education, first hand.
Poverty is not an excuse of skipping education. Poverty should be very reason why education is compulsory.
Where does this put homeschoolers then?
Been reading this blog and your other blog for a while. Just like you, I was an ASEAN scholar too (98 batch). Currently, I am a software engineer in Singapore, with my heart still belongs to Malaysia.
My dad barely finished his primary school and my mum had 2 more years of education extra than my dad. And we are all from Batu Pahat :). Life wasn't easy back then, but my parents did all they could to ensure me a good education. I guess they knew they could not afford sending me to local private college or oversea university. But they did all they could when i was in primary and secondary school to ensure that I have everything I need - from tuition classes to reference books and most importantly, attention and care but never pressure. That's all we've got while our richer relatives have all the latest toys, mountain bike, G-shock watches, video games, expensive jeans and T-shirts etc. There were moments where I wonder and complained (to myself) why I never get to own those stuff, but now I understand.
If my parents have used poverty as an excuse to neglect providing us with formal education, perhaps me and my younger bro(an engineer too) would not be what we are today. Like what you have said, poverty should be the very reason why education is compulsory.
I think this sentence is also relevant here if i may comment..
the world doesn't owe anyone a living just because he/she has a degree.
the committment to getting a good job after university and progressing thereafter requires a lot of effort and hard work.
Related to your post:
Help A Stateless Girl Go To School
A couple of friends are trying to get the daughter of a couple of immigrants (one here on work visa, another disappeared) into school following the mandatory enrollment ruling. However, they're facing one obstacle after another.
Could you post it up on your blog and hopefully find help? It would be much appreciated. Thank you!
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