KOTA KINABALU: Steps will be taken to address the problem of an estimated 12,000 primary pupils in Sabah failing to be proficient in reading, writing and arithmetic skills.
The Education Ministry's focal person for Sabah Mohammad Arif Sakaran (pic) said that Sabah was among the states with the highest number of pupils who have problems with literacy and numeracy, better known as the 3Rs - reading, writing and arithmetic.
The cases mainly involve Year One and Year Two pupils, he said.
He said based on data from two years ago released by the Ministry, there were 180 schools involving almost 12,000 students with literacy and counting problems in the state.
“That is the data we received two years ago and I am worried that during the Covid-19 pandemic it rose higher due to the constraints faced during this period.
"That is why we need support from all parties, like us Sabahans, we do not want our state to be left behind because these children will lead us in the future," he said when met by reporters at his office here on Monday (April 11).
He said the problem of literacy and counting in Sabah was due to several factors and this included the remoteness of far-flung areas.
"We also need to get parents involved in helping their children," he added.
Arif said that they planned to go down to the ground with the Sabah Education Department to address these literacy and counting problems faced by the children.
"We were involved with addressing this problem but due to the pandemic, it made it difficult for us to continue the programme previously.
"With the SOPs now being relaxed, we can restart the programme by discussing with district education officers and headmasters throughout Sabah on how to address these issues," he said.
He said they would also consider seeking the assistance from Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) to be part of the team to obtain the views of everyone.