‘Don’t stop pursuing higher studies’

Where next after SPM: Students checking out the Public institutions of Higher Learning Exhibition at SJK(C) Shang Wu in Ayer Itam, George Town. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Form Five students have been urged not to stop their progress after Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) as there are so many attractive courses they can pursue for their tertiary education.

Deputy Education Minister Lim Hui Ying said the courses included vocational to matriculation, and this could inadvertently lead to jobs with better salaries.

“My ministry has organised the Public Institutions of Higher Learning (IPTA) exhibitions in Selangor, Penang, Perak and Johor between March 31 and April 8 to make it easier for SPM school leavers to decide.

“There are many types of courses to take such as fashion design, baking and car repair that school leavers can consider,” she said after opening the exhibition at SJK (C) Shang Wu in Jalan La Salle, Ayer Itam, last Saturday.

A recent poll on 1,000 SPM students found that 49% of them are not interested in furthering their studies.

The study conducted by the UCSI Poll Research Centre reveals that out of the 49% who have no intentions of furthering their studies, 26% plan on becoming ehailing drivers and 22% want to start F&B businesses.

Asked what kind of job they were interested in, 34% of those who did not intend to further their studies said they wanted to become social media content creators, or influencers.

From the poll, 21% said education does not guarantee a better job while 20% said they can still get paid as much as those who continue with their studies, while 6% said they cannot handle exam stress.

Forty-one per cent of the group also said they are interested in the government’s technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programmes.

According to the Education Ministry, 50.3% of the SPM 2021 candidates are continuing their education in various institutions while 30.8% are currently working as of Feb 2 this year.

A total of 407,097 candidates sat for the written papers from March 2 to March 29 nationwide, it was reported last year.

In 2018 and 2019, 55.05% and 65.23% of students continued their studies while 20.02% and 25.85% opted to work, respectively.

In 2020, 64.80% embarked on a tertiary path while 24.57% sought employment.

Lim added that society was becoming increasingly aware of the need for education as this was closely related in determining the future of the nation’s children.

“All levels of society need to be exposed to equal opportunities. Exhibitions such as this can provide space for students to realise and explore educational opportunities offered by the government in providing access to equitable education to all qualified students,” she said.

Lim also highlighted that the country faced a shortage of 19,431 teachers due to retirement, promotions, study leave, unpaid leave, resignations and deaths, and said a special recruitment drive would soon be held to address the current shortage.

“There are currently 428,279 teachers nationwide and we are looking for more teachers to teach Bahasa Melayu, English and Islamic Studies.

“School leavers should apply to become teachers to help address the shortage, and interviews will be called in about two months’ time,” she said.

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