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Ministry mulling making school mandatory until Form 5

The government is currently reviewing the Education Act 1996 to make it mandatory for students to complete schooling from Standard One until Form Five.

Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching said that under the review, parents who fail to send their children to school could face a fine of up to RM5,000 or six months' imprisonment.

Teo said that at present, the Education Act only required pupils to complete schooling until Standard Six.

"Currently, more than 98 percent 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 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.

No streaming in Std 1

Meanwhile, she noted that 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 from, because we want to avoid a situation where students are labelled 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

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