COMMENT | The World Bank estimates that Malaysia's learning poverty is already high and that unless swift and bold action is taken, it will worsen. Malaysia has had one of the highest learning losses among Asian developing nations and exceeds the losses of all Asean members except Myanmar (Asian Development Bank April 2021).
With school closures for more than 40 weeks, most children in Malaysia have had a major loss in education progress. As many as 40 percent have not been able to participate in online classes due to the lack of digital devices or internet connection. Many who could connect found learning online suboptimal.
Certain groups of children are at higher risk of worse educational outcomes: children with disabilities, children living in poverty, those in remote areas of Sabah and Sarawak, from indigenous communities, stateless children, refugees and those in detention centres.
The number of children who have dropped out of school is uncertain. We lack concrete data on the number of preschoolers who did not start primary school or the...