Financial instability, no guarantee of jobs among reasons cited for SPM grads not furthering studies

13 Aug 2022 03:32pm
Many SPM graduates likely choose to work in order to survive. (123rf)
Many SPM graduates likely choose to work in order to survive. (123rf)

SHAH ALAM - Desperate times calls for desperate measures - and that is life now thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, says Malaysian Trades Union Congress president Mohd Effendy Abdul Ghani.

He said not only has the cost of living increased but also the cost of studying thus leaving youths in a limbo of choosing between a full time job or committing to their education.

“Even if we have loans provided by the government, it is possible that students cannot afford or have the opportunity to take loans.

“It is likely that many choose to work in order to survive,” he told Sinar Daily.

Effendy said this in response to a report by Statistics Department where 390,000 or 72.1 per cent of Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) graduates in 2019 had no plans to further their study and preferred to work as social media influencers, e-hailing car drivers and food delivery riders.

The report stated that only 170,000 of 560,000 SPM graduates went on to further their studies while the remaining 390,000 chose to enter the workforce.

Sinar Daily spoke to three recent SPM graduates about their sentiments towards the issue and factors leading up to it.

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Muhammad Munir Ajwad Fauzan, 18, said he noticed some of his friends had this mentality where they preferred to leave education altogether and start working full time.

This, he said, was mainly due to their bad SPM results and rejected by local universities.

The Selangorian said financial stability was also another factor as their parents’ income was not able to cover their university expenses.

“However, there are also those who have no interest in learning at all,” he said.

Nuranisa Athira Mokhlis, also 18, had a different take when it comes to the decision for graduates to enter the gig economy as opposed to white-collar industry.

She said news and stories of the country’s workforce and labour issues may have traumatised or hindered the graduates from pursuing their studies in a bid to earn qualifications such as doctors, lawyers and engineers.

“I think in this era, rarely people learn why they really want to cultivate knowledge.

“If we look at the issues nowadays, we do not appreciate the professional workforce.

“We see so much much news on Hartal Doktor Kontrak - the nationwide workers' strike organised by medical officers, stories of underpaid lawyers, overworked engineer and so on,” she said.

Nuranisa, who is from Selangor, said youths were easily influenced by what they see and hear especially on social media thus could have influenced them to make their decisions after observing what happened for the past few years.

Nurhanisah Sarijudin said SPM graduates viewed tertiary qualifications as guarantee for job opportunities.
Nurhanisah Sarijudin said SPM graduates viewed tertiary qualifications as guarantee for job opportunities.

Sharing similar views, Nurhanisah Sarijudin said education was no longer viewed highly by the society nowadays as it no longer guarantees job opportunities thus why SPM graduates preferred to find a job they were interested in and promised a stable salary.

“However, a piece of an advice to those reading, there is no harm in studying so learn as much as you can to guarantee a more guaranteed comfort of life,” she said.

Meanwhile, school teacher from Jalan Kebun, Selangor Nor Azam Jamaluddin said based on observation in today’s day and age, most students do not pursue tertiary education as job opportunities were now limited.

“Many have a degree and are still unemployed or working in a field that is far from their qualifications and background,” she said.

However, the 53-year old educator said financial stability would always come into play where students were unable to afford to pay for their studies despite qualifying for loans and scholarships.

She said they had to work to help support their families.

“However, there is always the bitter truth where some students had no awareness on the importance of knowledge and chose to take easy way out instead, which is to work instead,” she added.