Focusing on B40 students will restore objective of boarding schools

01 Aug 2023 09:59pm
KUALA LUMPUR - The government’s intention to prioritise students from low-income groups in the provision of scholarships and enrollment in boarding schools can help restore the institution’s original purposes, said National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Fouzi Singon.

He said even though the objective of setting up a boarding school was to provide the best education to underprivileged rural students, most boarding schools are currently filled with students from the elite group.

"Boarding school should be a place for students to get the best education, healthy meals and convenient accommodation.

"Unfortunately, this goal has been undermined, and boarding schools have become reserved for children from elite or wealthy families,” he said when contacted by Bernama.

Last Thursday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim when launching the ‘MADANI Economy: Empowering the People’ initiative said to ensure social justice and equal opportunities, the government will prioritise the underprivileged and low-income groups, especially in the provision of scholarships and full-boarding education.

Elaborating, Fouzi said the government’s intention could provide fair opportunities and justice for marginalised students to receive quality education.

"To achieve social justice in education, it’s crucial to provide equal opportunities and access to everyone. Parents in rural areas will be motivated to support their children to attend boarding schools or receive scholarships, knowing that they have a chance to succeed,” he said.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Career Advancement Centre director Assoc Prof Dr Salleh Amat said there was a need to review students’ qualifications to enter boarding schools under the Education Ministry and Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA).

"In this case, I think the entry requirements are not necessarily top scorers. The minimum qualifications would be enough for low-income groups to be eligible for hostel accommodation,” he said.
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He said the government’s intention of prioritising underprivileged students could also benefit students from low-income households to get out of poverty while also helping them to focus on their studies.

"Some of these children have to help their parents find additional income to ease their family’s burden. So, when the government restores boarding schools' objective, it can allow students to focus entirely on their studies,” he said. - BERNAMA

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