'Lack of awareness, personal problems, and peer influence': Main reasons for SPM absenteeism

National education figure proposes measures to combat high SPM absentee rates.

29 May 2024 09:21am
Personal issues, peer pressure among factors for high SPM absenteeism. - Photo by Bernama
Personal issues, peer pressure among factors for high SPM absenteeism. - Photo by Bernama

SHAH ALAM - A lack of understanding about the importance of obtaining the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) certificate is among the three main factors causing some students not to attend this crucial examination despite having registered, according to National Education figure Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom.

The other two factors he identified are peer influence and personal problems.

“There are several reasons why SPM candidates do not take the exam.

"First, they do not understand that SPM is a key element in our education system, and through this exam, they can further their studies to higher levels. The SPM is a passport for them to move forward.

“Secondly, they may have personal problems, including coming from low-income families that force them to work to support the family.

"So, when they are already working, it is difficult for them to get leave to sit for the exam.

"Thirdly, negative peer influence, such as being involved in social problems or following current youth trends, causes them to neglect schooling,” he told Sinar on Tuesday.

Alimuddin was commenting on the worrying number of SPM candidates who did not attend the exam.

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On Monday, Education Director-General Azman Adnan revealed that 10,160 out of 383,685 new SPM 2023 candidates did not sit for the examination.

According to him, this absenteeism rate needs to be addressed and scrutinised so that intervention measures can be implemented.

When asked about the number of candidates who did not attend the exam, Alimuddin said that the relevant parties, especially the Education Ministry, need to take immediate steps to address the issue.

“The figure of more than 10,000 people is very large because it is unlikely that all of them are facing health problems.

"Therefore, drastic action needs to be taken,” he said.

He also suggested three proposals to address the issue, including campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of taking the SPM exam, the role of parents, and assigning specific teachers to ensure student attendance during the exam.

“Firstly, in my opinion, campaigns in schools about the importance of SPM need to be intensified.

"Parents also need to play a role by encouraging and being attentive to their children’s exam schedules.

"The third suggestion is that, in the past, some schools assigned teachers to go to the homes of students who did not attend the exam and bring them to school,” he said.