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Survey: 72.1% Of Malaysians Do Not Want To Further Their Studies After SPM

Some said they preferred to work in the gig economy or become influencers on social media.

Cover image via Change.org & HRM Asia

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Government statistics have found that 72.1% of Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) graduates do not want to continue their studies after secondary school

According to Utusan Malaysia, a report by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) in 2019 showed that 390,000 out of 560,000 SPM candidates were interested in joining the workforce immediately after the exam, while only 170,000 students were interested in continuing their studies.

The Malay daily reported that the three main factors behind why those aged 17 and 18 did not want to continue their studies were:
- The availability of job opportunities in the gig economy,
- Interest in becoming influencers on social media, and
- Believing that furthering their studies do not guarantee better jobs.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via Aizuddin Saad/New Straits Times

The survey on the country's labour force was compiled by the Malaysian Productivity Corporation (MPC) as the official partner for the World Economic Forum's 2019 Global Competitiveness Report

MPC's development, productivity, and competitiveness division director Mohamad Muzaffar Abdul Hamid said the survey involved respondents aged 15 to 64 to find out the educational achievements and performance of the Malaysian public.

Speaking to Berita Harian, he said the findings were worrying and that he fears the high percentage of students that were not interested in furthering their studies after SPM will have an impact on the country's productivity, especially when job opportunities are not filled by local youth.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via Change.org

Besides that, the survey also found that a worrying 5.8% of Malaysians have never attended or completed school

"We believe that this group of people who do not go to school consists of individuals from poor families, the Orang Asli community, and in Sabah and Sarawak," he told Berita Harian.

According to The Star, poverty, loss of interest, and the system's focus on exams are the main reasons for students dropping out of school.

It is also reported that some children felt alienated by the content of the curriculum or failed to see the purpose of schooling, while some parents were just not concerned about their children's education.

Mohamad Muzzafar added that, as a result in the future, many low-skill workers in the workforce will cause a decrease in the nation's productivity, innovation, and competitiveness.

"This will cause difficulties in creating new job opportunities and will have an impact on low-wage workers," he said. "Compared to a highly skilled workforce, it will offer higher wages while boosting productivity and innovation."

While some jobs may not require tertiary education, this recruiter has advised SPM graduates to never boast about their bad results:

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