- "For me and my friends, we find it hard to understand the lesson because we don't have enough class time. For example, we only have 1 hour of English. But actually, we need 1 and a half hours."Despite Malaysians receiving 12 years of schooling, Malaysian students receive only 9 years' worth of schooling after adjusting for education quality.Source: Khazanah Research Institute.
- "In many families, the parents are uneducated. They don’t see the value of sending their children to school. Some children have to work to support their family."
Shashi, 18, studentPoverty is a vicious cycle. Those with tertiary education earn up to 3.6 times more than those without a certificate.Source: Khazanah Research Institute.
- "The problem is our education system is built on conformity. A student’s worth is measured by a set of letter grades on a piece of paper. Those who don’t do well are dismissed as lazy or ‘a lost cause’. Students are taught not to question the textbook or the teacher."
Racheal Leong, 19, studentStudent mindsets have double the effect of socioeconomic background on outcomes.Source: Drivers of student performance: Asia insights.
Education inequity is a massive problem that’s part of a vicious cycle,
caused by deep-rooted factors.
Children growing up in low-income families face greater barriers accessing education and other basic necessities, compared to their more affluent peers.
There exists public and private sector structures that reinforce the vicious cycles of poverty, that high-need communities experience.
Society as a whole has deep-seated and damaging views about families and children in poverty, that perpetuate the cycle of inequity.
As a nation, education inequity impairs our collective economic and social well-being. Unless we all win, we all lose.
- "Education enables rags to riches stories at the individual level as well as higher labour productivity and job creation at the macro level. Everyone benefits when there is good public education regardless of whether they are direct consumers of public education or not."
YB Yeo Bee Yin
Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change
What Does Education Inequity Look Like?
In many communities globally, as well as in Malaysia, children face a variety of barriers to education.
Jeetha faced ideological challenges growing upJeetha loves to speak, but since young she was told by her peers that her voice didn’t matter. People thought she was just “shy” but inside, she longed to express herself.
Shawn faced socio-economic challenges as a student.Shawn grew up poor. Seeing how hard his mother worked to provide for the family, Shawn often skipped lunch to help his mother save on allowance money. He didn't once dream that he might be able to afford a university education.
Melissa Tanya Gomes , a 2013 TFM Alumna, tackles systemic challenges in her daily workMelissa co-founded Edvolution Enterprise, an education service provider focusing on school transformation. In 2018, her team found that 96% of District Education Officers (PPD) from the Timur Laut District, Pulau Pinang faced challenges in building relationships with school leadership and teachers.Source: Edvolution Enterprise Impact Report'
Education inequity is real and measurable.
Here’s what the research says.
- “The education they received… was not of the quality needed for a country with aspirations of reaching a high income status.”Improving Education Sector Performance in Malaysia: Lessons from a Delivery Unit Approach. World Bank GroupRead the Report
- “7% of Malaysian schools were graded as Good, 13% as Fair, and 80% as Poor.”PISA 2009+ Study, Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025Read the Report
- “Those with tertiary education earn up to 3.6 times more than those without a certificate.”The State Of Households 2018: Different Realities. Khazanah Research InstituteRead the Report