Hostel to be built to address absenteeism among Orang Asli pupils
Last Update: 23/06/2019
KUALA TERENGGANU, June 23 (Bernama) -- A hostel will be built at Sekolah Kebangsaan Sungai Berua in Hulu Terengganu to overcome the problem of absenteeism among Orang Asli pupils.
Terengganu Education Department (JPNT) director Shafruddin Ali Hussin said an allocation of RM800,000 for the construction cost was fully funded by the Terengganu Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council (Maidam).
“It can accommodate 100 pupils at one time and our goal is to place Year Five and Year Six pupils at the hostel to familiarise them with the mainstream education system.
"The site of the hostel has been identified near the school field. At the moment, we are still waiting for approval from the Education Policy Planning and Research Division, Ministry of Education to continue the construction of the hostel,” he told reporters at the Adilfitri celebrations organised by the Terengganu Education Department here, today.
He was commenting on the drop in attendance of the Orang Asli pupils which was increasingly noticeable over the last two weeks as they followed their parents into the forest amid fears of the spread of measles which started from Kuala Koh, Gua Musang in Kelantan.
Shafruddin said, normally the attendance level of pupils at the school reached 70 per cent of the total 104 pupils but had fallen drastically to 15 per cent since the disease had spread among the Orang Asli communities.
“The school management went down to the ground to persuade the pupils to come to school and Tok Batin also helped us in this process. As a result, the attendance increased to 19 pupils last Thursday compared to just 13 pupils before.
“At the same time, we are also working closely with the Terengganu Health Department to monitor the health of pupils present, including having health screening and talks on personal hygiene as well as cleanliness of the surrounding areas,” he said.
The department also would not take disciplinary action on students who have been absent instead take prudent approaches such as counselling to raise their awareness, he said.