KOTA KINABALU: It is estimated that only around 16,000 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) leavers in Sabah pursue higher education, said ATI College (ATIC) chief executive officer Datuk Wong Khen Thau yesterday.
Wong said that more than 20,000 out of the estimated 36,000 qualified SPM leavers in Sabah do not pursue tertiary education at all.
“These figures are very significant and they deserve very significant attention if we are serious in our manpower development,” he said at the ATIC 18th convocation ceremony here.
Wong added that although there may not be enough slots at public higher learning institutes, there was ample capacity at private higher learning institutes.
“I was given to understand that there are more than 10,000 seats available among all the members of the IPTS (private higher learning institutes) in Sabah,” he said.
Wong pointed out that the two major factors that hinder school leavers from enrolling into higher learning institutes in Sabah are the lack of interest and confidence to continue their studies and financial constraints.
He explained that the PTPTN loan does not provide subsistence and accommodation allowances.
He urged the State Government to consider a separate funding for potential candidates of higher learning institutes in Sabah and insist that it be given more control in the State’s own education funding and planning.
“It is time that we should consider the priority of our educational transformation and advancement. The pre-condition for economic success in any nation building is the success in the development of its human capital resources,” he said.