Some 50 at-risk students attended a motivational talk organised by SMK Taman Selesa Jaya in collaboration with the Johor Bahru District Education Office or Pejabat Pelajaran Daerah Johor Baru (PPD JB).
While most public secondary schools are dealing with absenteeism among a host of problems with their students, records indicate a drastic increase of such cases in the last two decades.
In view of this, a ‘Motivation for Personal Excellence’ event was arranged with a half-day programme of talks by guest speakers, aimed at giving students an awareness of their error in consistently being absent from school and its dire consequences if this behavior went unchecked.
In the current education system, Form Five students and school-leavers are issued with a School Leaving Certificate where the remarks recorded included the number of days the student was absent from school.
Students who do not hold a SPM certificate would present their School Leaving Certificate when they apply for a job or the next course of study. And if the certificate showed that the student was a regular absentee, this would reflect badly on his/her character and may not be considered for the job.
With the support of school Principal, Safar Zainal, a team of teachers and counsellors identified the group of at-risk students and invited them to the event.
“The success is yours and for your own future”, said the Principal as he encouraged the Form Four and Form Five students to work hard to pass their SPM examination.
Students were advised not to waste their education opportunity but to look further into their future and have no regrets later because life could get challenging without this certificate.
They were reminded that while schools have to maintain their rules and regulations, it was not worth it if students were expelled due to absenteeism.
Guest speaker, professional photographer, Nicholas Vincent of Nworks Photography, the first Indian from Johor to be added into the prestigious Master Photographers Association UK in 2015, encouraged the students with his own journey to success.
After his talk, there was a tea break and it was encouraging that four students stayed back and approached Nicholas to ask more questions about a career in photography. Sensing their genuine interest and to encourage them to pursue photography as a hobby, Nicholas offered to give these students a basic course in photography.
When Inspector Wong Chee Hoong walked into the room, there was complete silence. Inspector Wong did not mince his words as he shared his experience about dealing with youths arrested for crimes that were committed on behalf of their tah-ker, Mandarin jargon for ‘big brother’ or crime lord.
As the Officer-in-charge of the Iskandar Puteri Police Station, Inspector Wong said he often received requests from organisations to check the backgrounds of job applicants to ascertain if they had any criminal record.
He explained that a criminal record is permanent and it would affect future career opportunities because the reality is, employers are not likely to employ anyone with a criminal record.
He went on to share about his own career in the Police force and encouraged the students to work towards achieving the minimum qualifications to join the service.
After providing the motivational input as beneficial alternatives to absenteeism, the school hopes that it would steer the students towards changing their attitude and instead, aim for personal excellence and a better future for themselves.