17,000 university dropouts last year

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PETALING JAYA: No one ever dreams of dropping out of school, especially when you’re at your peak. However, it is sad to see that 17,000 students have dropped out of university in the last year as reported by the government.

Atheana Vasudevan, 23, said after her family lost their sole breadwinner to Covid-19, she was the next to step in and support the family.

“I was in my freshman year when the pandemic hit. Things were going well so far. Then my dad got the virus and the whole family had to be quarantined. We didn’t have a vaccine then,” she said. the sun.

Atheana said her father, who suffered from multiple health issues, succumbed to the virus after a week in quarantine.

“He was the only one keeping the family afloat. My mother, a housewife, could no longer pay for our studies. So I gave up.

“I worked as a teacher for a while before I became a full-time ghost writer for a foreign company. They paid well and that was enough for me to support the family while allowing my younger siblings to pursue their studies,” she said.

When asked if she would ever consider continuing her education, Atheana replied that she would, only if the family was financially stable and she could juggle college and work.

Another affected student, who wanted to be known only as Tim, said he dropped out due to his autoimmune condition called Crohn’s disease – a chronic inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract.

“I was diagnosed with this problem just before starting university. I didn’t gain weight as fast as most people and had diarrhea all the time.

“The doctors told me that I could continue to live normally, but this disease bothered me. I was able to overcome the symptoms for a few weeks. But after a while I realized that it was become too heavy to bear.

“The abdominal pain was excruciating in the morning and slowly becoming bearable later in the day. But it was so bad in the morning that I couldn’t leave my apartment until the afternoon. I was constantly on the toilet.

Eventually Tim was forced to drop out as he had missed too many classes and could not repeat his semesters as it became overwhelming. “I now work as a waiter in a café but I will try to continue my studies if it allows me.”

Sharon Wilson, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Creative Industries at Tunku Abdul Rahman University, said students who drop out of work rarely return to continue their studies as life’s ups and downs take over.

“Finances, family responsibilities, health and other issues take over. Their needs and priorities tend to change. Some may not see the need for a tertiary qualification.

She added that some may feel they have gained experience and progressed through promotions, and therefore choose to continue on the current path of life.

“However, there is a need for university education today. It is not just a piece of paper, but a valuable document that attests to his skills and abilities,” Sharon said.

“Of course, there are those who return to their studies, but the numbers are few. But those who postpone or postpone normally have a clear reason for doing so. »

She said educators need to be aware of the plight of their students and empathize with their plight.

“Allowing alternatives is a way to help students complete their higher education.”

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