6 April 2015


Rising crime rates among dropouts – why are they not in school in the first place?

Kuala Lumpur, 4 April 2015 – Earlier this week Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced the reactivation of the Rakan Cop programme and school crime prevention clubs (The Star, 30 March 2015). This is being done to counter the rising crime rates among dropouts.

IDEAS’ Senior Researcher, Tamanna Patel, commented, “While this is an attempt at reducing crime rates, IDEAS views this as a palliative measure which misses the point. The question that needs to be asked is why are these children out of school in the first place? “

“IDEAS’ education survey of low-income households in 2014 gave some insight into why students tend to drop out. For parents the main reasons their children dropped out were the child’s lack of interest in school, parents’ inability to afford education-related expenses and child’s poor academic performance,” she adds.

Concerned that there is a lack of data on dropouts and out-of-school children, Tamanna suggests that keeping track of the number of dropouts and working on solutions to retain these students in the education system should be made a priority. “Crime is one of the many opportunity costs to society of students dropping out of school. In fact, a study done on dropouts in the US have shown that an individual who completes his or her secondary education earns 50 to 100 percent more than a peer who drops out.”

Finally she noted, “The MOE should work on longer term solutions that address some of the underlying causes behind students dropping out, not just stop-gap measures as announced by the Home Minister, to reduce the increasing crime rate and prevent larger scale societal problems in the future.”


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IDEAS is Malaysia’s first think-tank dedicated to promoting market-based solutions to public policy challenges. We are an independent not-for-profit organisation. As a cross-partisan think tank, we work across the political spectrum. Our purpose is to advance market-based principles, and we are not bound by party politics, race or religion.

Our mission is to improve the level of understanding and acceptance of public policies based on the principles of rule of law, limited government, free markets and free individuals. For more information, please visit

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