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This paper is an overview of the results of IDEAS’ nationwide education survey of households in the bottom 40 percent.

The average household income of the respondents was RM 919 per month. With over 1,200 households surveyed in six states across Malaysia, including Sabah and Sarawak, the results provide a glimpse into the barriers faced by low-income parents in Malaysia when they try to provide an education for their children. This paper elaborates on the five main findings which stood out from the data collected:

  1. Information Gap: There is an information gap between government education plans and the information received by the poor.
  2. Accessibility to Education Aid: Government education aid is not reaching the needy.
  3. Lack of interest in school continues to drive students to drop out at an early age.
  4. Education Expenses: Education related expenses continue to be a burden for parents from low-income households.
  5. School Accessibility: Accessibility to schools continues to limit choice for parents.

Addendum 14 May 2014

Giving Voice to the Poor Raw Data & Questionnaire

IDEAS has made the raw data and questionnaire from our Giving Voice to the Poor survey on education in Malaysia available to all online in the following files:

1)    Excel file – raw data (click here to download)

2)    PDF file – questionnaire (click here to download)

You will need to download both files in order to understand the data fully. The questionnaire is coded and those codes are then used in the excel file with the complete raw data. Please feel free to download and use the data for any research purposes. However, please be sure to credit IDEAS if you, as an individual, or your organisation utilise the above information.

Crediting IDEAS: Institute of Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS). (2013). Giving Voice to the Poor Raw Data. [Microsoft Excel]. Retrieved from

If you have any further questions of clarification please contact Tamanna Patel, Senior Researcher Education at or +60 3 6201 8896 / 8897

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