A study of factors contributing to educational advantage/disadvantage in the Malaysian context.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
An important area of educational concern all over the world is the problem of educational disadvantage. It represents not only an important aspect of inequality of opportunity, but also a cause of social injustice. This is no less true in Malaysia where increasingly, attention has been directed to ways of ameliorating this problem. This research study concentrates on the above problem. It attempts to examine factors considered important in contributing to educational advantage and disadvantage in Malaysia. It does this by testing the relationship of certain variables to success or failure in the Lower Certificate of Education (LCE), in particular, in the technologically important subjects of Science and Mathematics. An attempt is also made to explore the relationship of need-achievement factors to success or failure in LCE, and hence in educational advantage/disadvantage. Method and Procedure The sample consisted of 1,374 third formers in English medium secondary schools in Klang, Malaysia. Both boys and girls of the three racial groups were included. The survey instruments included teachers' ratings of the socioeconomic status and need-achievement of pupils, a questionnaire, a need-achievement test, a job-values inventory, and LCE results published by the Ministry of Education Malaysia. The chi-square test of significance was used in the testing of some thirty hypotheses, using a severe level of significance to minimize errors in rejecting or accepting the null hypotheses. Many combinations of relationships between variables were also examined by chi-square for exploratory purposes. Finally, the Automatic Interaction Detection (AID) technique was used to identify predictor variables which explained best the variance in criterion variables. Summary of Major Findings Results of analyses showed that many factors operate to produce educational advantage/disadvantage in Malaysia, the chief being socioeconomic. These factors also combined to produce an important mediatory factor - need-achievement, which affects success or failure in LCE. The most important component of need-achievement is, however, the actual striving sub-factor. The ideological component is less important. Racial differences in these two components of need-achievement are obvious. Malay pupils tend to show a higher acceptance of the ideology of achievement than the Chinese or the Indians, but, as measured by teachers ratings, they tend to strive less hard in practice than the Chinese. Thus, different racial groups showed different degrees of success in LCE. The Chinese tend to achieve better LCE grades than the Malays or the Indians. There are also many interactions between predictor variables to produce a combined effect on criterion variables. This is best shown by the "trees" of educational advantage/disadvantage developed through the technique of AID analysis. The non-symmetrical shape of the tree shows clearly' the interaction between the variables at each branch. These results point to the conclusion that if one is from a home of high socio-economic status, one is more likely to obtain educational advantage than one who comes from a low setio-economic status home.