One for the Books

Malaysia Tatler - - LIFE -

Matthew Spa­cie

“We’re com­mit­ted to hold­ing their hands all the way through the seven-year jour­ney. We want them to go to school, stay in school and get graded and cer­ti­fied prop­erly,” ex­plained Spa­cie when he was in Sin­ga­pore in April for the eighth Magic Bus gala din­ner. “We work with their schools to put tech­nol­ogy into the cur­ricu­lum and en­vi­ron­ment so as to pre­pare them for the work­force in the fu­ture.” The em­pha­sis at Magic Bus is on ed­u­cat­ing not just chil­dren, but also fam­i­lies who are en­trenched in the coun­try’s pa­tri­ar­chal sys­tem. Ac­cord­ing to the statis­tics gath­ered by Magic Bus, only 30 per cent of ado­les­cents have higher sec­ondary qual­i­fi­ca­tions. Which means for ev­ery 10 youths, seven are not en­rolled in or drop out of school. The rea­sons vary, but com­mon ones in­clude girls be­ing made to stay at home to care for younger sib­lings, or forced into child mar­riages; and young boys be­ing ex­pected to be­come first-gen­er­a­tion wage earn­ers. Par­tic­i­pants of the Child­hood to Liveli­hood pro­gramme by Magic Bus are en­cour­aged to com­plete their sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion and are then in­tro­duced to avail­able mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties

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