This is an ethnographic research study on the transition from school to work (TSW) experiences of nine Form Five school-leavers in Malaysia who possess different academic abilities and who came from different family and ethnic backgrounds. This study examines how they resolve the work-study dilemma as well as how they made their career choices, indicating that career decisions are linked to the culture and identities of the subjects. In this book, the author endeavors to bring to attention the subjects' experiences as they navigate their way through the social structures that confront them throughout this transitional period. Through the descriptions of their life stories and experiences, he seeks to highlight the dilemmas faced by the young men as well as the often difficult and painful process of decision-making in their TSW. Attention has also been drawn to the structural constraints that they encounter and also the resources and strategies they employ to deal with these constraints. From the study, it is evident that differences in the resources available to the young men is critical in bringing about differences among them with regard to their higher education as well as their employment opportunities.
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Chew Siew Ghee is a school teacher by profession and has been in the field of education since graduating from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) with a BA (Hons.) in Education in 1988. Having spent his entire teaching career in rural schools, he is well acquainted with educating disadvantaged pupils, i.e., those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. He was alarmed by the seeming inability of such pupils to perform well academically as well as make successful transitions into the world of work. His concerns eventually led to him to focus on the transition from school to work of disadvantaged pupils as his area of research for his MA in Education at USM, which he successfully completed in 2003. He was also awarded the Certificate of Distinction for Best Masters Thesis 2003 by the university in recognition of his outstanding work. He is currently exploring various options to pursue his PhD.
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