Illiteracy among students even after completing Standard Six or upon entering secondary schools still exist in the State, according to State Minister of Education and Innovation, Datuk Dr Yusuf Yacob.
He said such cases are not many but enough to put the Ministry on alert.
"Illiteracy in all aspects shouldn't happen in our State, especially in this modern age," he said, after attending a four-in-one ceremony organised by the Kota Kinabalu District Education Office, at the Magellan Sutera Harbour, Thursday.
He said he was made aware of the situation during his visits to districts across the State and after having seen the reports, was told by district education officers that there are still students who cannot read despite completing Primary Six or when they enter secondary schools.
There are many factors contributing to this, some of which is due to late registration or the students having difficulty in communication.
Dr Yusuf also pointed out the need to expose children to the many options in life other than just being job seekers upon graduation.
"This should be implanted into their minds from an early age, expose them to the modern present demands, that entrepreneurship is the new direction in the Industry 4.0, expose them to the digital era," he said.
He said this is important to prevent culture shock when they enter the job market, or when they go to secondary schools or universities.
"This is something that I am very concerned about, especially when I visit rural schools, they don't understand all this, teachers need to change their attitude, perhaps they (teachers) need to also enhance their knowledge," he said.
On another matter, he said there are 1,296 schools in Sabah and of this, 587 are dilapidated.
Out of the 587 dilapidated schools, 90 have been declared unsafe by the Public Works Department.
He said the State needs RM3 billion to repair all 587 dilapidated schools and he would continue to negotiate with the Finance Ministry and Education Ministry on how to address the matter.
He also said that following recent negotiations, the Finance Ministry and Education Ministry approved an additional RM78 million to repair or replace 15 dilapidated schools which are in very critical stage in Sabah.
This is in addition to the RM10 million for three critically dilapidated schools in Sabah.
He said the 15 schools were identified based on priority, and have no issues in terms of land titles.
On top of that, a total of RM6 million has also been approved for immediate minor repairs on schools, while another RM12 million will be coming for the same purpose.
"We hope to resolve this within the near future, we cannot wait until the schools collapse, we have to find a way," he said.
"This is a long standing issue which we inherited from the past administration, but this is not the time to blame anyone, it is now our responsibility to address this. "Thus, I hope officers in the Ministry and State Education Department understand this," he said.
They also hope the people understand that new State Government is not keeping quiet and are taking action to address the matter.
"The State Government is concern about the education system and infrastructure, I hope our efforts will somehow change the landscape of infrastructure of our education in Sabah," he said.
Meanwhile, the four events were the Excellence Services Awards (APC) to teachers in Kota Kinabalu, Teachers Day, Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Kaamatan Festival.
The APC was awarded to 373 recipients, while two recipients, namely Ahmadseh Ahmad @ Ali and Awang Damit Mataim @ Mohd Yusof Mataim, were awarded the Anugerah Tokoh Kepimpinan and Anugerah Guru PPD Kota Kinabalu 2019, respectively.
Also present was Kota Kinabalu District Education Officer, Tah Niah Jaman, among others.