MALAYSIA - A total of 449,067 Year One pupils started their first day of schooling nationwide, which began yesterday for Kedah, Johor, Terengganu and Kelantan, and today for other states.
An Education Ministry official said the figure, however, would likely go up due to late registrations by parents.
"The number of students will increase as it is normal to have parents registering their children at the last minute."
He said the figure is an increase of 9,600 students as compared with the number of Year One pupils registered last year.
Education Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof said all 5.4 million students in primary and secondary schools nationwide were eligible to receive the RM100 aid each.
"The aid will be distributed to all students, including those in private schools."
Education Minister II Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh last week had revealed that RM540 million had been allocated the aid and the ministry would start distributing after Jan 15.
In Johor, a total of 58,903 Year One pupils began their school year in primary schools all over the state yesterday.
A Johor Education Department spokesman said the figure did not include any late registrations by parents at the respective schools or cases of transfers from other states.
"All the schools in Johor opened as usual today (yesterday). There were none that had to close because of floods or any other reasons."
Checks at several schools showed there were a mix of emotions among the new pupils, with some feeling excited to begin schooling while others were nervous and anxious.
Parents were also seen patiently waiting outside the classrooms while accompanying their children.
In Kedah, state Education Department director Mansor Lat said the new school term saw the enrolment of 33,467 Year One and 36,328 Form One students.
Mansor advised parents of pupils whose names were missing from the new school session's list to refer to the respective district education offices (PPD).
"We are now implementing a new online system for Year One enrolment.
For those whose names were missing due to technical glitches are advised to seek assistance at respective PPD.
"We will check on the matter and have the children to start the school session based on their application immediately."
Nervous Year One pupils were seen clinging to their parents and some burst into tears when their parents were out of sight.
Most of the parents of the 7-year-old children had to take a day off from work to ensure their children were comfortable and adjusted to the new surrounding at school.
In Kelantan, State Education Department director Hussain Awang said a total of 25,672 Year One pupils began their first day of school in 418 schools.
He said they were among 329,678 students who began their new school session in 591 schools, of which 173 were secondary schools.
In Terengganu, the floods early last month did not affect the new session when all 19 affected schools reopened as usual yesterday, Bernama reported.
State Education Department director Zakaria Husin said the flood-hit schools had been cleaned before the session started.
"The schools were cleaned up. Their furniture, damaged text books and other educational tools have been replaced."
He said 17,481 pupils entered Year One at 350 primary schools and 21,923 Form One students started their schooling sessions at 143 secondary schools.