Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Removing barriers to education

Child rights coalition voices concern over a new policy requiring stateless children to produce a passport in order to enrol in school.

Other News

Universiti tempatan tidak faham apa yang penting dalam penyelidikan, terperangkap dengan ‘penjajahan akademik’

Ahli akademik Faisal Tehrani mengatakan ranking antarabangsa adalah salah satu bentuk penjajahan seperti yang pernah disebut oleh Syed Husein Alatas.

‘Caught’ in ranking game, local unis miss what matters in research

Academic Faisal Tehrani warns against the 'yes man' culture, saying the strength of a university's research culture depends on the society around it.

Durian trade battered as lockdown bites

With the roadside stalls where people usually eat the fruits largely empty of customers, sales have plummeted.

Why the government should not deport Myanmar migrants

The risk of inadvertently breaching international legal obligations and causing undocumented workers to avoid getting vaccinated against Covid-19 are some of the reasons the government should rethink its plan.

Penolong pegawai agama mengaku tidak bersalah terima suapan RM26,800

Tertuduh Nurul Hazlin mengaku tidak bersalah selepas kesemua pertuduhan dibacakan di hadapan Hakim Abdul Kamal Arifin Ismail.

Malaysia has long recognised the crucial role education plays in a child’s development and prospects. However, the education ministry has brought in a new policy which will deprive some of the most vulnerable children living here of schooling.

It has recently come to light that children who are stateless are now expected to produce a passport to be able to enrol in schools and even children who were accepted in the past have been asked to produce one to be able to continue. By definition children who are stateless cannot apply for a passport so this policy change will create insurmountable barriers for them. Most of these children have been born in Malaysia and know no other country.

As a coalition of NGOs concerned for children’s well-being and the protection of their rights, we are very concerned about this new criteria and urge the Malaysian government to return to the earlier zero-reject policy which states that every child should be accepted into school without any reservations while efforts are being made to provide them with proper documentation.

To do anything less would contravene the spirit of the United Nation Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) of which Malaysia is a signatory. The United Nations is shortly to review Malaysia’s progress to full compliance, and we are certain that this bureaucratic hurdle will be raised and criticised. Preventing undocumented children from receiving proper education is likely to be seen as a regressive step taken by the government coming so shortly after the welcomed zero-reject policy was launched.

With all the current difficulties children are facing over their education due to the pandemic, it is worrying that a new barrier has been erected for some of the most marginalised children in the country.

We trust the problem will be swiftly rectified by the government now it has been brought to their attention.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of MalaysiaNow.

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates:

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news and analyses.

Related Articles

Decline of varsities, rush for rankings traced back to ‘academic imperialism’

Chandra Muzaffar says an obsession with global rankings has a role in the overall decline of local universities, but it also reflects Malaysia's status-conscious society.

WHO backs AstraZeneca jab in boost for poor countries

While inoculation drives have been gaining pace, with nearly 172 million vaccine doses given worldwide, most of the jabs have so far gone to richer countries.

Sorry, what? Speaking English still a struggle for many despite mandatory classes

Much of the emphasis in school is placed on writing as opposed to speaking, with few opportunities given for students to use the language in real-life contexts.

No more falling behind in classes as help brings enough gadgets for all

The many children in the family of Shaifol Bahri Mustaffa Kamalluddin and Norilla Mustafa Albakri can now follow all of their lessons thanks to the donation of six tablets.

Malaysian academics among the top in ‘fraudulent’ publications found in global database

The revelation calls into question not only Malaysia's quality of research but also the credibility of global university rankings.