Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Free Education at government schools for all children of migrants in Malaysia...

Education for children of undocumented migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia was the question that was raised by Teresa Kok (DAP Member of Parliament) to the Minister of Education. Below is the question and answer (with my translation of the question and the answer into English). See below.

Malaysia has ratified the Child Rights Convention, but have had a reservation on the right to education.....


Convention on the Children’s Rights was officially accepted by consensus by the 44th Assembly of the United Nations on 20 November 1989. On 26 January 1990, the Convention was open for signature while celebrating the 30th anniversary of Children International Year (1979-1989). Convention on the Children’s Rights was implemented on 2 September 1990 after 30 days it was recognized by 20 countries.

The Malaysian Government had signed the Convention on the Children’s Rights on 28 December 1994 and implemented it on 7 February 1995. However, the government had made reservation on the clauses 1, 2, 7, 13, 14, 15, 22, 28, 37 and 40 because they are against the national policy, laws and practice. However, those reservations will be reversed when situation and time are suitable to the government. On 25 February 1999, the government had reversed several reservations while maintaining reservation on clauses 1, 2, 7, 13, 14, 15, 28 para 1(a) and clause 37.

Generally, the Convention on the Children’s Rights sets in motion for the government to be more responsible towards the well-being of the children by recognizing their rights. The Convention also elucidates the children’s needs which are different from the adults. - Official Website of the Social Welfare Department of Malaysia

Note that Malaysia has a reservation with regard to even something as basic as free primary education for all children...

Article 28

1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to education, and with a view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity, they shall, in particular:

(a) Make primary education compulsory and available free to all;- Convention on the Rights of the Child

The said Parliamentary Written Question and Answer, which I have taken from Teresa Kok's blog. The translation to English is mine.



Puan Teresa Kok Suh Sim (Seputeh) minta MENTERI PELAJARAN menyatakan bilangan anak pelarian yang belajar di sekolah rendah dan sekolah menengah di Negara kita dan prosedur memasuki sekolah tempatan. Memandangkan keturunan pelarian dan orang asing tanpa izin di Negara kita ini semakin meningkat, bagaimanakah kerajaan menangani masalah pendidikan di kalangan keturunan orang asing tanpa izin dan pelarian tersebut.

Madam Teresa Kok Suh Sim (Seputeh) asked the Minisiter of Education to state the number of refugee children that are studying in primary and secondary schools in this country, and the procedure for registering these local schools. Since the numbers of refugees and undocumented migrants are on the rise in our country, how will the government deal with the problem of education for children of the said refugees and undocumented migrants. [A rough translation by me from Bahasa Melayu to English]


Tuan Yang Di-Pertua.

Kementarian Pelajaran Malaysia (KPM) menghargai sumbangan kementerian-kementerian lain dan pihak NGO dalam usaha menangani isu pendidikan golongan pelarian dan pemohon perlindungan. Walau bagaimanapun, pada masa ini Kerajaan masih mengkaji secara terperinci implikasi sekiranya kanak-kanak daripada golongan ini diterima masuk untuk belajar di sekolah kerajaan. Sehubungan itu, satu kajian menyeluruh berkaitan “Pendidikan Kanak-Kanak Tanpa Dokumen Pengenalan Diri Di Malaysia” sedang dijalankan sekarang oleh KPM. Namun, pada masa ini kanak-kanak tersebut mendapat pendidikan yang disediakan oleh pihak NGO dan sukarelawan daripada kaum pendatang dengan kerjasama UNHCR. Agensi Kerajaan juga ada menyediakan pendidikan seperti yang dilakukan oleh Pasukan Petugas Khas Persekutuan (Sabah dan Labuan), Majlis Keselamatan Negara bagi kanak-kanak tanpa dokumen di Sabah dan Labuan.

The Ministry of Education of Malaysia(MEM) appreciates the contributions of other Ministries and NGOs in dealing with the issue of education of refugees and asylum seekers. However, at this time, the Government is still studying the implications if children of these groups were accepted into to study in government schools. In line with that, a comprehensive research is being conducted on "Education of Children Without Identity Documents in Malaysia" now by MEM. However, at this time the said children are getting education provided by NGOs and volunteers from amongst the migrants with the cooperation of the UNHCR> Government agencies are also providing education as is being done by the Special Federal Taskforce (Sabah and Labuan), National Security Council for children without documentation in Sabah and Labuan.

We really must campaign for education for all children - irrespective of whether they are children of locals or foreigners - irrespective whether they are refugees, asylum seekers or undocumented migrants.

All children should have access to free education in government schools...In Thailand, all children have access to free education in Thai schools until they complete their secondary education...If the childrens do not have identity document - temporary identity documents could be provided by the government of Malaysia (Ministry of Education). Caring Malaysians, I believe, will not be complaining about the cost of educating these children..


nckeat88 said...

This is utterly rubbish. The UN or the developed countries must give us money to run these program. We already have limited resources. Year after year we are fighting for the scholarship even between the Malaysian. What else left to give to the migrants. These migrants are bunch of parasites and should be send back to their own countries at all cost. This is all about racecourses. I am not willing to let our tax payer money to be given to others except malaysian. Somebody have to foot the bill for these people.


yes,..o.k let say..we are legially..nothing problem for everythings.but when child his or her parents is migrants ...child nothing know about his life? how hard. then if no education on child...when child become adult ...what happen on his life.
i mean.whosoever education is very very importance to human please let them schooling.