KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) today urged the government to establish more Sekolah Bimbingan Jalinan Kasih (SBJK) to provide undocumented children in the country with access to education and a brighter future.
The next step would be to allow them to pursue higher education, Suhakam commissioner Professor Datuk Noor Aziah Mohd Awal said in a news conference after the launch of a policy brief titled “Realising the Rights of Education for Refugee and Stateless Children in Malaysia” here.
“The Education Ministry has SBJK. We hope that it can be expanded so these undocumented children can have a better future and can end up in universities and secondly recognise the alternative schools,” she said.
Noor Aziah said there is currently only one SBJK in the entire country and that is in Chow Kit, right in the heart of the national capital.
“If the ministry could create one SBJK in Kuala Lumpur, why not other states?” she asked.
She said SBJKs are necessary because the school follows the curriculum as prepared by the Education Ministry.
In contrast, she noted that other schools available to undocumented children do not follow the official national syllabus and usually cost more as they are also private.
“When the curriculum is not integrated, it’s difficult for these children to pursue their education to a higher level. It’s not the same as SBJK,” said Suhakam child commissioner Farah Nini Dusuki, who was also present at the same news conference.
She said the ultimate aim is to ensure that all children are eligible for public schools.
She emphasised that alternative schools provide access so no child is deprived of an education.
“You don’t lose out when you open more pathways for these children, you only stand to gain,” Farah Nini said.