Unicef: Malaysia’s education roadblock leaving over 41,000 refugee kids in dire straits

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, June 20 — Malaysia must urgently address the total lack of educational access for refugee and stateless children in the country, Unicef said today.

In a statement in conjunction with World Refugee Day, Unicef noted that none of the over 41,000 refugee children of school-going age registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) here have any access to formal education.

“Education is a fundamental right, yet too many refugee and stateless children are not in school,” the UN agency said.

The organisation pointed out that only 34 per cent of these children could get access to informal education through alternative learning centres, leaving many without recognised credentials, social networks, or mentors.

It also raised concerns about the legal risks these children face, including the threat of arrest and detention, with more than 1,400 children reportedly held in immigration detention centres as of September 2023.

Unicef further stressed that the exclusion from education significantly hampers the ability of these children to lead dignified lives and reach their full potential.

It then called for adherence to the principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which include non-discrimination and the right to life, survival, and development.

The organisation urged for the strengthening of inclusive national systems to ensure that all children, regardless of status, have access to essential services like education, healthcare, and social protection​.