[News] Foreign minister: More needs to be done for refugee children’s education in Malaysia

Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah speaks during a press conference on standard operating procedures (SOP) at filming locations and cinemas at GSC Mid Valley Kuala Lumpur in this file picture taken on March 20, 2021. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah speaks during a press conference on standard operating procedures (SOP) at filming locations and cinemas at GSC Mid Valley Kuala Lumpur in this file picture taken on March 20, 2021. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

Monday, 20 Jun 2022 5:17 PM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, June 20 — More needs to be done to facilitate the refugee children’s education in Malaysia, namely in providing accreditation for those who have acquired certain level of knowledge and skills so that they could further their studies, said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah.

The minister said while the country has been facilitating civil society organisations (CSOs) in organising and conducting schooling for the children through Alternative Learning Centres (ALCs), there is a need to improve the refugee education management.

“For instance, how best can we assist in terms of teacher training and accrediting boys and girls who have acquired some level of knowledge and skills to enable them to further their studies. It is about putting things in a more cohesive manner… we may need proper Cabinet paper to get this thing done, Wisma Putra is ever willing to lead the preparation of the paper.

Saifuddin said this when met by reporters after attending a high-level roundtable discussion on refugee education in the context of Malaysia’s commitment to inclusive education and the realisation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 at the International Islamic University Malaysia here in conjunction with World Refugee Day 2022, today.

He noted that Malaysia has been hosting thousands of refugee children and it is only proper and humane to ensure they have access to education, adding that only some 30 per cent of refugee children have been undergoing education at ALCs.

The minister stressed that it has been a government policy not to allow children of refugees to study at public schools, instead the government facilitated the CSOs that manage schooling for the refugee children through ALCs.

He said Malaysia although not being a party to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, has been rendering assistance and protection to refugees on humanitarian grounds including education and health.

Saifuddin in a tweet post later shared that Malaysia must pursue education for refugees because it is in the country’s national interest to ensure sustainable return, successful resettlement and contribution to society. — Bernama

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