In response to the objections to the establishment of Iskul Sama DiLaut Omadal, an alternative learning centre on Omadal Island, Sabah, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) wishes to reaffirm its commitment to the fundamental right to education for all and its role in humanising and developing individuals.
Suhakam, alongside the Indonesia National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHRP), aligned with the tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on statelessness in Sabah, had visited the centre on 8 September.
During this engagement, Suhakam observed firsthand the significant impact of Iskul’s efforts in providing literacy training to the stateless children.
Recognising the vital role Iskul plays in addressing educational gaps for these stateless children, the Sabah Suhakam office convened a meeting in November to explore avenues of support for Iskul’s continued operations and their application to be registered as an alternative guidance centre.
While Suhakam commends the establishment of Sekolah Bimbingan Jalinan Kasih (SBJK), which aims to provide access to equal education for all young people, including dropouts, street kids and undocumented children in Sabah, we hope Iskul will be allowed to continue its operations. In addition, we also hope the existing SBJK will be provided with proper facilities to ensure the children will receive quality and equitable, inclusive education.
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In furtherance of the above and the government’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – that no child is left behind in the pursuit of quality education – Suhakam therefore calls for more concrete collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Education, local community leaders, NGOs and other relevant stakeholders to address the educational needs of Omadal Island’s children, regardless of their background.
Suhakam firmly believes that providing a safe space for children to access education will eventually promote lifelong learning opportunities and underscore the importance of due diligence and non-discrimination on access to education for all children in Malaysia.
Suhakam stands ready to cooperate and assist the government to address this matter. – Suhakam