The Malaysian Education System is chronologically structured, with the initially preschool education, six years of compulsory primary education and followed by five years of secondary education. The constitution highly encourages school enrolment by making primary education compulsory, however, have not made it mandatory for secondary education.
Although the government has made many amendments and improvements over the years to the education system, it is important to note that there are still challenges and limitations arising, such as non-inclusiveness and discrimination issues, especially when a high number of refugees and stateless children are banned from attending the public schools. Furthermore, children living in rural areas are not provided with access to education due to logistical reasons.
This problem stems from the reservation of Article 28 (1)(a) of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) that states the Right to Education. Given the current situation of the Covid-19 Pandemic, online learning has been the main tool for delivery of education but have proven to be unsuccessful. Apart from many other challenges’ children face during this pandemic, many have expressed the inability to have access to the internet and devices as the main obstacle for them in receiving education. This was the case when the OCC held an Online Dialogue on Children’s Right to Education during Covid-19 in Sarawak.
Another topic of concern would be the practice of caning, corporal punishment and expulsion from schools, which is still embedded deeply in the education system. This goes against protecting the dignity of children
and their right to be protected from harm and abuse. While Malaysia still reserves Article 37 of the UNCRC, the OCC has started dialogues with related bodies including teachers on how the practice will affect children and their upbringing.
Lastly, the issue of Tahfiz Schools is a noteworthy topic where the OCC strongly urges the registration of all Tahfiz Schools in the country. By doing that, it is hoped, it will resolve many issues pertaining to abuse and bully, fire break outs and many more. The OCC believes in the policy ‘Education for All’ as lack of education unquestionably invites poor outcomes in the future. Therefore, OCC is working towards persuading the government to improve its education-related policies.