PUTRAJAYA, March 10 (Bernama) — Denial of rights of children studying in Sekolah Agama Rakyat (SAR) to obtain the same level of education enjoyed by children in government schools contradicts an international treaty and the provisions of the Constitution, according to an advocacy group.
The Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy in Malaysia in a statement here today, said the children affected include those studying in private religious schools, tahfiz, madrasas, ‘pondok’ and Al-Quran and Fardu Ain (KAFA) classes.
This denial clearly contradicts the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was ratified by Malaysia on Feb 17, 1995, besides contradicting specific provisions for Muslim children and religious schools enshrined in the Constitution of Malaysia, it said.
“Although this has been going on for years and has often been talked about, but until now there has been no comprehensive and integrated efforts to resolve this,” the statement said.
More disappointing, it said there was still discriminatory practices against children and Sekolah Agama Rakyat made by administrators of the education bureaucracy, especially at the state and district levels.
“This is mainly to give the same opportunity and space to gain access and facilities enjoyed by children in government schools.
“It will be reasonable for the future of the country in facing the challenges of globalisation and to be internationally competitive, if the Sekolah Agama Rakyat is accepted as a strategic partner in the development of the country and not a competitor, to ensure that human resources generated through the alternative education system is harnessed for the benefit of the country,” the statement added.