hit counter for tumblr
CPPS - Centre for Public Policy Studies
  • Home
  • About Us
  • Events
  • Policy Areas
  • Publication
  • Resources
  • Be in The Loop
Election Watch

無國籍兒童受教育的權利 / Stateless Children Rights to Education

Sin Chew Daily
April 5, 2016

By YC Yap


教育普及化不只是赤貧國家才有的問題,發展中國家如馬來西亞的邊疆地區也存在這一挑戰。馬來西亞教育普及化的挑戰之一,在於無國籍兒童因缺乏一個合法的國籍身份,以及經濟條件或地理位置偏遠等因素而無法獲得義務教育。

馬來西亞許多州屬都有基於不同社會背景與原因衍生的無國籍兒童,據說沙巴是情況最嚴重的州屬。根據媒體的報道,生活在沙巴州社會邊緣群體中的無國籍兒童估計約有5萬2千人。

他們可能是通過合法或非法途徑入境沙巴州從事農業勞動的印尼勞工的後裔;有的可能是多年前菲律賓南部發生爭端時逃亡到沙巴的難民後裔;也有的可能是長久以來生活在沙巴沿海與印尼及菲律賓海域的海上遊牧民族巴瑤人的孩子。

國外媒體半島電視台曾有攝制隊探訪在沙巴州的無國籍兒童生活的村莊。在缺乏教育資源的偏遠地區,孩子在本該上學的年齡隨處遊蕩,有的甚至集結成群以吸入強力膠的方式嘗試消除饑餓感。

據說,在沙巴斗湖的街頭經常有來自海上巴瑤族的孩子乞討幫補家用。根據當地大學社會學者的說法,生活在海上的遊牧民族的孩子之所以需要來到陸地上乞討,是因為他們在近年來,隨著海洋保育區的建立而失去了大片捕魚的場域,加上原始捕魚的方式不當導致漁產減少才會致使生計無以為繼。倘若他們可以接受基礎教育,或許就不需小小年紀流落街頭乞討為生。

根據聯合國兒童基金會的一項研究報告(Reaching the Unreached)指出,馬來西亞《1996年教育法令》明確規定每個孩子有權接受素質教育,以確保個體的潛能開發與國家發展。基於這些兒童無國籍的身份,他們必須繳交學費才能接受教育,然而對於處於社會邊緣的家庭而言,教育是一件奢侈品。儘管難民與無國籍兒童可以通過文書手續申請“學生卡”,但申請過程複雜繁瑣是一道不易跨越的門檻。

由此,聯合國兒童基金會在此研究報告提出了一個方案並已落實,且有相應的成果,即與教育部合作的“替代學習計劃”(Alternative Learning Programmes)。在偏遠的鄉村地區設立一個教育中心,開設基礎語言、數學、生活技能等課程。報告指出,儘管是個別的案例,但參與計劃的無國籍學生取得了明顯的學習成果。

事實上,聯合國兒童基金會不是第一個在當地開設教育中心的組織。此前還有韓國的非營利組織在當地開設教育中心,還有與印尼政府合作的Humana兒童援助協會等。儘管有許多非盈利組織已為無國籍兒童提供了政府學校以外的教育選擇,然而這些努力都只是杯水車薪。

無國籍兒童的教育問題讓從事社會發展的工作者傷透了腦筋,儘管課題複雜但不應就此將兒童受教育的權利掃在地毯下。正視問題若能從人道主義的立場出發,承認人人都有受教育的權利,或許就能在針對無國籍兒童的爭論中找到一個共同的基礎(common ground).


Translation:

The world’s poorest countries are not alone in facing the challenges of promoting universal education as the same struggles can be seen in the outskirt regions near the borders of developing countries like Malaysia. In Malaysia’s, there are challenges in promoting universal education to the stateless children, who are deprived of compulsory education due to the lack of a legal status, poverty or geography barriers.

Though all Malaysian states face the issue of stateless children due to various reasons, the situation in Sabah is the most severe. According to media reports, there are around 52,000 stateless children living at the brink of Sabah’s society.

They come from various sources of origin, from descendants of the legal or illegal Indonesian labourers who work in the agriculture sectors, or the children of refugees who fled conflict areas in Southern Philippines many years ago. They could also be the children of the nomadic Bajau Laut ethnic group, who live around the territorial waters of Sabah, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Al Jazeera once conducted a documentary of the villages in Sabah where these stateless children live. In the remote areas where there is a lack of education facilities, these children, who should be in school, were found aimlessly wandering around. Some even gathered on the street, sniffing glue in the attempt to cover up their sense of hunger.

According to the locals in Tawau, the children of Bajau Laut are constantly present, begging for alms all over the streets of town. Local university academicians explain that the reason these nomads, who have been living with the sea, are forced to come to shore to beg due to the establishment of marine conservation areas in recent times, which have caused them to lose their fishing grounds. Moreover, their traditional fishing methods are unsustainable and has resulted in the reduction of fish production, leading to an overall unsustainable livelihood. If these children were given the opportunity and access to basic education, perhaps they wouldn’t end up begging on the streets at this very young age.

Based on a report published by UNICEF Malaysia, the 1996 Education Act clearly states that ‘each child has the right to quality education enabling an individual potential for national development’. Yet, due to their legal status, they will have to pay school fees to access the formal education. Education fees, though in small amounts, are a burden to the marginalised group. Although refugees and stateless children can apply for student cards through paperwork, these procedures are barriers to them.

The UNICEF report eventually led to the Alternative Learning Programme, leading to the setting up of education centres in remote rural villages. The syllabus provided in such centres cater for literacy, numeracy, life skills, and civic mindedness.  The report pointed out that in several cases, the stateless children who participated in the programme have seen much improvement in the skills provided.

In fact, UNICEF is not the first organisation to set up education centres in the region. Previously, a Korean NGO, the Humana Children Aid Society and others have also helped to set up such centres. Although there were several non-profit organisation already providing alternative options accessing education, such efforts are still far from adequate.

The provision of education to stateless children has been both challenging and controversial. Though the issue is complicated, we cannot ignore the rights of children and should confront the problem from a humanitarian perspective, and admit that every human being has the right to education. Perhaps from there, we could find common ground in the arguments towards helping the stateless children.

 

View original article on the Sin Chew Daily

Back to Top


Copyright © 2011 CPPS. All Rights Reserved.