Child rights activist: Who is responsible for religious schools?


PETALING JAYA: A child rights activist has urged the authorities to decide who among them is responsible for monitoring religious schools.

In response to a recent report that a boy had to have both his legs amputated after being beaten by his religious school teacher, James Nagayam said based on his experience at meetings, whenever this topic came up, the question had always been who should take up responsibility.

“Does it come under the purview of the state government, the Social Welfare Department, the Education Department or the Religious Department?

“When you ask, nobody seems to know,” he told FMT.

“I don’t know whether they’re trying to avoid responsibility or not, but they’re all not sure whether it’s theirs to begin with.”

Nayagam said that according to reports of the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) since 2012, there was no control over the registration or monitoring of religious schools.

“Therefore, these schools have all gone unregistered and tend to operate on their own.

“These schools have their own teachers, their own hostels run by themselves and in some cases a lack of staff overseeing the schools, meaning that the students themselves tend to be in charge.

“What about the quality of food and hygiene as well as the protection of these children?”

He said that as long as no one was willing to come forward and claim responsibility for overseeing religious schools, there will continue to be new cases of students being abused and bullied.

“The matter seems to persist at the expense of the children who are forced to live in an environment of abuse, neglect and abandonment.”

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