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Human Rights Plan for Schools

KUALA LUMPUR: The Education Ministry will roll out Suhakam’s pilot Human Rights Best Practice in Schools (Atham) programme to cover one school per district in the peninsula next year.

Education Ministry’s Daily School Manage­ment Division assistant director Habibullah Ali said the programme would cover 168 schools from primary and secondary and also Orang Asli, Tamil and Chinese schools.

“The ministry is proud Suhakam has entrusted its programme to us. We have piloted Atham from five schools to 17.

“We have seen a positive impact and give our blessings to extend the programme to one school per district for now and then maybe to every school,” he added.

Habibullah was speaking to reporters after the launch of a seminar on the best practices of human rights education organised by Suhakam in cooperation with the ministry.

Suhakam vice chair Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee thanked the ministry, saying: “Suhakam believes that to build a society that upholds human rights, this must start at school.

“Not as a subject but a programme incorporated into the curriculum. If not, students would consider it an examination subject and study it just to pass and not absorb the values.”

Suhakam officer Hasmah Abdul Manaf said Atham covered everyone in school from teachers, students, canteen staff and gardeners.

She also highlighted the provisions in the UN Declaration of Human Rights and Conven­tion on the Rights of the Child (CRC) that should be considered in planning activities.

Datin Hasmah Abu, principal of SMK Taman Tun Dr Ismail Kuala Lumpur, stressed the importance of school heads understanding the CRC provisions.

In her school, Hasmah had introduced students to freedom of expression by encouraging and providing public speaking opportunities.

Khalid Bujang, principal of Sekolah Kebang­saan Penderas, Temerloh, an Orang Asli school, another Atham school, said his students, including preschoolers, had done well in choral speaking competitions in Pahang.

Earlier, Suhakam commissioner Prof Datuk Dr Mahmood Zuhdi Majid said the United Nations World Programme for Human Rights Education calls for ministries, schools and other bodies involved in national education to integrate human rights education effectively into the national school system.

He told participants, comprising 101 school principals, their deputies, counsellors, disciplinary teachers and ministry officials, that the seminar was an opportunity to share and promote information on the right of every individual, including children, to have quality education so they would become citizens “practising the 3Rs of Rights, Responsibilities and Respect without taking into account nationality, ethnicity, religion and gender”.

By Shaila Koshy

Published: Thursday December 5, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Thursday December 5, 2013 MYT 6:58:28 AM


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