Thursday, December 28, 2023

Denied entry to school, 10-year-old writes to PM for help

Denied entry to school, 10-year-old writes to PM for help

“I am asking Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to help me to go to school next year.”

So wrote 10-year-old Shivaani in a letter to the prime minister after she was denied entry to school by the Education Ministry in March this year.

Shivaani was a student at Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Sri Pagi in Senawang studying from Year One to Year Three. However, the school informed the family in March this year that Shivaani could not continue to Year Four due to citizenship documentation issues.

In a letter to the prime minister sighted by Malaysiakini, Shivaani wrote:

"My name is Shivaani. I studied at Sekolah Kebangsaan Sri Pagi from Year One to Year Three. This year, I can't go to school. The teacher said I don't have a MyKid.

"I am asking the prime minister to help me to go to school next year. Thank you, Datuk Seri."

When contacted, Shivaani said she wrote the letter upon her uncle's suggestion.

"I want to go to school. I want to study. I also miss my friends," she said.

According to P Rajheswaran, 44, who introduced himself as Shivaani's father, his daughter has always had a citizenship documentation problem.

"After I got married, I did not register at the National Registration Department. After my child was born in 2013, my wife separated from me.

"When I tried to get a birth certificate, the NRD said my child could not be granted citizenship status because there was no information on her parents.

"My name also could not be entered as the father because our marriage was not registered. So, I took her birth certificate with only the mother's name written on it," he said.

He said he suffered a stroke four years ago, making it difficult to leave the house to settle the citizenship issue.

Confused about policy change

When asked about the school's decision to deny Shivaani’s admission, Rajheswaran said that initially, the school allowed her to study.

"When I registered her for Year One, the school said my child does not have citizenship so I have to pay RM120 every year to study.

"I paid every year until Year Three. But, for this year, the school said they could not accept her because of the new Education Ministry policy,” he said.

United Social Welfare Organisation president P Manivanan, when contacted, said he is now handling the issue.

"I have visited the family several times and contacted the Ampangan District Education Office.

"I was told by an officer there that the new policy caused Shivaani not to be allowed to attend school.

"The question is, if the child has a documentation issue, why was she allowed to study up to Year Three and then asked her not to come anymore? I tried to contact the Education Ministry several times, but failed," he said.

Malaysiakini is trying to contact Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek for comment.

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