Discrimination in Education
The Discrimination in Education Survey explored public experiences of perceived discrimination during their time in Malaysian schools. While anecdotes of discrimination are widespread in public discourse, little to no data have been systematically collected to estimate the extent of discrimination in the Malaysian education system. In this survey, respondents were asked to answer various topics, including their perceptions of what counts as discrimination, the forms of discrimination they have experienced, and more.
Here’s what we found.
That's how many Malaysians experience discrimination in schools.
36% experienced verbal discrimination.
21% experienced harassment or bullying.
18% experienced denial of opportunities.
"WHERE GOT, I DON'T SEE IT HAPPENING PUN..."
It does. Discrimination does not discriminate – it affects all of us. We can only achieve strength in diversity when we celebrate our differences, rather than discriminate each other. Here is a further breakdown of the staggering numbers we showed above, by the race of our respondents. Each percentage shown represents a percentage of that race who has experienced that form of discrimination.
"WHY DON'T YOU JUST REPORT IT?"
It’s a lot harder than you might think it is. Nearly half of all individuals who attempted to report incidents of perceived discrimination did not see any action or investigation happen within their schools.
"AIYA, HOW DOES THIS EVEN AFFECT US?"
The following are the five outcomes listed in the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025, alongside a description of what they each mean in detail.
When we fail to tackle discrimination in schools...
…our children don’t get equal access to education.
…our children don’t have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.
…we aren’t delivering the best possible education.
…our schools cannot be places that foster unity.
…our student outcomes are not maximised.
"WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE IT BETTER?"
Currently, the Malaysian Ministry of Education (MOE) has a framework to exercise discipline within the education service. Public education staff are governed by conduct and discipline regulations.
Examples of misconduct that have resulted in punishment were found in reports produced by the Education Services Commission – such as not attending duty, corruption, etc. However, details of many of the misconducts were undefined.
The Ministry of Education does mention discrimination in some of its policies, but it’s elaboration is vague and not well-defined. There is also often a conflation between discrimination and bullying, which are not the same thing.
Currently, discrimination is not explicitly mentioned in most education regulations.
Up to today, there has been no clear action on discrimination by the Ministry of Education. There remains significant gaps between proposal and implementation. Discrimination might be underreported, and it’s very hard to collect evidence for. These might prove to be stumbling blocks in an institutional attempt to include discrimination in existing policies, either by the Education Service Commission or the Ministry of Education.
Existing rules and regulations MUST be expanded to also include acts of discrimination. If we fail to protect our children, we fail to protect the future of our country. More has to be done to ensure that perpetrators of discrimination are properly punished, no matter what level of education it occurs in.
Sekolah Semua is a social initiative by Architects of Diversity Malaysia (AOD), a non-profit that aims to bridge communities and identity groups among youth in Malaysia for justice, peace and a sustainable future. It is a project that is run by a dedicated team of volunteers & interns passionate about making a change in our education system. We come from different backgrounds, creeds and education streams to work together for a more just Malaysia.
WORK WITH US
Sekolah Semua is looking for individuals and organisations to amplify our cause. Reach out to the following individual if you are interested in becoming a supporting partner.