Children are impulsive, react to peer pressure and take action without considering the risks and consequences. Even if they are juvenile delinquents, don’t you think they deserve a chance at redemption to right the wrongs and start a new life?
One of the many juvenile centres in Malaysia that aims to transform the life of juvenile offenders through education is Kajang Integrity School. School starts at 8.30am. and ends at 3.30pm. With classes for UPSR, PMR and SPM, detainees have the opportunity to learn the 3Ms: membaca, menulis and mengira (reading, writing, arithmetic) so that they are armed with basic knowledge to survive in the world.
The Integrity Centre is equipped with facilities such as a library and computer lab to help the inmates learn or take college-level courses via e-learning. To train them to become disciplined citizens in the future, the detainees have to adhere to strict protocols. For example, they are required to salute and greet the wardens every time they are seen. They also have to obey strict rules, and despite the fact that it’s a school, students do not whisper to each other, chatter when the teacher is not looking or do anything along those lines.
Another rehabilitation centre in Malaysia is the Henry Gurney Prisoners School. Located in Teluk Mas, Melaka, it was established in 1949 and is currently a school that specialises in rehabilitating male juvenile convicts.
Unlike the aforementioned centre, which follows the Malaysia national curriculum, Henry Gurney’s rehabilitation methods focus on vocational training. New entrants are first trained to become manual labourers before being taught normal chores. If they succeed in those activities, they are given lessons that involve technical labour such as basic engineering.
Not only that, Kedah — infamous for its rapidly growing HIV infection rates — set up its first PROSTAR youth centre, supported by UNICEF, in 2004. The centre provides peer-to-peer counselling for those involved in gangs and illegal motorcycle racing and who need a safe space to hang out. The centre also provides education on HIV and AIDS to youths.
Being behind bars or getting involved in juvenile crime does not remove one’s right to an education. Every child deserves an education, and only with education can he or she assimilate into society in the future.
By Eer Kai Song