School of Hope
Malaysia’s first school for pregnant teenagers opened its doors on Monday to its inaugural batch of students. Read on to find out more.
Malaysia’s first school for pregnant teenagers opened its doors on Monday to its inaugural batch of students. Conservative commentators in the Muslim-majority Malaysia have complained that ‘Sekolah Harapan’ or ‘ School of Hope’ will only encourage premarital sex.
The facility is aimed at curbing an epidemic of “baby dumping”. State officials defend the school by claiming that the facility is a realistic way of tackling the rising number of abandoned infants who have been dumped, often dead or dying, on rubbish dumps and in the streets.
The first day of the school opening was graced with the entry of five girls aged between 16 and 17. The parents of these five students read about the school before it opened and they took their daughters to visit the school over the weekend to register.
School Chairman, Rahaman karim, expressed confidence that the other 35 available spots would be filled up soon as enquiries were continuing to come in.
According to Mr. Karim, the five girls, four Malay Muslims and one ethnic Chinese, were all unmarried and would be staying at the hostel next to the school, which is located on a scenic hilltop outside the tourist town of Malacca.
An all-female staff has been employed to offer normal classes as well as counseling and skill training to the girls. They can remain in the school until after their delivery and confinement period, when they have to return to their normal schools. Though Malaysia is a multi-cultural society, giving birth out of wedlock still carries a strong social stigma in Malaysia. There are definitely two sides to an issue.
Everyone is allowed to make mistakes. It’s human nature to make mistakes in the first place. Should a young girl really be denied of her right to education just because she became pregnant?
Secondly, just imagine, the girl goes home to her parents to announce her pregnancy. And in most situations, it is less likely that her parents are going to ‘reward’ her with a bouquet of roses. The major issue that a parent would most likely bring up, “ How are you going to raise a child on your own? You just destroyed your education and future.” The result? She ends up alone and confused. Sadly, the baby she then gives birth to ends up with a future with no mother.
The thought of having a future of being ostracized and having no where to fall back on in terms of education and support has somehow served as a hand of control for keeping unwanted pregnancies under control. With such a school, are we giving the detrimental option of complacency to teenagers?
So here comes the ultimate call, do you go with the decision that results in the greater good? Or do you go with the decision that ensures that traditional morals are preserved to uphold the essence of a community?
Everyone is entitled to different opinions and views. TheAsianparent would like to know what you think about this issue. Do share your views with us.