Private sector needed to increase awareness on social issues

by S BIRRUNTHA/ pic by BERNAMA

PRIVATE sector is urged to introduce more awareness programmes in relation to social issues such as child safety and sexual abuse cases involving children.

Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching (picture) said her ministry has been actively working on educating the children on child safety issues such as kidnapping and sexual abuse through school syllabus.

“Private sector collaboration across the ministry is essential to ensure that children are educated about prevailing incidents such as sexual abuse cases.

“When children are at school, they are entitled to education. Therefore, providing awareness to children as early as possible on important issues like this is a must,” she said during the launch of a new safety video by the ministry titled “My Body is Mine” in Kuala Lumpur last Friday.

Teo also added that previously her ministry has launched a public-private partnership (PPP) initiative in the education system.

“This is an effort to recognise and encourage the private sector to be involved as partners in education in Malaysia,” she said.

The Ministry of Education (MoE) launched a child safety video named “My Body is Mine” in collaboration with KDU University College and Kidzania to educate children on distinguishing physical contacts — between “good touch” and “bad touch”.

Teo said the PPP is in line with the ministry’s initiative to introduce reproductive and social health education in the health education curriculum.

“This short video will be incorporated in the Pendidikan Jasmani dan Kesihatan (PJK) syllabus in schools and will be played during the school assembly to increase students’ awareness.

“We have taken the initiative to produce this video carefully, so that children could understand the message that we wanted to convey in a way that is simple and easy to remember,” she added.

The video can be downloaded by schools and other educational institutions on two platforms, MoE’s official website and also on the TV Education Malaysia’s website.

Meanwhile, the ministry has also introduced an additional “child grooming” topic into standard four students’ syllabus, in which they will learn about the “dangers” of the Internet and social media.

Teo said the new topic will be added to the standard four PJK’s textbook starting next year.

“The ministry realise that there are people taking advantage of the advancement of digital and the growth of social media platforms and will try to groom innocent young children into getting involved with bad things.

“This is a serious issue that we need to address. Making ‘child grooming’ as a topic to discuss in classrooms will enable teachers to create awareness, and remind and educate children, in order to protect our younger generation.

“It will also equip the children on the knowledge of the action available if they fall prey to child grooming predators,” she added.

As of last year, 1,921 cases out of 3,308 cases of abuse reported in hospitals across the country were cases of child sexual abuse, according to a data from the family development division of the Health Ministry.