Had it not been for knowledge, I rose. Education is seen as one of the most indispensable aspects of life in navigating the young generation to think critically and globally. With knowledge at hands, the attitude of young people can easily be shaped through a role model known as ‘teacher’. A Malay proverb once emphasised, “bending the bamboo should start at its shrubs” which carries the meaning about shaping attitude. Aside from parents who are the main actor to provide education for their children, teachers are also responsible to educate them towards forming a better generation.
Nevertheless, education seems to be something extraordinary for a certain group of people and sometimes a burden on their shoulders. Wan Shakila Adila Wan Azmi, a teacher at Rohingya Intellectual, Skills, & Excellence (RISE) shared her experience throughout her duty at this alternative school since it was first launched.
Initially, she took four months to shape the behaviour of Rohingyan children who disregarded moral values that should be practiced in daily life. Had it not been for humanitarian reason and wanting to help, Wan Shakila believes the future of these children will turn brighter. “I believe the future of RISE will be assured through maximum guidance being applied to these Rohingyan children,” she explained.
To her, every single person is entitled to have a place for education and that it should not be questioned. Besides, education should be dispersed equally including the less fortunate people. She also pointed Rohingyan children had not been exposed to education for so long. “The importance of knowledge for these kids is because it has been until third generation they did not get any education,” she said when being interviewed. Additionally, Wan Shakila believes that education can reform civilisation through the emphasis or moral values and knowledge.
In Malaysia, students are taught to look for their talents and skills as a preparation for them to find their respective capabilities. However for Rohingyan students at RISE, education will make them realise the history of their generation and nation in the past. Education like this will widely open their eyes to see what is happening with their generations in the home country. In the meantime, it is knowledge that becomes the root to differentiate between them and the other Rohingyan children.
Educating student is surely a big challenge. As a teacher at an alternative school, Wan Shakila not only teaches Rohingyan children at RISE but also runs the school alongside other teachers to smooth out the day-to-day operations at RISE. What is most challenging for her is the responsibility to shape their behaviour through the application of moral values. “I am also responsible for reforming their behavior. To form morals is no easy task because they are totally different to be compared with Malaysian children who are well educated,” she added.
When asked about the specialty of these children, Wan Shakila notes that they have a very good discipline and self-control. “Although we took four months to educate them, their attitude has changed and they started practicing moral values in daily life. They are also very fond of learning and often ask ‘homework’ to bring back home so they can share with their parents,” she explained. To reform their attitude, she performs activities together so that these children can follow along. Wan Shakila also believes that if we want to educate young kids, we need to lead by example.
As a teacher, she hopes that opportunities for underprivileged children to acquire knowledge should not be neglected. If education is essential, we should not dispute some groups because education is for all without compromising any skin color. If it is not us, who else will?