Brunei ranked 5th in child rights in SEA

Azlan Othman

A global ranking on child rights placed Brunei Darussalam in 70th place and the fifth best in Southeast Asia, following Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore.

The Sultanate scored an average of 0.772 out of one, putting the country ahead of many of its Asian neighbours in promoting child rights, according to KidsRights Index 2020, released by KidsRights Foundation, a Netherlands-based international aid and advocacy organisation.

The Index names Iceland as the country where child rights are best guaranteed, followed by Switzerland and Finland.

KidsRights Foundation ranked 182 countries and territories based on five metrics – the right to life, the right to health, the right to education, the right to protection and the enabling environment for child rights – using data and evidence collected from the United Nations’ (UN) Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Brunei Darussalam came in 63rd place (a score of 0.760) in education, 66th place (a score of 0.870) in right of life and 71st place (a score of 0.921) in health. While the Index is not an absolute ranking of countries where children have the best life, the Foundation said, it scores nations relative to their capacity to implement child rights.

It also stated that the fallout from measures taken by governments to reduce the spread of COVID-19 will have lasting effects on children globally. For example, school closures in 188 countries affected some 1.5 billion children, leaving them vulnerable to child labour, child marriage and teenage pregnancy.

Foundation Chairman Marc Dullaert said, “Millions of children were out of school for a long period, and we see especially in developing countries that even after the easing of the lockdown, there is an enormous drop-off rate, with large numbers of children failing to return.”

In Brunei Darussalam, students resume physical classes today, especially those sitting for public exams, Students in Years 6, 8, 10 Express, 11, 12 and 13 are the first groups to return to school as part of the first phase of school re-opening, while other students will continue with online learning.

Schools had been closed since March 12 to stem the tide of the COVID-19 outbreak. Meanwhile, teachers will conduct face-to-face lessons from June 2-13 in the first phase of the re-opening, during which the Ministry of Education (MoE) will ascertain the risk level before drafting out the next phase.