Young asylum seekers attend classes, morning ceremony in Pekanbaru

Young asylum seekers attend classes, morning ceremony in Pekanbaru

A young asylum seeker (center) attended a morning ceremony at the SDN 159 state primary school in Pekanbaru City, Riau Province, Monday (Oct 7, 2019). ANTARA/FB Anggoro/GTM

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - At least dozens of young asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Iran, and Palestine attended classes and a morning ceremony for the foremost time at eight state primary schools in Pekanbaru City, Riau Province, Monday.

Since October this year, 81 asylum seekers were enrolled in the city’s state primary schools in spite of Indonesia yet having to ratify the UN's 1951 Refugee Convention.

On their first day in school, the young asylum seekers appeared to blend in among the regular students, as they wore the similar uniform of white-colored top, red trousers/long skirt, and red hat.

During the morning ceremony, deemed mandatory for every state school in Indonesia on Monday, the young asylum seekers lined up along with other students and sang Indonesia's national anthem "Indonesia Raya," the SDN 159 state primary school's principal, Ismiati, remarked in Pekanbaru.

Ismiati expounded that the teachers will ensure equal treatment to both asylum seekers and other students. At least 20 foreign students are enrolled at her school in first to third grades.

"Every morning, the parents of these children drop them off by bicycles," she added.

Apart from her school, the children of asylum seekers in Pekanbaru are also enrolled in some other state primary schools, namely SDN 54, SDN 141, SDN 170, SDN 48, SDN 190, SDN 182, and SDN 17.

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Speaking in connection with the classes, the principal affirmed that young asylum seekers can pursue normal studies since they speak Indonesian language.

"Up until today, the school sees no problem raised with the students, as they can communicate well in classes, and their parents have also actively contacted the teachers," Ismiati revealed.

Under President Joko Widodo's administration, the children of refugees and asylum seekers are allowed to enroll in state schools in Indonesia. According to UN's record, over 14 thousand refugees and asylum seekers had stayed in Indonesia in the past years.

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