Easy Access to Education for the Tausug

Education is the gradual process of acquiring knowledge by learning and instruction. It is also said that education is a preparation for life. As have been mentioned on this site,

“Education is an important tool that contributes to the society. Education plays a very important role in our lives. It ensures a brighter future for everyone. Not many people succeed in life without a good education. Education generally, at the start of a very young age, children learn to develop and use their mental, moral and physical powers, which they have acquire in education. Education is needed in order to succeed in today's world. In today’s world, having a good education is always important to have. There are so many opportunities that can occur when you get a good education.”

It is sad to see that there are many Tausug children in Malaysia are luck of interest in acquiring education. Of course some of them have their reasons on why they are not going to school. One of which is financial shortcoming, that is the most common reason. The other is that because of environmental influence. Some is also because of family relationship. 

Living in Malaysia is quite different in terms of acquiring education; there are factors why many of the children here can’t go to school. Legal document is one of the reasons for the Tausug children unable to enroll to any schools and higher institutions in the country – this is perhaps the children are just affected by the faults done by their parents. What is worst, the Tausug who possessed refugees document, are only allowed to enroll as high as third year high school –  but most of the children having refugees status only reach grade 6. After grade 6 the parents will decide either they will send their children to Sulu and to the Philippines to continue their studies or just let them work to support the financial instability of the family. Out of 10 children there are only at least 2 who are able to continue their studies outside Malaysia. The fates of the remaining 8 would be decided later– that would defend upon the initiatives of the parents to guide and manage their children education.

In most cases, the children who failed to get education fully have high priority to be influenced by negative culture in their surroundings. Although the influence of environment shared by all, at least the one who received full education have a lot things to choose before they will resort to do unhealthy activity. That is why everyone should have an easy access to education.

In Sabah, Malaysia there are many Tausug children adding their names to the criminal records of the authority. Because their future, which suppose they receive through education, have been blocked by just a mere legality – and that’s most of the reason.  All they have to do is roaming around the city with their friends and partner in crimes to search for things which they want for the day whether is it legal or illegal.   While the others, who don’t have guts to source out money illegally, will be spending their time standing by in public market waiting for the people to ask them to carry the loads to a terminal bus.  And then the money they bear from it will be used to satisfy the longing of their desires. There are Tausug children also doing this to support their families. But those who are quite wicked that money would be spending in local pubs and discotheques.  

The reason for this is vividly known to us “they didn’t receive good education”. Even they have parents to guide at home but most of the times the parents are failed to set certain policy in their households which can be easily adapted by the children – this thing needs further explanation.

Since we are all affected by the influence of the environment whether it’s negative or positive, the things that need collective effort have to be highlighted. In this article, the author tries to give some suggestions as far as education for the Tausug children in Sabah is concerned. This suggestion is based from the observation and general views of the Tausug in Sabah in general.

  1. The Government Agencies, NGO’s (national and international), Suluk Association, and others should conduct a survey regarding the access of the Tausug/Suluk to education in Sabah.
  2. The Philippines and the Malaysian government should join hand to give an easy access for the Tausug children who are legally staying Malaysia. At least, they can build schools which are applicable only to the Tausug children who are holding Refugees Status. If that’s impossible, the Malaysian government should allow the IMM13 holders to be admitted in any schools and Universities in the country with certain rules to be followed. The Tausug are law abiders, and always cling to the decision of the Malaysian government.
  3. The UNESCO should look into this problem seriously. They should become the agent to give full support to Malaysia and the Philippines in addressing the problem of education among the Muslim refugees from Sulu and Mindanao. Find the best solutions on how the Tausug/ Suluk can study as higher as university degree.
As a response to Prime Minister Datu Seri Najib Tun Razak one Malaysia, The Tausug/Suluk in Sabah are for unity, harmony in development of Malaysia and not for creating chaos.

The author does hope the suggestion will be put into consideration for the prosperous future of the people living Malaysia regardless of their nationalities.

1 Malaysia 1 Education.

Mel Abdurajim


  1. Your suggestion is indeed true. I am congratulating you to write this piece. I could remember when the time I stop studying that later I realized one of the ways for the people to get out from the den of ignorance and "whatever it maybe" is "EDUCATION". I am one of those children who got no enough education with the prime reason of having no "pennies" to continue and pursue further. As anybody experience the "looking for work" scenario for any Tausug children to ease their feelings of longingness of having no direct access to education. If these children could only have direct access, there can never be having the budak lepak in the city streets, drinking liquor and screaming in the middle of the day night. Thank you to you mel for having this one...