Children's Day is certainly one of the happiest days for children at school. Our children will get to play interesting games and enjoy a variety of scrumptious food. Not to miss a bag full of snacks and candies after the celebration. Besides these exciting moments during the Children's Day, the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) celebrates the World Children's Day on 20 November each year too. The celebration is an annual day of action to promote the awareness on children's welfare and children's right. So, let's find out what the plan is for us to act upon for our children! The World Children's Day Is Calling For Child Protection Photo credit to Unsplash Along with the celebration of the World Children's Day, Unicef is calling upon governments from different countries to adopt a six-point plan to protect children from all over the world. The plan includes: \tEnsuring every child has the access to learning by closing the digital gap. \tEnsuring every child has the access to health and nutrition services, including access to affordable vaccines. \tSupporting the care and protection for children and young people's mental health. \tEnsuring more children have the access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene. \tReversing the rise in child poverty. \tExpanding the effort to protect and support children and their families who live through\u00a0conflict, disaster and displacement. Looking into the plan, you might be wondering whether Malaysia has done its part to protect our children. Read on to find out 4 reasons why our children are considered lucky to be born in Malaysia. We also cover what needs to be done more extensively to protect our children's right. 4 Reasons Why Children Are Lucky To Be Born In Malaysia #1: Malaysian children receive compulsory education. Photo credit to beetify.com Children in Malaysia receive compulsory schooling for 11 years in the primary, lower and upper secondary levels. Besides that, children will benefit from the textbook loan scheme initiated by the ministry of education. They will get free textbooks and other related learning materials during their first week of schooling each year. This is to reduce the financial burden of parents from low-income families in terms of educational expenses. Other initiatives such as home visits, remedial coaching to parents and student counselling are available to help students who are at the risk of dropping out. However, we need to put in more effort in providing quality education for children with disabilities extensively. Though our government has initiated programmes to support children with disabilities for their learning, the programmes do not reach out to children in every area in Malaysia. More extensive support and care are needed for children with disabilities and their parents who are also eager to provide better education for their children. #2: Malaysian children from low-income family receive a variety of assistance from the government. Photo credit to news.seehua.com I believe most of us have some occasional experiences of working without having our stomach fed. For me, it was miserable and I was unable to focus and perform at my best. It applies the same to our children too. Children are unable to pay full attention during the lessons if they do not have their breakfast in the morning. Fortunately, we have school feeding programmes such as Rancangan Makanan Tambahan (RMT) and Program Susu Sekolah (PSS). The RMT programme gives free meals to primary school pupils from a low-income household in which the head of the household earns less than the poverty line income. On the other hand, the PSS programme benefits the pupils who are at a higher risk of malnutrition. Each pupil will receive a carton of 200ml sweetened chocolate-flavoured milk twice a week. While providing nutritious meals to students from lower-income families, we should also focus more on educating children from all households on healthy eating. In fact, many children from higher-income households also suffer from poor eating habits and malnutrition. In the matter of solving this issue, we should not only have teachers to educate the children. We are in need of experts such as nutritionists to talk deeply about nutrition and to help them to modify their daily diets. Parents should be involved too so that they can provide daily meals with macro and micronutrient. With a healthy body and energised mind, children will be able to achieve educational attainment that they deserve. #3: Malaysian children have access to affordable healthcare services. Photo credits to Unsplash In terms of child survival, Unicef advocates that every child has the right to survive and thrive. Thus, building a strong immune system among children is essential too. Fortunately, children in Malaysia have free access to vaccination since they are newborn babies until the age of 15 years old. Children will receive different compulsory vaccination to guard them against deadly childhood diseases. Other than vaccination, our children (or rather all Malaysians) have the access to quality medical and dental services at an affordable price. With less than RM 5, we can consult a doctor for minor illness such as coughing, fever and flu with medicines provided. We can also have dental check-up and services such as filling and extraction. The only issue that affects the quality of healthcare is that the shortage of manpower in the healthcare field. For parents who are busy making a living for their families, they could not take their time to queue for public healthcare services. They will then miss the opportunity to have better health. #4: Malaysian children have better access to remote learning. Photo credits to Pixabay As a primary school educator, this is what I appreciated the most from the ministry of education in 2020. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the ministry has taken the effort to initiate G Suite for Education among Malaysian schools. Every school member, including educational officers, school administrators, teachers and pupils, will have a specialised MOE digital learning account. With the digital learning account, teachers are able to continue their teaching and learning activities outside of the school setting. They have easier access to classroom management systems such as Google Classroom and online conferencing application such as Google Meet. Without the effort from the ministry, the teaching and learning process during this COVID-19 pandemic would be more chaotic and disorganised. Here's what we need to strive more in order to ensure all children have better access to learning in the future. With another nationwide school closure until the schooling year for 2021, children will have their learning online. This puts children from lower-income families and those in the rural areas in disadvantages. These children are lack of better digital devices such as tablets, smartphones and also a stable internet connection. Therefore, they are more likely to be left out during remote learning. The World Children's Day Serves As A Reminder In celebrating the World Children's Day, we hope that everyone can work together to protect the rights of the children in our nation. We believe that every Malaysian child has the right to grow in a safe environment with equal and quality access to healthcare and education.