Archive for the ‘Educational Issues’ Category

Maszlee: Claim on closure of 21 teacher’s training institutes untrue.

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

ALOR GAJAH (Bernama): Media report claiming that 21 of the 27 teacher’s training institutes (IPGs) will be closed in stages beginning next year is untrue, as it refers to the decision of the previous government, says Dr Maszlee Malik.

The Education Minister said the proposed closure of the IPGs was completely irrelevant and did not refer to the current government’s policies.

“We ask the party responsible (of such statement) to consult with us first before issuing any untrue statement.

“The statement is inaccurate, as it refers to the policy of the previous administration and not of the current government’s,” he told reporters after a working visit to the SMK Rahmat in Kuala Sungai Baru here on Tuesday (Sept 10).

A daily today quoted an unnamed source as saying that there was a proposal to close down 21 of the 27 IPGs in stages, beginning next year and this year marked the final intake of the students.

Meanwhile, in another development, Maszlee said that the education department in every state would ensure that the haze situation in the country did not affect the students’ health and to keep in close contact with various departments, including the Department of Environment (DoE) to monitor the current haze situation at the schools.

“Education department in every state has its own standard operating procedure (SOP) pertaining to haze which will ensure that once the school’s air quality readings reach certain level, it will be closed. So, consult your respective state’s education department.

“We discourage outside activities (during haze) and please drink plenty of water and keep safe,” he said.


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Education vital for young to shape nation’s future: CM

Friday, September 6th, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: It is vital for the younger generation who is gaining a place in the nation’s development to be equipped for it via education, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

He said the younger generation’s role is evident with the passing of a Bill in the Dewan Rakyat to lower the voting age to 18 years and the selection of three young entrepreneurs as members of the newly-formed Economic Action Council.

“This demonstrates the Government’s willingness to engage young people in shaping the future of Malaysia,” he said during the “Majlis Lafaz Ikrar dan Aku Janji” for new students (2019-2020) at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), here, Thursday.

His speech was read by Deputy Chief Minister cum Local Housing and Government Minister Datuk Jaujan Sambakong.

Shafie added that it is every student’s responsibility to take up the role (of shaping the country) by ensuring that self-empowerment is cultivated throughout their university studies.

He said the development of human capital through knowledge, skills, productivity and innovation is a priority in Sabah’s 2019 Budget as it is a valuable asset in the State’s development.

“This is vital in order to be capable in facing challenges as well as to resolve issues, be it in the economic, social or political aspect,” he said, adding that education is one of the most powerful vehicles of creating an intellectual, skilled, innovative and productive society.

“However, developing human capital will be meaningless if personal values and ethics are not instilled. Therefore, education is the perfect answer in changing the people’s mentality,” said Shafie.

He added that education is also a field for students to integrate and understand the community in greater depth and harmony, as it may minimise racial and religious issues and ultimately achieve unity.

UMS Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr Taufiq Yap Yun Hin urged students to uphold the constitution, UMS core values and values in education.

“The Minister of Education has always emphasised the importance of incorporating three core values and cultures in education, namely love, happiness and mutual respect.

“These values are very significant in shaping a more harmonious campus community amidst various cultures that exist, particularly in Sabah,” he said.

Taufiq added that UMS is commited towards ensuring that students will enjoy pursuing their studies and prepare them according to the industry’s needs.

It is line with the UMS Strategic Plan 2018-2022 KRA 8 which is “Enhancing Holistic Student Experience.”

Taufiq also congratulated the students on their new academic endeavours and urged them to fully commit to their studies.

A total of 4,362 new students took their oaths for the 2019-2020 academic session at the Dewan Chancellory.

Of these, 2,570 are from Sabah, 1,690 from Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak, whereas 102 are international students hailing from 14 countries.

By: Anthea Peter.

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Homework pressure drives teen to hang himself

Sunday, August 25th, 2019
Overwhelmed and struggling to complete his school home work, a teen decided that enough was enough, and ended his life at his home in Jalan Paya Terubong here. — NSTP Archive / Pexels photo

GEORGE TOWN: Overwhelmed and struggling to complete his school home work, a teen decided that enough was enough, and ended his life at his home in Jalan Paya Terubong here.

Several hours before the incident last night, the mother of the 13-year-old had chastised him for not completing his homework.

This was after the teen’s teacher complained that the boy had failed to finish his given homework.

After telling him to do his homework, the mother later checked on the boy’s progress. The teen claimed he could not finish his homework.

The boy then informed his mother that he was going to take a shower.

After the boy failed to come out from the bathroom after some half an hour later, the father went to check on him.

The 49-year-old father could hear the water running and knocked on the bathroom door. When there was no response, the father broke the bathroom door down and to his horror, found his son hanging by a towel.

He immediately tried to resuscitate his son by giving him cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) but there was no response. He was pronounced dead at about 10.55pm on the way to the hospital.

By Mohamed Basyir.

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Khat – be objective and not emotional

Saturday, August 24th, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: Sabahans are reminded to remain objective on education-related matters as the Education and Innovation Ministry follows the directives from its federal counterpart over the introduction of khat lessons in schools.

Assistant minister Jenifer Lasimbang said while further discussions are ongoing particularly in vernacular schools, education in Sabah remains under the purview of the federal government.

As such, she said decisions in terms of actions and policies will have to reflect the directives from the federal Ministry of Education (MOE).

This, however, should not be a problem here following the racial harmony in Sabah, she said, adding that the people should be objective and not emotional.

“We have to be very objective when it comes to education and if it’s not related to religion, if it’s just learning a new language…lets be objective about it, we don’t have to be emotional.

“It is time for us to rebuild the country and state so let’s not be emotional; it’s not related to religion, it is just an art form, an opportunity for children to learn something different,” she said.

The introduction of khat had received backlash from multiple sides who questioned its rationale with Chinese and Tamil educationist groups opposing the move to include the lesson in Bahasa Melayu subject for Year 4 vernacular schools’ pupils.

The cabinet had since decided that prior agreement of the vernacular schools’ parent-teacher associations are required before the now-named Jawi script topic would be introduced in the schools.

It would also be optional and not a test subject.

“I was a Kadazan student who studied in a Chinese school…when I wanted to do my first degree, I applied to become a lawyer but unfortunately I didn’t know jawi as one of the assessments was to translate (from jawi).

“So, when it comes to education, there shouldn’t be any religion or emotions attached to it and if the directives come from MOE, then the State has to follow the national education policy,” said Jenifer.

She was speaking to reporters after opening the 6th Malaysian International Conference on Academic Strategies in English Language Teaching (My_CASELT), and 3rd Language Invention, Innovation and Design (LIID) Exposition here Wednesday.

On another note, Jenifer asserted that the Sabah government is open to research collaborations with universities and institutions on environmental sustainability and indigenous knowledge in Sabah.

She stated that proper documentation is needed not only to preserve the biodiversity but also the multiple ethnic groups in Sabah.

“We need to look at the language and help code. Some of our indigenous language is not coded; it’s not in written form and the danger of it being extinct is high because as long as we don’t have it in written form, and not coded, not spoken or used, then it is in the verge of extinction,” she said.

Meanwhile, UiTM deputy vice chancellor Industry, Community, Alumni and Entrepreneurship Network Prof. Dato’ Dr. Rahmat Mohamad said the university has initiated with the Semporna community to promote sustainable development in ecotourism.

“There is great potential for both the university and Sabah government to work and ensure that ecotourism is not just preserved and conserved but also sustained by the local community.


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Entrepreneurship can be nurtured, study shows

Saturday, August 24th, 2019

ARE entrepreneurs born or can they be made? This has been a much-debated question for years.

Now, a National University of Singapore (NUS) research study on its entrepreneurship programme shows proof that entrepreneurs can indeed be nurtured.

It found that students who participated in the NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC) programme are 10 times more likely to have gone on to start a business within a year of graduation, compared with other NUS graduates.

One in three students had set up their own technology-based businesses after one year of studying and working in start-ups in business nodes of the world, such as Silicon Valley in California, Shanghai and Stockholm.

At the time they were surveyed last year, about half of that one-third were still running start-ups.

More than half of the alumni surveyed also reported having gone to work in start-ups. About 24 percent of them were still working in such companies when the survey was done.

A large proportion also reported having gone to work in companies where they take on roles requiring them to innovate and develop new businesses.

Another significant finding was that more than one in 10 NOC alumni are based full time outside Singapore.

The study, done by NUS professor Wong Poh Kam from 2012 until last year, surveyed 984 NUS graduates who participated in the NOC programme.

To date, more than 3, 000 NUS students have gone to colleges in 12 locations around the world, including New York City, Toronto, Munich, Tel Aviv and Jakarta.

When these students return to NUS, they can choose to stay in a special residential complex called ENterprise House, where they can continue networking with other NOC alumni. Those who are keen to launch start-ups are given a range of support and help.

Prof Wong, who heads NOC and is known for his research into entrepreneurship, said detractors initially sniffed at the idea.

But many established entrepreneurs now credit NOC, which started in 2001, with developing entrepreneurial talents and seeding the start-up ecosystem in Singapore.

Prof Wong noted that entrepreneurial talent refers not just to those who launch start-ups, but also those who take on various supporting roles, such as venture investors, managers of accelerators or key hires in new companies.

“This study provides concrete evidence on the role and impact of the NOC programme in developing entrepreneurial talents for Singapore, ” he said, noting it found that, in all, NOC alumni had started 665 technology-based businesses, of which 335 are still in operation.

Of those businesses in operation, 287 are based here, while the others are based in places such as Silicon Valley, China and Sweden.

Several NOC alumni interviewed said the year they spent abroad was “transformational”.

One of them is Ahmed Aljunied, 37, who is vice-president of engineering and product at Gojek in Indonesia. The company has evolved from a ride-sharing app to one which allows its customers to make online payments and order everything from groceries to massage services.

Aljunied, who studied computer engineering, was initially hesitant about the NOC programme.

“I was worried taking a year off would bring down my GPA and I would have problems completing my degree. But my dad told me I shouldn’t give up on the opportunity, ” he said, recounting how his ambition initially was to take on a comfortable, well-paying job in a big company upon graduation.

The Straits Times/Asia News Network

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Race and religion overshadow merits of khat.

Saturday, August 24th, 2019

The ‘solution’ to the khat controversy came a little too late as confidence in the Education Ministry and the Federal Government as a whole has eroded.

IF I ran a school for bright Malaysian kids, its curriculum would contain classes on khat. This calligraphic art form would come after an introduction to the Jawi script in a module about languages important to Malaysia and the world, including Sanskrit, Arabic, Chinese dialects, Tamil, Latin and ancient Greek.My students would then appreciate many common etymologies of Malay and English words, and understand that knowledge has always been shared and developed by the world’s great civilisations.

For top students I might introduce Portuguese, Dutch and Japanese to enable them to better understand relevant periods of our history.

Finally, I would ensure that the children understand that many dialects and languages are spoken and written in our diverse country: from the ‘o’ vowel endings in Negri Sembilan to the ‘ng’ consonant endings in Terengganu, and the many dialects spoken by Bidayuh communities to the existence of the Portuguese creole of Kristang.

Alas, I do not run a school for bright Malaysian kids, and unfortunately, the merits of khat have now been obscured by polemics of race and religion, an all-too common recurring problem in our country.

Specifically, this episode was triggered by an attempt by the Education Ministry to progressively impose the teaching of khat from Year 4 to Year 6 in Bahasa Malaysia classes.

With proud defenders of race claiming that khat should – or should not – be equated with an ethno-nationalist agenda, and rapidly escalating rhetoric complete with accusations of racism, the compromise “solution” that was announced was to reduce the number of pages and turn it into an elective subject.And so, the ministry arrived at what, to me, should have been at the outset of this scheme: that if the Education Ministry thinks there is value in adding or amending something in the already-agreed curriculum, schools (and by that I mean in consultation with parents) should have a say in deciding whether and how to take it up.

I often rail against centralised decision-making in most areas of public policy, since our country was conceived as a federation. But overcentralisation and authoritarianism in education policy is particularly disastrous.

There are few things parents get as passionate about as the education of their children, and this passion is amplified in organisations that represent parents.

In an environment where schools are already hotbeds of racial sensitivities, it is obvious that any modification – however tiny – to any aspect of the curriculum or pedagogy will become politicised and polarising.One possible way out of this quagmire is to recognise a phenomenon that has been expanding for years, which is that where choices are available, parents actively use them.

This explains why there are Chinese vernacular schools that have a majority of Malay students, or why there has been a mushrooming of private educational providers. Leveraging on our federal framework is a natural step to expand these choices and make them available to more Malaysians.

Canada, Australia and Germany have done it, achieving better educational outcomes while maintaining national unity: why can’t we?

Unfortunately, the “solution” to the khat controversy was too little, too late.

Confidence in the ministry (and the Federal Government as a whole) has decreased, and the narrative of racial and religious disagreement has since been amplified following comments attributed to Dr Zakir Naik in which Malaysian Hindus, and then Malaysians of Chinese descent, were allegedly disparaged.Once a “threat” to one’s group has been identified, the emergence of another “threat” is likely to further fuel distrust.

The issuance – following a ban by police on him giving public speeches – of an apology quoting the Prophet Muhammad’s stance against racial discrimination is unlikely to convince many of his detractors. Thankfully, there is enlightened leadership in Malaysia that more accurately depicts the acceptance of Islam towards people of all races, from the multitude of non-governmental organisations gearing up to commemorate the attaining of Merdeka and the creation of Malaysia, to the Permaisuri of Johor’s memories of her Peranakan Chinese grandmother.

Go back enough generations, and most Malaysians will find “foreign” blood in their genes, but such genealogical knowledge should not be a prerequisite to achieving everyday colour-blind citizenship – where diversity is so normal that it is unremarkable, and where learning khat is as uncontroversial as learning Mandarin.

By Tunku Zain Al-Abidin
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Art of good handwriting is vanishing

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019

IN today’s world, written communication is mostly done by typing on keyboards or screens, such as for emails and social media interactions. We rarely scribble a signature as forms are now digital and transactions are mostly online, which usually requires us to verify our identities by clicking a button or checking a box.

Handwriting is seriously at risk of disappearing. During its glorious era, handwriting was used in numerous forms of communication. Letters, post cards, thank you cards, journals and essays were hand-written. Handwritten letters evoke feelings in readers. It makes them feel close to the writers. They capture a little bit of the writer’s personality. A signature often makes the letter feel more authentic to readers. It is a form of revealing the writer’s identity to the reader.

A research by the National Pen Company in the United States suggests that handwriting gives clues about the writer’s personality. However, this research was conducted based on graphology, which is considered a pseudoscience.

Regardless of its limitations, the research makes some interesting claims. It says those who write in large letters are outgoing, people-oriented, outspoken and love attention. While writing small letters show that someone is shy or withdrawn, concentrated and meticulous. People who are well-adjusted and adaptable write average size letters.

Another aspect included in the research was the spacing between words. Wide spacing shows someone who enjoys freedom and doesn’t like to be overwhelmed or crowded, while narrow spacing is associated with people who can’t stand to be alone and can even be intrusive. The research also analysed the shape of letters, looping, dotting, crossing, pressure and page margins.

Handwriting was, once upon a time, an important subject in schools. Some countries have dropped the subject from the curriculum, but a few still teach it. Learning to write is a process about crafting our unique writing style. It is during this time that one finds his signature and handwriting style.

A research published in 2000 by professors from the University of Maryland, US, showed that instructions on improving a child’s handwriting can improve the child’s writing ability.

Sheldon Horowitz, senior director at the National Center for Learning Disabilities in the US, said children who practised handwriting performed better in reading and spelling tasks. The rationale behind the link, Horowitz suggested, was that forming letters by hand while learning about the sounds of the letters activates reading circuits in the child’s brain.

An article published in the Reading Rockets magazine talks about the importance of handwriting as a basic tool used in any subject in school, from taking notes, taking tests and doing classroom work to homework. It argues that poor handwriting can have a negative effect on school performance.

A more recent research published in 2012 in the Trends in Neuroscience and Education journal analysed the effects of handwriting experience on functional brain development among pre-literate children and found that handwriting is vital for early recruitment in letter processing of brain regions related to successful reading.

Whether we like it or not, technological gadgets have invaded our world; reading and writing are no exceptions. Most people now read news and books digitally. Crossword puzzles and sudoku, used to be completed with a pencil, are now available as mobile apps. Recipes, used to be written and compiled in a book, are now available as tutorial videos on YouTube. In this shift, pens, pencils and paper will soon be artefacts of the past.

When handwriting no longer exist, some information may not be traceable anymore. Information on whether the writer was in a hurry or took time crafting a letter cannot be discovered through print writing or digital texts. For instance, a piece of writing with multiple misspelled words simply means the writer can’t spell well. The beauty of handwriting may not survive. It may one day be gone and treated as artefacts in museums.

By: Dr Astri Yulia.

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Create education system that’s ours

Friday, August 16th, 2019
The Jawi-khat issue just scratches the surface of the pluralistic Malaysian community. Until we stop being suspicious of each other and build an education system that is uniquely ours, we will remain fragmented. — NSTP Archive

TO understand the Jawi-khat issue, we should refer to the historical development of education in Malaysia.

As much as we have tried to mould an education system that is distinctively ours, the current system is one that began during the British colonial period.

During those years, communities were segregated according to economic activities. This was done purposefully.

Each community had a role to play.

The British assumed the governing role, Malays were responsible for cultivating the fields, the Chinese to manage mining and businesses, while Indians were confined to rubber estates and plantations.

This segregation was solidified when the British allowed each community to chart its own educational endeavour as there was no clear education policy.

The Malays had their own schooling system, which provided education up to primary level.

The Chinese imported teachers and textbooks from China, which had strong Chinese ideology.

Tamil-medium schools were run by untrained teachers in rundown facilities.

Finally, English-medium schools were reserved for the royals and elites.

As the multiple education systems had no coherence and cohesion, it exacerbated the division among the communities.

During the pre-independence era, there were two important education reports — Barnes Report (1951) and Fenn-Wu Report (1952).

The Barnes Report, written by the British, proposed a national school system, where primary vernacular schools maintained one single standard curriculum.

The Chinese objected this as they felt the recommendations centred on Malay supremacy.

This led to the Fenn-Wu Report, which stated that while the Malay language is to be treated as a principal language, there should be provision to recognise Chinese and Tamil as important components in defining the then-Malaya identity.

One of the core arguments was that unity could still be achieved, albeit through multiple mediums of instruction in schools.

The Barnes Report was unsuccessful and to avoid conflict, English-medium national schools were implemented according to the 1952 Education Ordinance.

As much as we have developed over the years, embracing modernity and a progressive mindset, our historical education system continues today.

May 2018 was a monumental moment. For the first time in its history, Malaysians changed the government.

New Malaysia — we thought we have moved away from race-based politics. But the current political scenario appears very much to be linked to race-based ideology.

Malays are reflected through Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia or Bersatu, and to some extent PKR, while DAP represents the Chinese and Indians.

In today’s market-driven world, education is strongly correlated to the economy.

A good education system is a precursor to a strong economy. How is the education system preparing our citizens to face the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

How can Science and Mathematics in English make Malay-sians marketable and employable, regionally and internationally?

Why isn’t coding implemented in English?

Why is the education system lagging behind Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand in international assessments such as The Programme for International Student Assessment?

The narrative has always been “us versus them”, typically used to highlight the ethno-religious division of Malay Muslims against Chinese and Indian non-Muslims.

Everything in Malaysia is interpreted from a racial lens.

The race-based political parties and education system magnify our differences.

Education reforms will merely act as a Band-aid as the wound runs deep.

Often, Malaysians love to draw comparisons with Singapore.

The first thing Singapore did upon being a separate country in 1965 was to fix its diverse education system to have a single-stream primary education.

The Jawi-khat issue just scratches the surface of the pluralistic Malaysian community.

Until we stop being suspicious of each other and build an education system that is uniquely ours, we will remain fragmented.


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Educational dilemmas rest on social dilemmas

Thursday, August 15th, 2019
Education success in plural societies should address the issues which drive social disintegration and enflame social distrust. (NSTP/SHARUL HAFIZ ZAM)
By James Campbell - August 14, 2019 @ 10:32am

IN plural and ethnically diverse societies, the success of educational reform depends upon the extent to which the broader society can address the problems of communalism, social division and fragmentation.

A sense of inclusivity, what some may call much needed social integration or social cohesion, is needed to overcome the constant pull of sectional division in ethnically divided societies.

Given the seemingly interminable way in which racial and religious divisions impact on educational debates and the best efforts of reformers, social reintegration and cohesion are both laudable and necessary objectives if much needed educational reform in societies such as Malaysia is to succeed.

J.S. Furnivall, who is well known to historians and political scientists for his critique ‘Plural Society’, is arguably not as well known for his observations in regard to education.

Yet Furnivall’s observations with respect to education are worth pointing out since they point to an essential characteristic of the educational dilemma in plural societies that stares at us plainly and uncomfortably.

According to Furnivall, “Education, then, is the sum of all those processes which fit the youth for social life.”

Note that education here is not defined simply as instruction nor is it limited to what goes on in educational institutions such as schools and universities.

Furnivall argues in fact that there is “a tendency to confuse education with instruction”.

Education in Furnivall’s opinion is wider and more complex than the narrow confines of formal instruction in universities and schools although it obviously includes that.

In this observation, Furnivall appears to be in good company. Educational thinkers such as John Dewey, to cite just one example, point out that education properly understood is a broad process of growth and social development.

As Furnivall points out, if a society is utterly fragmented, lacking in social integration and cohesion, then this begs the question to what extent such societies can achieve their educational aims.

What does it mean to say one is educated in circumstances where social division distrust and animus crowd out efforts at understanding and social integration?

In extreme cases of communally divided societies where any reform or positive step is torn apart by sectional interests and division, it can be tempting to ask if a society understood in any normative and integrated sense exists at all.

Furnivall argues much the same when he points out regarding the legacy of colonialism that: “Everywhere in the Tropical Far East there has come into existence a Plural Society, held together not by tradition or religion but by little more than the steel framework of the law in a society in which distinct social orders live side by side but separately within the same political unit.

“In circumstances such as these, the social life within each community tends to be disintegrated, and there is, moreover, no all-embracing social life. In the strict sense of the word, there is no society. If, then, education is the sum of all the processes which fit the child as a member of society, how can he be educated where society does not exist?”

The problem of education in plural societies is thus according to Furnivall a problem closely connected to the way in which society is integrated and made cohesive.

Wider cultural social, political and economic dynamics inform what it is to be educated. These wider dynamics impact on the discourse of educational reform and instructional practices in diverse ways.

Some people may think that if only politics, social issues, economics and culture could be kept out of education, then educators could focus on the practical problems of instruction free from outside influence. This, however, is a pipe dream.

The problems of education have always been deeply cultural, economic and political. In plural societies, the problems of social division, distrust conflict and competition are never far from educational debate.

Rather than viewing such forces as somehow extraneous to education, as if we could somehow ignore them, we need to view them as a critical part of our educational problem.

Societies divided by sectional interests, ripped apart by racial and religious division, will necessarily view all educational reform and proposals through the prism of conflict and social competition.

In such societies the problem of education and the success of educational reform will ultimately rest on addressing the wider inequalities and divisions which result from the colonial inheritance of plural society.

Educational success in such societies is therefore not simply limited to how we advance practical instruction within schools, universities and other educational institutions. Rather, success in educational reform rests ultimately upon addressing the issues which drive social disintegration and enflame social distrust. These issues incessantly pose basic dilemmas for policy makers, educators and citizens alike and their resolution would greatly add to the success of educational reform.

By James Campbell.

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Khat will be an activity with three pages – Maszlee

Friday, August 9th, 2019

PUTRAJAYA: The Education Ministry stands by its decision to implement khat in vernacular schools, nearly a week after Putrajaya said the Malay-Arabic calligraphy would be made part of the Year 4 Bahasa Melayu syllabus beginning next year.

Education Minister Maszlee Malik said that khat would only be an activity, not a subject in itself, taking up three pages of the textbook.

He also said it would be up to teachers to decide how they want to teach it.

“Khat will go ahead, but will not be included in examinations or tests,” he said at a special press conference here which was also attended by his deputy Teo Nie Ching, the Star reported.

“We hope that with the Cabinet’s decision on khat, the issue will not be raised anymore and create any misunderstanding.”

The move to introduce khat was met with protest from some, including Chinese and Tamil interest groups who said it would not help vernacular school students increase their standard of Malay.

Segments of DAP grassroots office bearers were also against the move.

The ministry previously said that plans to introduce khat – which it called an integral part of Malaysia’s national identity – had been around since 2014.

When asked if students could choose not to learn khat, Maszlee said it would be up to the teacher.

On Sabah and Sarawak’s opposition to khat, Maszlee said the states are part of the country.

“So according to the constitution, education is a federal matter,” he said, reiterating that the move to implement khat is merely a continuation of the decision by the previous administration.

With this decision, vernacular schoolteachers can opt to teach khat if they want to. Teachers at national schools, however, are still required to teach it as part of their Year 4 Bahasa Melayu subject next year as scheduled.

Originally, the Ministry said that the introduction of khat as part of the Bahasa Melayu subject for Year Four pupils would be implemented next year as planned.

It would have involved all primary school students, and would have been done via six out of 164 pages in the new Bahasa Melayu Year Four textbook as part of the language art activities.

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