‘Encourage study of Bible Knowledge’

Kota Kinabalu: Mission schools should put in more efforts to encourage their students to take up Bible Knowledge as an elective subject for the SPM examination.

Chairman of the Sub-Committee which implements decisions made by the Technical Committee on Sabah and Sarawak Bumiputeras (with regard to matters like mission schools and native customary right (NCR) land), Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, advanced this view when asked to comment on talk that the number of students taking the subject was on the decline.

“We know there are not many. Schools may not want Bible Knowledge to be a subject that will pull down the overall passing rate. But in terms of education, I think we don’t have to look at the subject in this way.

“As an elective subject, Bible Knowledge will not be taken into account for the purpose of scholarship eligibility and things like that,” he said after a recent courtesy call on him by a delegation from the Federation of Councils of Christian Mission Schools Malaysia (FCCMSM), led by its Chairman, Yap Kok Keong.

Among the members were the Federation Secretary, Yin Kam Yoke, Chairperson of the Sabah Council of Christian Mission Schools (SCCMS), Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching, and Secretary, Yap Pak Soon, and Chairperson of the Sarawak Council of Christian Mission Schools (SCCMS), Ambrose Linang.

Asked whether there is a shortage of Bible Knowledge teachers, Dompok, who is Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, felt that first of all, there must be an interest, and being taught in English, it is limited to schools in urban centres where the usage of the language is much more.

“But my point is that Number One, learning Bible Knowledge exposes Christian students to the tenets of universal values,” he contended.

Advocating the study of Bible Knowledge by Christian students, Dompok said it is an opportunity for them to read parts of the Bible not just for examination purposes but also for their personal knowledge.

“Secondly, since it is taught in English, the subject will to a certain degree help the students in improving their proficiency in the language.

“More importantly, we need to imbue the students with universal values for character formation,” he pointed out.

Earlier, in his meetings with educationists and mission school stakeholders from Semenanjung, Sabah and Sarawak over the last three years, Dompok proposed that the three regional councils of Christian Mission Schools get together to form a Federation.

“This is to facilitate discussion of relevant issues and present resolutions to the Government as a unified body, so the Government doesn’t have to deal with a host of administrative school authorities,” he explained.

Such issues pertain to Bible Knowledge being taught in schools (mission and government schools), school maintenance and repairs, appointment of school heads and recruitment of teachers and students.

It was agreed to form the Sabah Council of Christian Mission Schools (SCCMS) on September 2, 2009 with Datuk Bishop Albert Vun as Protem Chairman. Its formation was formalised on September 29, 2010 with Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching elected as Chairperson.

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