KUALA LUMPUR: Moral and Islamic Studies will be scrapped by 2005 and replaced by a new subject that will be studied by both Muslim and non-Muslim students.
Education director-general Datuk Abdul Rafie Mahat said the new subject, which is yet to be named, will be introduced from Year Four instead of Year One and is designed to promote “nation-building, patriotism and civic mindedness among the younger generation.”
“This change is being made based on the needs of the nation and feedback we have received on Moral and Islamic Studies. The CDC (Curriculum Development Centre) is finalising the syllabus,” Abdul Rafie told The Star.
Instead of being divided into two groups to study different subjects, all students would now learn “values and citizenship together.”
Muslims will continue to take Islamic Studies but only after school hours, he added.
Abdul Rafie said the contents of the new subject would be more “civics-like” and students would learn about “each other’s culture and history.”
Another focus of the new subject would be national unity, which would be in keeping with the national service syllabus that was being drawn up for 18-year-olds next year.
“This is a way of complementing the national service programme,” Abdul Rafie said at his office yesterday.
In June, national service was made compulsory for one-fourth of SPM school leavers, selected randomly. They would have to undergo three months’ training aimed at promoting the spirit of patriotism and for character building.
Abdul Rafie said that as a component of the new subject, the ministry was considering social work as an “organised extra-curricular activity.”
With the new subject, he hoped students would be more appreciative of what they have and their country.
On the status of Islamic Studies, he said Muslim students would follow a new programme, which he declined to elaborate.
However, ministry sources said that Islamic Studies would be based on the Kafa programme (teaching the rudiments of Islam) under which imams (religious teachers) would teach the subject.
Last month, the Prime Minister’s religious adviser, Tan Sri Dr Abdul Hamid Othman, announced that the Government was going back to the basics to groom imams as religious and Quran teachers to help mould the younger generation into better citizens and eradicate social problems. Currently, teachers and not imams teach Islamic Studies.
Abdul Rafie said the introduction of the new subject encompassed a lot of work, including writing new textbooks and training teachers, hence the time it would take to implement it.
“If I had it my way, I would say start as soon as possible but that it not feasible. We have to look at things carefully and we are still getting feedback on its content and implementation,” he added.
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