PUTRAJAYA: Late last year, Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan received a call from an unknown number while he was in a meeting.
He decided to make time for the call anyway and he was glad he did – it was former Education Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Wan Mohd Zahid Mohd Noordin, calling to discuss how to bring kindness back to schools.
On Wednesday, the two finally met in person to discuss the #StandTogether campaign, a joint initiative by property developer SP Setia (of which Dr Wan Zahid is chairman) and R.AGE to create a National Kindness Week in all Malaysian schools.
“I was pleasantly surprised when I received your call,” said Kamalanathan. “I’ve heard so much about the work you did in the Education Ministry. Thank you so much for building a strong foundation.”
Dr Wan Zahid returned the compliment, thanking Kamalanathan for publicly pledging his support on social media immediately after the campaign was launched.
“It took us by surprise when you shared your comments (in support of #StandTogether) spontaneously. That shows how concerned you are, so we are very grateful,” he said.
The pair also discussed the challenges in implementing a National Kindness Week in all schools, as well as how to recreate the sense of unity and respect they had when they were schooling.
“Kindness is something that has to be natural and a National Kindness Week will put us back on track to instil such values among students,” said Kamalanathan.
“Students need to be able to go to school feeling brave and confident. There should not be any element of fear.”
The deputy minister then called on all schools to support efforts to promote kindness and curb bullying.
He said schools that sweep bullying cases under the carpet should “be prepared for action”.
“It’s better for us to find solutions early than to wait for (the problem) to become big and then blame everyone else,” he added.
“We at the Education Ministry will do whatever we can to support this initiative.”
Schools and students interested in taking part in the National Kindness Week, scheduled for the first week of April, can email R.AGE at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, log on to standtogether.my or fb.com/StandTogetherMY