Educationist groups: Don’t make hasty decisions

Making their voices heard: Ong (seated,centre),Tan (seated,right) and representatives from 10 Chinese guilds and Tamil education groups at the joint press conference.

PETALING JAYA: The teaching of khat as part of the Bahasa Melayu subject for Year Four pupils from 2020 should be postponed until all matters have been clarified,said Chinese educationist groups Dong Zong and Jiao Zong.

In a joint press conference with 10 other Chinese guilds and Tamil education groups,they also want the government to give details on how the Jawi calligraphy would be introduced in Chinese and Tamil primary schools.

Dong Zong is the United Chinese School Committees Association of Malaysia while Jiao Zong is the United Chinese School Teachers Association of Malaysia.

Dong Zong president Tan Tai Kim,who read out the joint statement,called on the Education Ministry to announce the part of the language syllabus as well as the Standard Curriculum and Assessment Document – which detailed the standards by which a subject should be taught – that would have to be amended.

“This is important to placate public worries and to ensure that the implementation meets the needs of the pupils. We hope the ministry will engage with all relevant groups first before making any hasty decision,” he said.

Also present were Jiao Zong chairman Ong Chiow Chuen and other representatives from the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Hua Zong),the Tamil Foundation Malaysia,the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) and Merdeka University Bhd.

Tan said Dong Jiao Zong would be meeting Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching today to further discuss the matter.

The group reiterated that introducing khat would not help pupils improve their Malay language skills,adding that the burden on teachers and pupils should also be considered.

“We should emphasise on improving pupils’ skills in Malay. Also,the ministry should refer to the Standard Five Malay textbook on the introduction of calligraphy of various groups,which also includes khat,” they said.

The group said they were not rejecting the learning of khat and multiculturalism but were concerned mainly about the burden on teachers and pupils.

They also added that they remained “cautious” over Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik’s statement that schoolchildren would not be tested on their khat writing skills during examination.

A representative from Tamil Foundation Malaysia said it was agreeable with the teaching of khat as long as this did not affect the pupils’ learning of the Malay language.

“As the learning hours for the national language are less in vernacular schools compared to Sekolah Kebangsaan,we don’t want to jeopardise our pupils.

“In fact,we want to increase the learning time for the subject,” he said.

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