PETALING JAYA: Parents and teachers express a mixed feelings over the learning of khat as part of the Bahasa Melayu curriculum for Year Four pupils.
Those met said they did not see any harm in learning something new but felt it would be better if it was made as an optional.
A parent who only wanted to be known as Ng said he didn’t mind his children learning khat as he saw no harm in learning something new.
“But I disagree with its introduction because while the minister said pupils will not be tested on khat,there is no black and white to show that there indeed will not be exams on it.
“Our government often flip flops on their policies so I have no confidence in this matter.
“If there is an assurance that even if there is a change in government in the future that pupils will not be tested on khat,then I am all for it,” said the father of two primary school children.
Another parent,who wanted to be known as Clarissa,said that she did not see anything wrong with non-Muslim pupils learning khat but felt it should not be incorporated into Bahasa Melayu,which is a compulsory pass subject in UPSR.
“If preserving culture is the intent,then khat should be taught in subjects like Art or in co-curricular clubs,” she said.
Clarissa who has two primary school children wanted to know whether Chinese calligraphy and Tamil writing would also be introduced into the Bahasa Melayu syllabus so that students learn to “appreciate other cultures” as well.
Fadzil,a primary school teacher,likens khat to cursive writing and stressed that there were no religious elements to learning it during Bahasa Melayu lessons.
“The pupils are not learning Jawi but they are learning the khat style of writing,” he said,adding that it was the same as learning Chinese calligraphy.
Fadzil said learning such style of writing should not be a problem for non-Malay pupils.
“Teachers have already begun training to teach pupils this ‘art form’ and pupils will just learn the basics,” he said.
Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education said khat should be offered as an option as it was just a skill.
Its chairman Mak Chee Kin said those who were keen should not be denied the chance to learn,thus offering it as an option would be good.
“Since there are so many things for our students to learn,we should gear our students towards STEM (Science,Technology,Engineering and Mathematics) and the digital world which will prepare them for the future workforce,” he said.