PETALING JAYA: Parents of Year Four pupils in vernacular schools will get to decide if their children will be taught the Jawi script.
The Education Ministry said that it was decided during the weekly Cabinet meeting Wednesday (Aug 14) that the parent-teacher associations (PTAs) together with parents and pupils of vernacular schools will have a say on whether pupils will learn Jawi writing in the Bahasa Melayu subject.
"This means Jawi writing will remain an optional topic for vernacular schools, " said the ministry.
The decision follows a public outcry when it was announced late last month that Jawi writing (formerly referred to as khat calligraphy) will be part of the Year Four Bahasa Melayu textbook.
Several education groups, politicians and parents have also questioned the rationale behind the move.
Various people, including former minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, opined that khat should not be made part of the school curriculum but an elective subject.
The Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday (Aug 14) that although the choice to teach and learn it has been given to Chinese and Tamil schools, national schools will still have to conduct jawi writing lessons.
It will be taught as scheduled as part of the Bahasa Melayu curriculum for Year Four pupils in national schools from next year.
"The ministry hopes that through the decision made by the Cabinet, the issue of the introduction of Jawi writing in national schools will not be raised inaccurately anymore, causing great confusion.
"The Education Ministry will continue to hold engagement sessions (on this matter) with everyone for the benefit of the nation's education system, " it said.
The ministry said the Cabinet insisted that there be no form of testing or assessment for Jawi in the Bahasa Melayu subject and it will remain as only three pages in the textbook.