Parents get final say on jawi in vernacular schools

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 15 Aug 2019

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 the Cabinet has included an additional criterion if jawi (formerly referred to as khat calligraphy) will be taught to Year Four pupils.

The ministry added that the Cabinet, during its meeting yesterday, decided that Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) of vernacular schools will have a say if the pupils will learn it through the Bahasa Melayu subject.

“This means jawi will remain an optional topic for vernacular schools, ” said the ministry.

The decision follows public outcry last month when the ministry announced jawi will be part of the Year Four Bahasa Melayu syllabus.

The ministry’s initial announcement triggered an uproar among education groups, politicians and parents, who questioned the rationale behind the move.

Various people, including former minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, opined that jawi should not be made part of the school curriculum but an elective subject.

Last Thursday, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said teachers in vernacular schools had the power to decide whether they want to teach jawi to pupils.

“Although the choice to teach and learn it was given to Chinese and Tamil schools, national schools will still have to conduct jawi lessons, ” the ministry said in a statement yesterday.

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 in national schools will not be raised anymore inaccurately, causing great confusion, ” 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 would remain in only three pages of the textbook.

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