islam in schools

An article on The Sun, October 11th.
I summarized it so that it would be easier for you to read.

The assertion that the country’s educational system is Islamic is already starting to worry some parents, especially non-Muslims.

Still some cannot be blamed for worrying. Abdullah characterized the country’s education as Islamic at a ceremony to mark the completion of Quran learning under the J-QAF program for pupils of selected primary schools. J stands for Jawi, A stands for Arabic script and Q is for Quran.

The objective is to ensure that a Muslim child is well grounded in his religious knowledge by the time he leaves school.

While that may be so, the concern of the non-Muslim parents is understandable considering that a few schools tried surreptitiously to teach Arabic to all pupils. Howls of protest from the non-Muslim parents and a declaration by the education ministry that this program is only for Muslim dealt a dearth blow the effort of the over-zealous teachers.

The religious sensitivities of the others should be taken into consideration. This could very well part of the PAS-Umno polemic to win and retain Muslim support, but the concern of the non-Muslims cannot be ignored.

What Abdullah had said- was a simple observation based on the fact that nothing taught in school is un-Islamic. But the concern and fear is that the assertion will be exploited by overzealous officials and teachers to add on Islamic elements in the schools.

What I think:

The assertive action of these overzealous (wah, I learn a new word today. Siaplah I overuse this word) religious teachers is not correct. They could have opened the options to the non-Muslims to choose to learn Arabic but NOT forcing them to learn it.

But teaching the Arabic language in an opened manner is quite a complicated thing. Some parents might get a little bit worried since Arabic is associated with the Muslim religion. Perhaps the Arabic language could be taught separately and the pupils should be taught on how to converse on general daily stuff rather than things that are closely related to the Islamic teachings.

I think the option of learning a new language should always be encouraged. One says that you can be a genius if you can empower three or more languages, and we could see that those who understand more languages have better chances in their career in life.

Today we could see the active progress of diplomatic and economic ties between our country and the Middle East cities, especially Dubai. More and more people here were transferred there to work with them. To able to speak in their mother tongue is certainly an advantage, especially when you are posted there for months.

1 comment:

Alfred said...

IMHO, it's no more than the mere selfish intention of political leaders trying to woo for votes from Malays/Muslims - Look at Rafidah who dared to decline FDI & even PM's own son-in-law who lashed out about how the Malays had been driven out of Penang Island. Political leaders don't do ANYTHING other than for staying in their positions, esp our Malaysian gov.

I hope there's such a thing called "tongue splitting" punishment for ppl who say one thing and do another - our infamous racial issues. It's their undefeatable premium card to play everytime they want community support for ELECTION.

ppl - leave/abandon Malaysia if u can! there r better places in the world other than where useless Petronas twin towers stand in haze.