PETALING JAYA: Chinese educationist groups Dong Zong and Jiao Zong said that 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.
Dong Zong is the United Chinese School Committees Association of Malaysia while Jiao Zong is the United Chinese School Teachers Association of Malaysia.
10 other Chinese guilds and Tamil education groups were also in a joint press conference, saying that they also want the government to give details on how the Jawi calligraphy would be introduced in Chinese and Tamil primary schools.
Education Ministry should 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, said by Dong Zong President Tan Tai Kim as he read out the joint statement.
“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.
Among others who were present are 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.
According to Tan, Dong Jiao Zong would be meeting Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching today to further discuss the matter.
They strongly 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.
They were not rejecting the learning of khat and multiculturalism but were concerned mainly about the burden on teachers and pupils, according to the group.
They just remained “cautious” over Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik’s statement that schoolchildren would not be tested on their khat writing skills during examination.
It was agreeable with the teaching of khat as long as this did not affect the pupils’ learning of the Malay language, Tamil Foundation Malaysian Representative said.
“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.