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 EDUCATION

Huazong wants clarification on Jawi calligraphy guidelines

13th December, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: The Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) has urged the Ministry of Education to have a dialogue with key Chinese and Indian organisations to clarify its guidelines on Jawi teaching.

Its president Tan Sri TC Goh said the government should address the concerns and anxiety among the Chinese and Indian communities on guidelines in view of the fast approaching new school session next year.

In a statement issued this week, Goh said Huazong has listed 10 key issues which it hoped the Ministry of Education could clarify as soon as possible.

The 10 key issues are as follows:

1. The Ministry has yet to provide a definite answer to the request of Chinese and Indian organizations and education bodies, that the school board must be included in the decision-making body over the teaching of Jawi calligraphy in Chinese and Tamil primary schools. 2. Is the role of Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) just to gather parents’ views in regards to the teaching of Jawi calligraphy? 3. Does the same apply to the school board, if a school is without a PTA? 4. Does the PTA or the school board (in the absence of PTA) has the right to make a decision? 5. In the case of the national type primary schools, which are dominated by Chinese and Indian pupils, can a simple majority (51%) decide not to accept the teaching of Jawi calligraphy, and the minority (49%) must abide by the majority decision? 6. And will the Education Ministry allocate separate classrooms to accommodate the 49% of pupils who agreed to take Jawi calligraphy? 7. In the case of the smaller size or the mini national type primary schools in the rural areas, which are dominated by Malay pupils, if 51% of the pupils accept Jawi calligraphy, must the remaining 49% abide by the majority decision even though they are against it? 8. Or, will the Ministry of Education exempt the abovementioned 49% of pupils from learning Jawi calligraphy? 9. And, in the situation of a tie i.e. 50% vs 50%, how to deal with it? By tossing a coin? Drawing ballot? Or other methods? 10. Is the Education Ministry prepared to have an open-and-honest dialogue with the key Chinese and Indian organisations/education bodies, to listen to their views, to clear their doubts and to make necessary improvements to the guidelines on the teaching of Jawi calligraphy?

Goh said it was important that the ministry must clarify all the doubts surrounding its Jawi guidelines, so as to avoid more confusions and disputes after this.

He also said that where the Chinese primary schools were involved, the school boards must not be sidelined or given cold treatment.

And, Goh reiterated his earlier remarks that the new guidelines on teaching of Jawi calligraphy were bound to have significant impact on the national type primary schools, especially those in the rural areas, and that if the issue was not properly handled, it may undermine the long-established unity and harmony among the people.

“The present government must seriously review the guidelines for Jawi calligraphy teaching in vernacular schools without any further delay,” he said.

   
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