The raging debate over the government's plan to introduce a six-page lesson on khat calligraphy in the Year 4 Bahasa Malaysia textbook for vernacular schools next year has seen prominent media coverage in the last few days.
The issue has seen some fierce reactions by political leaders, educationists and community groups and a number of misconceptions have arisen.
To help clarify a number of issues thrown up by the debate over khat, the Education Ministry has put together a list of 10 Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the issue?
Revised Primary School Standards-Based Curriculum (KSSR) for the Standard 4 Bahasa Malaysia syllabus will introduce khat calligraphy as part of the additional segment.
What is the purpose of the introduction of khat writing?
Khat calligraphy serves as an aspect of language arts to enrich students with knowledge on history, art and heritage of Bahasa Malaysia.
How is khat calligraphy segmented?
It will take up 6 out of 164 pages of the new Bahasa Malaysia Standard 4 textbook as part of language art activities.
Will students master Jawi through these 6 pages?
The implementation of khat calligraphy is not comprehensive learning to master Jawi but to enhance the knowledge on history, art and heritage of Bahasa Malaysia.
Will the implementation happen in SJK (vernacular schools) only?
No. This introduction of khat calligraphy involves all primary schools; SK (national) and SJK (vernacular).
When was this decision to include khat calligraphy made?
The introduction of khat calligraphy was decided during the revision of the curriculum (KSSR) in 2014.
Will this implementation target only Year 4?
The introduction of khat calligraphy is for Level 2 students which will involve Year 4 in 2020, Year 5 in 2021 and Year 6 in 2022. There will be no involvement for Level 1 students (Year 1 – 3).
Will khat calligraphy be tested in tests and exams?
No. Khat calligraphy is not to be tested and assessed.
Why are non-Malay students forced to study khat calligraphy?
The introduction of khat calligraphy is meant as an attempt to enhance the knowledge on history, art and heritage of Bahasa Malaysia, it should not be seen as forced.
In addition to this, the Jawi script has also been taught in SJK through the Bahasa Malaysia curriculum since 2015. This can be referred to SJK Year 5 (2015 edition) page 85 to 88 under Theme 6; Culture and Nation Appreciation (Unit 17 – The Writing Art).
Why khat calligraphy instead of coding and the other subjects?
The Education Ministry introduced coding to primary and secondary students through the revised Primary School Standards-Based Curriculum (KSSR) and Secondary School Standards-Based Curriculum (KSSM) in 2017.
This involves Level 2 students (Year 4 – 5) in primary school and Form 1 – 3 in secondary school. The element of coding is incorporated within the subject of Technology Design and Computer Science.