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Consensus? Educationist groups still want khat postponed

Published:  |  Modified:

Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching may claim to have achieved “consensus” with educationist groups over khat, but the latter have maintained the government should postpone introducing it in primary schools.

Following her meeting with the groups yesterday, Bernama reported Teo as saying they had agreed that only the khat calligraphy, and not learning the Jawi script, would be introduced to students beginning next year.

They had also agreed that khat will not be tested in examinations, she said.

However, Chinese educationist groups Dong Zong and Jiao Zong have since provided their own version of events of the meeting and reiterated they want the entire initiative to be deferred.

Here is their full statement as translated from Mandarin.

“Today, representatives from Chinese and Tamil NGOs clarified our position, as per our joint statement we made on Aug 5, with the deputy minister.

“During the meeting, we clearly stated our firm position in opposing the teaching of Jawi writing in national-type schools.

“The Chinese and Tamil groups explained that since five years ago, the Standard Five Bahasa Malaysia textbook only introduced students to the basics of the Jawi script, and does not actually ask them to learn it (neither writing, homework or examinations). This is acceptable.

“We reaffirmed our position to the deputy minister that the introduction of Jawi should be deferred pending more discussions. They need to engage stakeholders to discuss this before rolling out Jawi basics in schools.

“In the future, we agreed the relevant education groups must be consulted about any major or sensitive education issues which involve the different ethnic groups.

“We must have more positive and open communication in order to build a good and comprehensive education system,” it read.

Yesterday’s meeting included representatives from Dong Zong, Jiao Zong and Tamil Foundation.

Malaysiakini has contacted Teo and the Education Ministry for clarification.

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