Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Arabic, Anyone?

Let me make my position clear on National Schools. I'm all for the concept of national schools in this country as the mainstream of education for students of all races. And I fully support the call by the Prime Minister that "national schools will be strengthened to become the school of choice for all Malaysians" in the 9th Malaysia Plan.

However, is it a surprise that Malaysians, particularly the non-Malay community are avoiding the national schools like plague, and deserting them for overcrowded vernacular schools? I've written plenty on the increasing "Islamisation" of our purportedly secular national schools, as being one of the key factors.

Now, even as mother tongue programmes have yet to be fully implemented in the schools, you will find bungling headmasters and education department officials implementing the most clumsy of policies like forcing Indian students in a school to take Arabic lessons and sit for the corresponding examinations!
Parents of Indian students of SK Sri Baki in Senawang are upset that their children, who are in Year One, were forced to take Arabic in school. Many of the pupils were forced to sit for the examinations even though there were no classes for the first six months, reported Malaysia Nanban.

The school had said that Arabic was a compulsory subject and the children had to sit for the paper.
When parents complained to the Headmaster, the Headmaster blamed the State Education Department. The officer in-charge of languages, Ustaz Hafizi of the State Education Department was queried, he argued that "headmasters were compelled to introduce Tamil, Chinese or Arabic to children of other communities."

Are these people even competent? Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, our dearest Minister of Education, is this your vision of the future of our national schools? How can you blame the vernacular schools for apparently causing national disunity, and the non-Malay community for their fears and paranoia, when the exalted "school of choice" for all Malaysians so obviously marginalises the non-Malay communities?

18 comments:

your fellow anon said...

From a nationalistic perspective, yah, I completely favor a single national school system for all students regardless of race or creed.

However, it is one of those all or nothing deals. You cannot offer matriculation exams only for a selected few, nor make 'Moral' a compulsory class for non-muslim students for the sake of substituting 'Islam' class.

National schools does not solve our integration problems. The root problem lies in the policies.

It is not foreseeable that national schools will become the school of choice for all Malaysians. Correct me if I'm mistaken but the number of non-chinese students going to chinese schools have actually increased over the years.

First have the right policies, other pieces will fall into place on their own.

Anonymous said...

Why is there a religious running a branch of a secular institution?

Anonymous said...

if i may ask, what is difference between arabic and jawi or are they the same?

Anonymous said...

One question, why double standard?

Personally i feel that there's no harm learning more languages, if it is implemented well. If you want everyone to learn Arabic, then everyone has to learn Mandarin and Tamil, end of story.

However, i don't think Keris-muddin has the gut/ass to implement this, and such double standard, no doubt has consent from the highest level. Go figure out who's the very religious man above all.

Husain Zaman said...

Absolutely disgraceful, when i went to pick up sister from schol, i noticed a prominent poster on the school message board proclaiming that women who do not wear scarves are destined for hell. If I as a muslim was disgusted by the poster, i can only imagine the feeling of the non muslim parents who send their children here. And they call it a national school, I wonder how the muslims would feel if a missionary school in Malaysia put up a poster saying that all those who dont believe in Christ will end up in hell, I tell u the very next moment there will be a mob shouting darah keris, pertahankan islam ad all that bull. Sometimes these people make me feel ashamed to be a muslim. I am all for the concept of national schools, but just like usual in Malaysia, good policy, noble aims, crap implementation.

Husain Zaman said...

oh yeah sorry bout the spelling, didnt read through before posting, so dont tell me to learn how to spell before commenting

Anonymous said...

The UMNOputras only know how to talk cock and bu****ts in front of mass gatherings. If they've the guts, go and help your brothers and sisters in Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon using the keris. Period.

ps. I apologise if anyone feel offended by my comment. Moderators can delete this anytime. :)

Najah said...

As with most policies in Malaysia, it looks great on paper, but then they hire monkeys (as it you pay peanuts and get monkeys type of monkeys) to execute its implementation. Here is one such monkey, who was probably hired by a like-minded monkey. Who then, in turn, make us Malaysians look like buffoons to the likes of foreigners like Michael Beckman.

If anything, I would like to see them make English Literature compulsory (seeing how English alone isn't enough to fix our language problems) and a competitive advantage language... say... Mandarin?

And what's with all the passing of the buck? The headmaster, state education office, MIC all dapat gaji buta ke? Don't tell me you have to refer everything to the education minister? And what do you think would happen if the parents even get that far? Would he too then pass the buck to Pak Lah? Accountability. That's what missing in the civil servant psyche.

Endrant.

Anonymous said...

My daughter used to attend a national type school. It was a Convent with a Muslim principal. I had no problem until my daughter cut her hair short. Is it wrong to have short hair? She had to wash her hair daily as she was a very active student being captain of her house and had to represent her house and school at all sorts of games and sport? The principal wanted to shame her by putting her on stage on assembly day and then she was ordered to wear the tudong (we are catholics) until the hair grew longer!! Of course, we as parents would have none of it, and made such a fuss with the discipline mistress that they dropped all intention to punish my daughter!! They could not show me any school rule that discouraged short hair in girls. Anyway, she became a marked person in school. By the way, there used to be a cross on top of the roof of the school as it was a Catholic missionary school. Now the two ends of the horizontal arm of the cross have been amputated with just a vertical structure standing. What do you think of this? Well, back to my daughter. To her credit, she took all this victimisation in her stride, enjoyed her time in school, was popular with her friends, and managed to score 10 straight As in her SPM. Her name now adorns the school leaderboard as top student of her year, much to the chagrin, I suspect, of her headmistress, now transferred to new pastures where she would again be let loose to wreak havoc on another group of poor innocent and unsuspecting students with her misplaced "moral values" and religious zeal.

meeranam joker said...

The differences between 'arabic' and 'jawi'

Arabic are people from arabia,
Jawi are people from Jawa or java

muaha ha ha ha!

Anonymous said...

hey seriously lah..I know the diff. already..

Anonymous said...

Here is what I think, there is an internal struggle of sort within Malaysia much like the concept of the Clash of Civilization. The culprit is rooted in religion. Most of the “conflicts” we see in Malaysia and the world in general can be traced to Islam. This is not an insult to Islam but to Muslims who used Islam or interpret Quran whichever way they choose for their bigoted view.

Many had read Verse 54:17 “And We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition?” yet there is so much opposing views on many fundamental issue such as Tudung, death to apostate and “No compulsion in religion” even among the Muslim themselves.

Unless religion is kept as personal and out of national politics and education, we will not see a national school appealing to the general public, be it Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists and others.

National school should be neutral – a centre for education for its citizen. Subjects of specific interest may be taught such as languages, religious studies etc. If parents prefer Islamic environment in school, then they can enroll their children in exclusive Islamic schools. The same should go to other exclusive type of school, be it Catholic school or Sports Academy and so forth. The key word is choice but the main stream must be neutral.

Unfortunately, I can’t see this happening in Malaysia for at least 2 generations because of UMNO and its policy of NEP and Ketuanan Melayu! The irony is the use of religion for such purpose!

Kian Ming said...

I personally don't have a problem with teaching ourselves or our children new languages. I would have loved to learn Arabic in school when I was young. The problem here is that parents are not given a choice. Subjects such as Chinese or Tamil or Arabic cannot and should not be 'forced' on kids whose parents have not been consulted.

I remember that Jawi was compuslary for a few years in my primary school days (in the early 1980s). Does anyone else remember why it was made compulsary and then subsequently dropped as a compulsary subject.

I remember enjoying learning the Arabic script and even entered a few Jawi reading competitions for non-Malays.

But learning on one's volition and being forced to learn a subject that is not compulsary at the national level should not happen.

This certainly does not help MOE's push to encourage more non-Malay parents to send their kids to National Schools instead of National Type primary schools.

Anonymous said...

Mdm Fairplay - is this convent school in Penang? If so, I know the people chosen to head the school from that time; all I can say is that it is a sad day that the IJ Sisters left.

daniel said...

I agree that classes like Arabic should remain optional. It is very often that 'ultras' principals are the main culprits imposing their own rules and interpretations of education policies and aided by the local education officials.

Just as an example, my alma mater at my hometown was the premier secondary school in the '60s and '70s. After my time there as a student, a string of ultras became a dynasty of principals causing the non-malays to shun the school. Even the school emblem was not spared and the inscriptions and motto were changed into Jawi.

Some years back, another Malay-Muslim principal at a Convent wanted to remove the statue of the Virgin Mary which was built since inception of the school. Only an uproar by the PIBG and the alumni association averted the disaster.

Many national education policies are the main reasons why there exists a racial divide and their implementation at the schools causes the polarisation of students into the national and vernacular schools.

Mdm Fairplay said...

Yes, the school is in Penang. My daughter left after the SPM 5 years ago. The teachers were a mixed bag. Some were inspirational, especially the Maths Teacher and the Girl Guide Mistress who were able to maximise the potentials of their charges, and also showed them by example how to grow up into proper ladies with their ideals intact. I hope that they have a more understanding principal now.

dracula77 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
dracula77 said...

I think we need to differentiate arabic and jawi here. I would like to say that the alphabet (arabic script) is the same. However, in most school, they only teach arabic script (jawi) rather than arabic language. The script is same in a few languages e.g arabic, parsi etc. However, the pronounciation and meaning are different. In 1980s, we only learned jawi, which we used arabic script to spell Malay words. By learning jawi, you can read arabic or parsi etc, however you don't understand the meaning.

Nothing wrong with learning jawi. For example, non-muslim in middle east also use arabic script! It's only 'Malaysian perception', everything looks like/ spell in arabic script is Muslim..It's absolutely wrong..