‘National schools won’t be breeding grounds for terrorism’

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PUTRAJAYA: Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid said national schools will not be allowed to be the platform to spread extremism propagated by Islamic State (IS) or deviant teachings that could lead to violence.

He said the ministry wanted parents not to worry if a school was Islamic or not.

“Parents have freedom to choose which stream their child should attend, either religious, vernacular or national schools,” he said during a press conference after his ministry’s post-Cabinet meeting here.

Mahdzir told FMT yesterday that the government would not allow national schools to become “too Islamic”, stressing that Malaysia is a modern Muslim nation.

He had said this in reply to a question whether national schools were being too Islamic, causing more non-Malay parents to send their children to private or Chinese schools.

Mahdzir also responded on the issue of prayer (doa) in schools. He said “doa” was carried out for the overall wellbeing of all students and teachers.

“This same kind of doa is also observed during functions by individuals and institutions to protect people from any threats that could harm the public’s wellbeing.”

During the press conference, he also explained that Malaysia’s education system was based on the Education Act 1996 that allowed the setting up of national, Chinese and Tamil vernacular streams, religious and missionary schools.

He further added that national schools were created for all and used the same medium of language, curriculum and exams.

“It is clear that national schools are a place for us to instil unity from a young age.

“Since it was set up, national schools are a medium to unite various races and to work together,” he said, adding the government will continue to foster unity.

As for Islamic education in schools, he explained the ministry would continue to protect and strengthen it to make sure every student has the opportunity to learn Islam.

“This is the system that has been implemented according to the Education Act.

“What is important is for students from various backgrounds to have access to education through the different streams.”