PETALING JAYA: Vocal Chinese educationist groups are resisting a new addition to the Bahasa Melayu subject next year aimed at exposing students in vernacular schools nationwide to khat, a form of Malay-Arabic calligraphy writing.
The syllabus will start next year as part of the Year 4 Bahasa Melayu subject, although it is learnt that students will not be tested on their skill in writing khat.
The National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) has welcomed the plan, with teachers already undergoing training for teaching khat.
But Dong Zong and Jiao Zong, groupings representing the interests of Chinese independent schools nationwide, have been up in arms over the plan, and are already mobilising similar interest groups including those representing Tamil schools.
They claim that the khat, as part of the Bahasa Melayu syllabus, is “not suitable”, saying the art of calligraphy writing has nothing to do with learning the national language which follows a romanised script.
“As such, the learning of khat does not contribute to helping students master the Malay language,” said Dong Zong and Jiao Zong, collectively known as DZJ.
The groups were quick to add, however, that their resistance to introducing khat to students should not be seen as a refusal to celebrate the country’s various cultures and languages.
“But we disagree if the learning of cultures is made compulsory for students,” said DZJ.
It said it was enough for students to be given a brief overview of khat, adding that it would be more suited to the arts subject.
“We support the government’s efforts to foster interracial interaction in schools but firmly oppose adding content that would burden teachers and students,” said DZJ.