Khat already in national syllabus since 2015, says union

Harry Tan Huat Hock, secretary-general of the National Union of the Teaching Profession

PETALING JAYA: The national teachers’ union has questioned the controversy over lessons on khat (Jawi calligraphy) for Year 4 vernacular school pupils next year, saying that khat lessons had already been part of the national schools’ curriculum since 2015.

Harry Tan Huat Hock, secretary-general of the National Union of the Teaching Profession, said the introduction to the art of khat was intended to inculcate an appreciation of Malay heritage and national identity.

“The issue should not be blown out of proportion to the extent of inviting controversy,” he said in a statement, Bernama reported.

He said the art of writing in Arabic, Chinese and Tamil was introduced for Year One pupils in 2011 when the KSSR primary school curriculum was implemented.

“It is therefore inappropriate to make it an issue that invites controversy,” he said.

In 2015, the art of khat was introduced in the Year 5 Bahasa Melayu syllabus for national schools under the theme “Appreciating the Culture of the Nation”.

“This is the year for the Year 4 KSSR curriculum revision, so professionals need to have discussions and find ways so that learning khat will not burden the students. We want to foster a beautiful writing style by 2020,” he said.

The education ministry has proposed to introduce khat in the Year Four Bahasa Melayu curriculum for vernacular schools next year but this has provoked controversy.