Chinese educationist groups okay with khat implementation

Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching (centre) with representatives of Dong Zong and Jiao Dong and 10 other Chinese and Indian-interest groups at her ministry in Putrajaya today.

PUTRAJAYA: In a change of stance, Chinese educationist groups Dong Zong and Jiao Dong today welcomed the government’s move to introduce a chapter on the Malay-Arabic calligraphy of khat in the Year 4 Bahasa Melayu syllabus in vernacular schools next year.

Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching said the consensual decision was reached after a meeting with Dong Zong and Jiao Dong and 10 other Chinese and Indian-interest groups.

“This is the stand of the NGOs. We at the education ministry agree (with their stand),” Teo told a press conference at her ministry after the meeting this afternoon.

She said the groups also welcomed the proposal that students will not be tested on khat.

However, the groups did not agree with the teaching of Jawi in vernacular schools, she said.

Teo thanked the groups for “caring” about the issue. She said her ministry was committed to improving the Standard Curriculum and Assessment Document, adding that it would work with the NGOs on this.

The other groups present included the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Hua Zong), the Tamil Foundation, the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia, and Merdeka University Bhd.

The Federation of Alumni Associations of Taiwan Universities, the Federation of Chinese School Alumni Associations of Malaysia, the LLG Cultural Development Centre, the Majlis Bahasa Cina Malaysia, Titian Digital Malaysia, and the Association of Graduates from Universities and Colleges of China, Malaysia were also present.

At a meeting yesterday, the groups had signed a statement calling for the deferment of the decision to introduce khat in the Year 4 Bahasa Melayu syllabus in vernacular schools next year.

They had said it did not help Chinese and Tamil primary school students to increase their standard of Malay and that changes to the existing school syllabus should only be done by meeting the needs of each school stream.

Dong Zong secretary-general Ng Chai Heng today said they handed to Teo the joint statement from yesterday and that they discussed with her the points raised in the statement.