Unrealistic to teach khat in Tamil schools, says Waytha

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, P Waytha Moorthy.

PETALING JAYA: The minister for national unity, P Waytha Moorthy, has joined the debate on khat (Jawi calligraphy) lessons in vernacular schools, saying the teaching of Jawi calligraphy was not realistic and unnecessary for Tamil schools.

The government should instead find ways to reduce the burden on schoolchildren, while looking into other skills, such as computer programming (coding) that students should acquire, and also tackle problems such as unemployment among graduates, he was reported to have said.

According to Malaysiakini, he also claimed that many other ministers similarly disagreed with the education ministry’s decision to introduce khat lessons in the Year Four syllabus for vernacular schools next year.

After protests from Chinese and Tamil educationists and members of the DAP, the ministry said only three pages in the Standard 4 Bahasa Malaysia textbook would be dedicated to khat next year, instead of six. Khat lessons would also be optional.

However, the Chinese schools movement, Dong Zhong, has launched a petition, supported by Tamil education groups, against the teaching of khat on grounds it had been used as a medium to spread Islam.