PETALING JAYA: The Cabinet has decided that khat lessons will be renamed Jawi and will be introduced in the syllabus for Year 4 primary school pupils in vernacular schools, despite the backlash from various groups.
However, it will be optional and will not be a test subject.
The education ministry said in a statement that the lessons would be called “Jawi script” instead of “khat”.
The Cabinet today also agreed that Jawi would only be introduced in vernacular or Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (SJK) schools with the prior agreement of the parent-teacher associations (PIBG) and other parents of pupils.
“It will only be introduced optionally (secara pilihan) at the most basic level for Year 4 pupils, starting from 2020, Year 5 pupils, starting from 2021, and Year 6 pupils, starting from 2022, in vernacular or SJK schools,” it said.
The ministry said Cabinet members had also unanimously decided that the lessons would not be part of any exam or monthly tests.
“The Cabinet maintained the decision for the introduction of the Jawi script to be allocated three pages in the textbooks,” the ministry said.
Chinese and Tamil educationist groups, including Dong Zong, had voiced opposition when it was announced that khat lessons would be included in the Bahasa Melayu subject next year for Year 4 pupils in vernacular schools.
Other groups and individuals too said khat should not be made an exam subject or made compulsory.
Dong Zong has launched a petition to oppose the move to introduce khat lessons and this has garnered tens of thousands of signatures so far.