The arts to return to schools, says Maszlee

Education Minister Maszlee Malik.

PUTRAJAYA: The education ministry has been working to develop a National Art Education Policy to bring the arts back into the education system to produce students who have a keener sense of appreciation, said minister Maszlee Malik.

“Without an aesthetic sense, one will be judgmental and see the world only in black-and-white, leading to a tendency for extremism,” he said when launching the Cendana Arts Education Programme here today.

Relating his experience of living in the United Kingdom, Maszlee said his children not only studied the normal subjects at school, but were also taught various forms of arts and participated in theatre performances every month.

The Cendana Arts Education Programme is implemented by the Cultural Economy Development Agency (Cendana) for students from Year Three to Year Six in schools.

The programme is divided into two sections — the #BASKL Art Study Tour (AEX) Programme and the Artists in Schools Programme (AISP).

Under AEX, students will receive direct exposure through guided tours of visual arts exhibitions. Each selected school will be granted an allocation of up to RM5,000 a year to cover the cost of transportation, food and insurance for 108 students to attend selected events.

Under the AISP, selected artists will provide art courses in schools. This involves an allocation of RM8,000 per school.

Commenting on Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin, the math genius who was convicted of paedophilia and is currently studying at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Maszlee said the matter would be discussed with the university’s vice-chancellor.

“If there is any feedback from UKM, I will update the media,” he said when asked about parents’ concern after the issue surfaced on social media.

In 2015, Nur Fitri Azmeer was sentenced to nine months in prison after he pleaded guilty to 17 charges of possessing more than 30,000 child pornographic images and videos while pursuing his studies at the Imperial College London.