PETALING JAYA: The education ministry is not backing down on its directive to all schools and colleges to organise a “Palestinian Solidarity Week” despite criticism from many quarters.
In a statement, the ministry defended the planned programme, saying it was in line with the government’s civic education syllabus.
“The Palestinian Solidarity Week is an extension of the civic education syllabus to instil humanitarian values such as respect, compassion, and responsibility.
“The programme aims to educate students on human rights and compassion for others. This includes fostering attitudes of empathy and concern for the suffering of others regardless of their nationality, religion, or social status,” it said.
The Palestinian Solidarity Week, set to run from Oct 29 to Nov 3, will involve all educational institutions under the purview of the ministry, including schools, vocational and matriculation colleges, as well as teacher training colleges across the country.
The ministry said the programme was necessary due to the increased exposure of content related to international conflicts to students.
“Various activities will be carried out throughout this programme and will be adjusted based on existing guidelines, schools, and the participating groups of students,” it said, adding that religious activities such as “solat hajat” would only involve Muslim students.
Yesterday, a group of civil society organisations raised concerns over the week-long programme, after a circular informing schools about it went viral on social media.
They urged the ministry to keep international conflicts, religious disputes and war cries out of schools.
Earlier today, Puncak Borneo MP Willie Mongin questioned the need for students to be involved in such a programme.
“What is the need for us to bring the matter to schools and involve children who should focus on their own future?” he told the Dewan Rakyat today.
Meanwhile, Sarawak deputy premier Dr Sim Kui Hian said the ministry’s move to introduce the programme showed why the state needed to have autonomy in its education system.
He said should the ministry want to campaign for the Palestinians, there are other avenues to do so without getting schools involved.