Not compulsory to teach Jawi in Year 5 next year, says Assistant Minister

Dr Annuar Rapa’ee – Borneo Post Pix

By John Isaac

THE Ministry of Education (MoE) does not make the teaching of Jawi compulsory for Year 5 starting next year, said Assistant Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapaee today.

Quoting an MoE letter dated Dec 20 last year, he said it was clearly stated that the teaching of Jawi could be implemented only with the blessings of the respective parent-teacher associations (PTAs) or boards of management.

“Refer to (point) 3.2 and 3.3, (the teaching of Jawi is) not compulsory. And approval or concern from the parents are needed.

“Out of 222 SJKC (aided Chinese primary schools) in Sarawak, only one SJKC is taking (the teaching of) Jawi due to the fact that this school has two ‘aliran’ (medium),” he told The Borneo Post when prompted for response to the recent remarks of the Sarawak United Association of Chinese School Boards of Management (Sha Dong Zong).

On Saturday, Sha Dong Zong expressed disappointment and dissatisfaction over the federal government’s announcement that the Bahasa Malaysia (BM) textbook for Year 5 would include a three-page teaching of Jawi beginning next year.

The only SJKC in the state that has implemented the teaching of Jawi is SJKC Daro.

Dr Annuar explained that this is because the school has two mediums, with only the BM-medium taking the teaching of Jawi while the Chinese-medium does not.

He stressed that the MoE letter “is self explanatory” as far as the issue of the teaching of Jawi is concerned.

When asked whether there had been any recent change of MoE’s policy on the teaching of Jawi, he said: “According to the (state) Education Department, no.”

He reiterated: “What matters most (is), read the letter.”

Based on the MoE letter, point 3.2 reads: “The teaching of Jawi will be implemented on an optional basis for pupils of Year 4 in 2020, Year 5 in 2021 and Year 6 in 2022.”

Point 3.3 of the same letter reads: “The teaching of Jawi will be implemented only with the approval of PTAs, parents and pupils of the school. For schools that do not have PTA, implementation can take place only with the approval of boards of management, parents and pupils.”

The letter also clearly stated that pupils, who are learning Jawi, will not be academically assessed.

According to the MoE letter, schools that do not wish to implement the teaching of Jawi are expected to conduct a survey among parents, who will be required to fill out a feedback form provided.

After the schools have received the feedback forms from the parents, their PTA or boards of management have to call for a meeting to work on an analysis on the feedback received.

The meeting will then decide whether or not to implement the teaching of Jawi, with the minute of meeting properly documented and certified by the respective divisional education offices and forwarded to the state Education Department.

On Saturday, Sha Dong Zong said an MoE survey this year had indicated that 97.3 per cent of boards of management and parents had objected to the teaching of Jawi.

It said the survey pointed out that only 35 SJKC out of the total 1,297 across the country chose to implement the teaching of Jawi.

“This outcome is to say that 97.3 per cent of school boards and parents have objected to the teaching of Jawi. Despite so, MoE has ignored the majority of the opinions and insisted on implementing the policy. Sha Dong Zong is extremely disappointed and dissatisfied with this,” said Sha Dong Zong in a statement.

In Sarawak, it said a similar survey was done on 222 SJKC comprising 169 various boards of management and 50 PTAs across Sarawak in February this year.

Sha Dong Zong said the outcome of the survey indicated that 219 schools or 98.7 per cent of the total declined to accept the teaching of Jawi.