KUALA LUMPUR: The teaching of Islamic subjects, especially in kindergartens, will emphasise the inculcation of positive values among Muslim students.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that Islamic education in kindergartens and schools is currently focussed on the techniques of performing prayers, instead of the Islamic way of life.
"We want to empower kindergartens, because that is where we want to nurture our children.
"We will ensure that Islamic values will be given focus in the subject, instead of politics.
"(Current) Islamic education is limited to teaching certain prayers, not the Islamic way of life.
"This is what we want to change in our education system… so that it would work to build the characters (of students) according to Islamic values," Dr Mahathir said during a question-and-answer session at the Congress on the Future of the Bumiputera and the Nation 2018 today.
The session was moderated by Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali. Also present was Dr Mahathir's wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali and PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Dr Mahathir said as for non-Muslims, the subject of moral education will continue to be taught.
He said that good culture breeds the good practice of acquiring knowledge.
"When we talk about education, we tend to focus on mastering knowledge. But that will only be good if it is put to use by someone of good character.
"If he is a rogue, he will use such knowledge for thievery. But if he is trained to be a good person, then he will use the knowledge he acquired for good.
"That is why it is not enough to limit education only to the aspect of knowledge mastery. We need to focus on the quality of students’ (characters) as well," he added.
Dr Mahathir also said that many parents are too busy at work to allocate spending quality time with their children.
"Children today can be wild and do things not in line with positive values," he warned.Reporting by Syed Umar Ariff, Luqman Karim, Mohd Iskandar Ibrahim © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd