In renewed push, Dong Jiao Zong urges Chinese school boards to reject Jawi script lessons

Kenneth Tee
Examples of khat calligraphy in Balik Pulau, Penang August 6, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

PETALING JAYA, Nov 25 — Chinese education group Dong Jiao Zong and Chinese-based NGOs want the state branches of the Chinese School Management Board Association to hold a meeting and refuse the implementation of Jawi script lessons in their vernacular schools.

Vernacular paper Sin Chew Daily reported Dong Jiao Zong president Tan Tai Kim saying the organisation would submit a memorandum to the Education Ministry next week, insisting on the inclusion of school boards in the decision-making process on the introduction of Jawi.

“Our joint meeting is to reiterate our stance. We will not waiver and will continue to push for our inclusion as part of decision making (on the teaching of Jawi),” Tan was quoted saying in a consensus decision by Dong Jiao Zong and Chinese NGOs yesterday.

The NGOs were named as Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Hua Zhong) and United Chinese School Teachers Association of Malaysia (Jiao Zong).

Apart from the memorandum submission, the other consensus point was Dong Jiao Zong’s dissatisfaction and concern that the ministry has yet to list vernacular school boards as a decision-making unit on teaching Jawi.

Tan claimed the ministry has been evasive on the issue despite five discussions that were held between both parties on July 25, August 8, August 14, August 21 and November 5.  

In August, the federal government drew flak for announcing the introduction of khat (Jawi calligraphy) for Primary Four vernacular school pupils beginning next year.

The same month, the Education Ministry said vernacular schools will only teach the Jawi script at a basic level instead of the khat calligraphy.

Following a discussion by the Cabinet, the ministry said the introductory lessons will stay in vernacular schools, but only with the consent of students and each school’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA).

The ministry also reiterated the Cabinet’s decision that the Jawi lesson takes up only three pages in the Bahasa Malaysia textbook, and will not be subject to any tests or examinations.

Originally, khat took up six out of 164 pages of the new Bahasa Malaysia Standard Four textbook, as part of language art activities.

Related Articles Gagahi siapkan tanda nama tulisan jawi, Cikgu Izzudin meninggal dunia Kit Siang claims Tanjung Piai MCA candidate ran away from PC to escape Jawi spotlight High Court lets Siti Kasim halt lawsuit against Jawi for related obstruction trial