Friday, March 2, 2012

Christians seek dialogue on education review

Stephanie Sta Maria

March 2, 2012
CCM Youth also calls for a bilingual SPM Bilble Knowledge examination paper so that indigenous Christians are no longer sidelined.
PETALING JAYA: The Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM) Youth today asked that the Christian community be consulted in the impending review of the country’s education system.
The call was prompted by Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s statement last Sunday that Malaysia’s current education system was due for a thorough review and that a detailed proposal would be completed by year-end.
In a press statement, CCM Youth secretary, Daniel Chai, stated that the Christian community was an important stakeholder as far as the subject of Bible Knowledge was concerned.
In conjunction with the 400th anniversary of the publication of Al-Kitab (translated into the Malay language), they have called on the ministry to make the SPM Bible Knowledge examination paper bilingual.
Chai pointed out that the 2010 Housing and Population Census report showed that Christians accounted for 2.6 million or 9.2 percent of the nation’s population.
“Furthermore, a majority of Christians, mainly in Sabah and Sarawak, actually speak Bahasa Malaysia instead of English,” he said. “They have been left out all this while and this needs to be corrected.”
Chai noted that the Bible Knowledge examination paper is only available in English and is currently the only Christian-related subject in SPM for secondary schools.
“Despite the majority of indigenous Christian believers, the Education Ministry appears to have overlooked students in Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.
“The misconception that Christian students only speak English has resulted in this group being deprived of their right to study and sit for the SPM Bible Knowledge paper in Bahasa Malaysia.”
God-fearing nation
Chai added that the Gospel of Matthew in the Malay language was published in 1612, which made it a “historic and significant” publication as it was the earliest translation of the Bible into a non-European language.
The CCM Youth has laid out four recommendations to the Education Ministry as part of the proposed reforms for the SPM Bible Knowledge examination paper.
Aside from a bilingual paper, they have asked for full teaching facilities and resources for indigenous Christian teachers to be trained to teach Bible Knowledge as a core examination subject.
The group has also requested that Christian teachers set the questions for the SPM Bible Knowledge examination paper as well as mark the papers.
“We will persist in seeking justice and upholding the rights of all Christian students and students of all other non-Muslim faiths to be allowed full access to teaching resources that will help strengthen their faith, and in doing so, help build a righteous and God-fearing nation,” CCM Youth pledged.
A copy of the statement was also issued to the Education Ministry, the Teachers’ of Christian Fellowship and Malaysian Christian Schools’ Council.
The ministry has since appointed nine working groups to look into various aspects of the review but Chai told FMT that it was not crucial for Christian representatives to be included in those groups.
“If the ministry wanted to include Christian representatives, it can easily do so via the Teachers of Christian Fellowship,” he said.
“But of greater importance is that the existing groups seek and gather input from the Christian community before making recommendations that concern us.”

~ Free Malaysia Today

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