Chinese Vernacular Schools to Stand Firm Against Jawi Learning Urged— MOE Should Introduce Calligraphies of All Races Responsive to Public Will

Statement Released by Dong Zong

January 30, 2021

Chinese Vernacular Schools to Stand Firm Against Jawi Learning Urged—

MOE Should Introduce Calligraphies of All Races Responsive to Public Will

Dong Zong herewith forwarded this statement in response to the government’s recent directive to all Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools demanding them to find out parents’ decision on Jawi script learning implementation through questionnaire. The said implementation is to be put into practice in Grade Four Bahasa Melayu coursebook and the schools are directed to reply on or before 24 February.

1. Dong Zong again urges the MOE to abandon the questionnaire survey and advises all school boards, parent teacher associations, parents and non-governmental organisations to stand firm against the Jawi scripts learning implementation as it is a unary education model. They are also urged to persist in diversified approach in implementation, viz., to introduce calligraphies of all races corresponding to the multi-racial inherence of the country.

2. It is understood that the Jawi scripts learning implementation in Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools has since stirred up disputes and wide opposition. We would also like to explicitly point out, the questionnaire survey done last year by the MOE clearly indicated 1,262 schools or 97.3 percent out of all the 1,297 Chinese vernacular schools and 522 schools or 99.6 percent out of the total 524 Tamil vernacular schools were against the Jawi script learning implementation. Concurrently, the finding of Dong Zong last year likewise informed that 1,275 Chinese vernacular schools nationwide were against the said implementation. The above figures prominently indicated the implementation would not enjoy popular support; yet the MOE is riding roughshod over public will by directing another round of questionnaire survey willfully aiming to put Jawi script learning into practice. This act of the MOE is not only a waste of administration resource but also intensifies the racial divide of this multiracial society which is irksome to the core.

3. Dong Zong and all the member state associations had mooted on the directive forwarded by the MOE. In response to this, Dong Zong would closely attend to the dispatch and feedback of the relevant questionnaire and interfere if need be. It is to ensure the stance of Dong Zong to be carried through; meanwhile, the information on the implementation of Jawi script learning in Chinese vernacular schools nationwide will be collected via all possible channels.

4. In actual fact, Dong Zong had urged for many times in vain the MOE to head a meeting by inviting non-governmental organisations and associations for a solution. We herewith again recommend the MOE to convene relevant cultural and educational organisations to set up a multilingual teaching committee for opinions collection on the one hand, and allow them to assess and supervise national education policies to appropriately resolve the Jawi script learning issue on the other.