Archive for May 1st, 2011

An Open Letter to Our Education Minister

The recent focus given to history as a compulsory subject in the Malaysian school curriculum has driven me as a parent of school going children to gain an insight of what my children are learning in history as a subject in school. Before I summarise my findings (via reading my children’s history text books from Form 1 – 5), allow me to briefly take you through what is being taught as history in our government school:

Form 1 students are taught predominantly about the Malacca Sultanate with sporadic anecdotes of the other states. Penang is not mentioned at all and if I’m a student studying in Penang, I will seriously be wondering why. That is until I go to Form 2 whereby I will learn about the Straits Settlement, Tin Mining, Rubber Plantation and Exploitation by the British. Form 3 students learn about the Japanese Occupation, the Communist Party of Malaya, leading to Malaysia’s independence in 1957. A very detailed account of all the political parties in Malaysia is also elaborated. The 1955 Election Results seemed to be an important account in history as it is mentioned twice, in Form 3 and again in Form 5.

In Form 4, other than the first two chapters where one learns about the early civilization and the emergence of various religions, the rest of the year you will be doing an in-depth study of Islam – Islam Civilisation, Islamic Government in Medina, Formation of Islamic Government & Its Contribution, Islam in South East Asia, and Islam Influence in Malaysia. One could not be faulted to ask the question if one is learning history or religious study. I believe Azmi Sharom has expounded succinctly and rather ingeniously on this issue in his article in The Star on 30 Dec 2010. Read the rest of this entry »