KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 15 — National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) president Aminuddin Awang has rejected claims that national public schools are “too Islamic”, even as he admitted that Islamic rituals and recitals are an integral part of the schooling experience.
Aminuddin told Malay daily Utusan Malaysia that prayers for examinations, celebrating Muslim holidays such as Awal Muharram, Maulidur Rasul and Aidilfitri, nasyid competitions, and reciting the Quran are all part of the Ministry of Education’s system to provide holistic education for students.
“For me, the claim that public schools are too Islamic is inaccurate. The ministry strives to stay relevant to the times, especially to strengthen the learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in line with our Industrial Revolution 4.0 goals.
“Most of our programs are planned towards achieving an education philosophy that is balanced in all aspects be it physical, spiritual and intellectual,” he was quoted saying.
He also said that events involving Muslim celebrations are organised by schools to foster the unity and well-being of students.
Utusan sought his remarks in response to a forum on vernacular schools which involved social activist Arun Doraisamy, Phun Teck Seng the vice-president of Malaysian Chinese Language Council, and panelist Sam Saad, a chemical engineer by trade.
In the forum, the panelists suggested that parents, including Malay-Muslim ones, are turning to vernacular schools because they have better syllabus and teachers, in addition to national schools being Islam-centric.