Sunday 5 June 2011

Group to push for history syllabus reform

A committee comprising NGOs representatives and individuals have kicked off an initiative to prepare a comprehensive independent report on the country's history textbooks over the years, in a bid to convince the Education Ministry to teach students Malaysia's “true history”.

history groupThe Truly Malaysian History (Sejarah Malaysia Sebenar, SMS) committee (left), that held its first meeting today, said it also hopes to directly engage the ministry and its special committee on the secondary school history curriculum and textbooks, that detractors say are factually incorrect and lopsided.

“This is a very comprehensive study we are embarking on, and we hope the Education Ministry will look at recommendations from independent groups like us,” said SMS committee chairperson Thasleem Mohamed Ibrahim Al-Haj.

Thasleem said their report will be based on data compiled from the various editions of the secondary school textbooks over the years and also from reports compiled by other independent groups, and hopes to complete it as soon as possible.

history groupThe committee will at the same time continue to push its Campaign for a Truly Malaysian History petition, that has so far garnered some 8,000 signatories.

Members of SMS include Lim Teck Ghee (Centre of Policy Initiatives), Yeoh Seng Guan (Aliran), Ser Choon Ling (KLSCAH), Zaid Kamaruddin (Jemaah Islah Malaysia) and Bala Tharmalingam (Malaysia Hindu Sangam).

Early last month, Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced that a special panel will look into the secondary school history curriculum to make sure it will nurture patriotism and loyalty to the country and strengthen students' identity as Malaysians.

azlanThe panel's four tasks were to determine the direction in the development of history curriculum to meet current needs and future challenges; to study the suitability of the existing curriculum and textbooks in terms of whether they emphasise unity and patriotism; to look into the factual accuracy of the textbooks; and to come up with a report to the Education Ministry.

The 10-member panel - that has a year to complete its study - followed the education minister's announcement last October that the government will make history a compulsory pass subject at the SPM or secondary school-leaving level examination from 2013 onwards.

Muhyiddin's announcement aroused a chorus of criticism over an Islamic-Malay centric bias in the syllabus and plans to include article 153 of the federal constitution, that deals with the special position of the Malays, into history textbooks.

No comments:

Post a Comment