Monday, February 14, 2011
KUCHING: Schools have to make special arrangement for students who wish to study Bible knowledge, now that the government has allowed them to take the subject after regular school hours.
Other arrangements include qualified teachers who must be focused and able to manage a big group of students.
Sarawak Teachers Union president William Ghani Bina said this when lauding the government’s move to ‘re-introduce’ the subject in secondary schools throughout Malaysia yesterday.
“The move is proper and good. Since more and more social ills keep cropping up, the move is welcomed. If all students are taught their respective religion in schools, I hope this could calm them down and also help to discipline them,” said Ghani, who is a Christian himself.
“Now that the government has decided on the matter, the school authority should make proper arrangement to ensure that the subject is being taught in schools successfully. There must also be sufficient number of qualified teachers. I am sure the number of students will be big (if they are taking the lesson inside halls). So teachers must be focused so that they can manage them well,” he said.
Ghani believed the move is part of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak 1Malaysia’s campaign.
“It is the 1Malaysia move where we accept Islam as the country’s official religion but we also can have other religions being practised by others peacefully. This is wonderful because we will be able to teach our children to realise that, apart from our own religion, there are others who practise theirs,” he said.
Malaysia is a country where various religions exist in harmony. Bible Knowledge used to be a subject being taught for public examination in most schools in Sarawak previously. As years went by, the subject received little or no attention at all, especially in schools in urban areas. After Najib took over the Malaysia premiership, he wanted more sense of religious harmony among Malaysians.
Last Saturday in Penampang, Sabah, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said Bible Knowledge could now be taught to Christian students in government and mission secondary schools throughout the country but only after regular school hours.
Dompok, who chaired the Technical Committee for Sabah and Sarawak Bumiputeras, said the landmark decision was reached at the first meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Sabah and Sarawak Bumiputeras, chaired by Najib on Feb 7.
“We believe this decision will go a long way towards a full realisation of the 1Malysia concept,” he told reporters in Penampang.
He said he hoped that the decision would enable students concerned to sit for Bible Knowledge as elective subject examination at Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) level.
The cabinet committee meeting had also agreed to several other resolutions submitted by the Federation of Christian Mission Schools Malaysia last year, Dompok said then.
When contacted yesterday, Land Development Minister Dao Sri Dr James Masing also welcomed the federal government’s move to enhance the teaching of Bible Study throughout Malaysia.
“It is a positive development and in line with the 1Malyasia concept where we are to respect each other’s faith or belief,” he said.
The move is good for the people who want to study and master the Bible, he added.
“It is also a good move because it means people can do what they want to do,” he explained.
Masing also shared with Ghani the concern that there should be enough number of qualified teachers otherwise the Bible principles would be compromised.
“There must be qualified teachers as we do not want them to teach different things later on. There should also be enough number of teachers to teach Bible knowledge,” said Masing who is Parti Rakyat Sarawak president cum Baleh assemblyman.
Malaysians, he said, should be grateful as the Prime Minister (Najib) is ensuring that all citizens would be moving in the right direction.
By Churchill Edward of The Borneo Post