Distorted History Curriculum And Spillover Impact on Social Iitegration

By:

Dr Tan Ai Mei

Affiliations:

CSO Education Cluster

Policy Code:

3f Education

Problem Statement:

There is a need to return to the core of History Education. This is understanding that history is there to teach us to respect for diversity and good governance.
The announcement of Malaysia as an Islamic country in 2001 (Patricia A. Martinez, 2001) , and the revamp in the History curriculum thereafter, including the emphasis on Islamic values in learning institutions as well as turning Islamic teaching into a subject in schools, has led to distortion of the mindset of students. This is done by instilling the ideology of the supremacy of the ONE race, one religion at the cost of marginalising the contribution of the minority ethnic in nation building.
By distorting the facts in the History textbook, indoctrinating a warped view of the world and taking out the connecting facts of the global perspective is detrimental to understanding diversity and good governance. Curricular manipulation creates mistrust, impedes social integration and impacting the competitiveness (“daya saing”) of that ethnic group.
This impact is witnessed when principals engage in hate speech and abusive behavior during assembly against students from the minority ethnic groups. It is also well reflected in the acts of rightwing NGOs and Youth Wings of the political parties to seek court injunctions to close the vernacular schools in the country. More concerning is the trend of increased homogeneity of student enrolment in SK and SMK schools. Alongside this, there is a sharp dip in minority ethnic student enrolment in these schools, especially during the Covid-19 lock down.

Value(s) and Belief(s):

There needs to be an appreciation of diversity, including the restoration of facts in the History curriculum, as Germany did after World War II in order for the nation to heal, to grow and be unified.

Proposal of Solution:

The learning goal has to be clearly set for the appreciation for the diversity and
resourcefulness contained in a multi-racial society in the country.
There is a need to come out with a reliable and valid content for school History subjects,
to counter the distortion that has been embedded in History texts since 2004.
It is recommended that the mandatory curriculum to be studied by all students should be
(and is named) ‘Civic and Citizenship’ or ‘Civic Education and Citizenship ’. This includes
studies on the country’s political, legal and Government systems, as well as the role of
government vis a vis the people and the citizen’s role to safeguard a just, safe and humane
society. It includes studies on diversity of practices in culture and religious belief within the
country and across the world. Others include the truth behind political and human acts
which impacts the emergence of global issues etc. Such awareness and civic skill are seen
essential to develop a ‘co-existence and co-prosperity mindset’ within people living in a
multi-racial society.

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