KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia’s Education Ministry announced on Thursday (Oct 26) a Palestine Solidarity Week, which will be held at all education institutions nationwide under the ministry’s purview from Oct 29 until Nov 3.
In a statement, the ministry said that the programme is aimed at teaching students about humanitarian values such as empathy and concern towards the suffering experienced by others regardless of their background.
Calling it a necessary intervention to be implemented among students, the ministry said that it is in support of the Malaysian government’s stance to continue together defending the rights and freedom of the Palestinian people.
“With the advancement of media and communication technologies, students are exposed to various types of content including those related to international conflicts and humanitarian crises.
“An intervention is necessary to provide clarification to these students after taking into account recent events,” it said in a statement posted on the ministry’s website.
Teaching institutions under the ministry include schools, vocational and matriculation colleges, and teacher education institutes.
It explained that various activities will be held throughout this programme and catered to existing guidelines, schools and students involved.
“Through the organising of this programme, students are given exposure to cross-curricular elements specifically on global sustainability.
“Spiritual activities such as prayers will only involve Muslim students,” it added.
On Thursday, Malaysian news outlet Bernama reported that the programme is not compulsory for schools and education institutions in the state of Sarawak.
In its report, Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen said that it has caused great concerns amongst all sectors in the state.
“It is the stand of Sarawak DAP that the Ministry of Education should not involve school students in the international political conflict of Palestine and Israel as the conflict is a very emotive and complicated issue. Anger and hatred are normally associated with such issue,” said Mr Chong.
“These are not what we want our young children to get involved in during their childhood in schools.” MALAY MAIL