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Malaysia - Learning Mandarin in religious schools

KOTA BARU – Chinese will be taught in Islamic religious schools in Kelantan. The move, however, will not be enforced immediately.

State Islamic development, education and dakwah committee chairman Mohd Amar Abdullah said as a start these schools will form Chinese Language Clubs, to get the students to first learn the rudiments of speaking in Mandarin.
Seven schools under the Kelantan Islamic Foundation have been chosen for the pilot programme. They are Sekolah Maahad Muhammadi (Boys and Girls), Maktab Pengajian Islam, Sekolah Maahad Arabiah Pasir Mas, Sekolah Maahad Tahfiz al-Quran Pulai Chondong, Maahad Tahfiz Sains Tanah Merah and Sekolah Menengah Ugama (Arab) Tarbiah Mardhiah Panchor.
Mohamad Amar said the programme was launched at the Sekolah Maahad Muhammadi Perempuan in July.
“Since then 250 students from the seven schools have joined the club,” he told Rohani Ibrahim (PAS – Tanjung Mas) at the state assembly here Thursday.
”The lessons, for the moment, are conducted during public holidays and at weekends,” he said, adding that more schools will be added in the programme next year due to the encouraging response.
To help students general knowledge
He said the Mandarin classes are aimed at increasing the students’ general knowledge, adding that with increasing response Chinese would eventually be taught as a subject in all religious schools in Kelantan.
Sekolah Maahad Darul Anwar at Pulau Melaka was the first Islamic secondary school in Kelantan to teach Chinese as a sumaahad-school-students.jpgbject, since a few years ago
To a supplementary question by Adhan Kechik (BN – Bukit Bunga), Mohamad Amar said there was no plans at this juncture to send students to China for further studies in Islam as there has yet to be an appropriate school there for the studies.
Nevertheless, he added, the state government had sent four students from the Sultan Ismail Petra International Islamic College here to pursue Chinese studies in China.
He said the students have returned to teach Chinese at the college.
To a question by Zulkifli Mamat (PAS - Pulai Chondong), Mohd Amar said the Kelantan Islamic Foundation is sponsoring 20 students to pursue medicine in Egypt.
He said the sponsorship started last year with 10 students, with 10 more added to the programame this year.
Mohamad Amar said it cost about RM200,000 per student to sponsor the complete course.
Loans and scholarships worth RM8.7mil
He said loans and scholarships under the Foundation’s sponsorship totaled RM8.7mil for the 2009-2010 period, including RM3.8mil that had so far been given out.
Mohamad Amar said the the state government was building a nine-storey apartment block in Cairo, for Kelantanese students studying at the Al-Azhar University. The RM17mil buildimg is scheduled to be completed next year
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