Category Archives: Secular Education

Malaysia Wants Secular Education for Islamic Schools

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The Malaysian government is pressing Islamic schools to include non-religious studies in their curriculum.
The Islamic schools or “madrassahs” focus solely on the study of the religion of Islam and memorizing the Quran, Islam’s holy book
“If they have memorized the Quran, what is next?” he asked Deputy Prime Minister I Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in a speech at an event on Feb 15 in Putrajaya.
Hamidi wants to mandate that graduates of madrassas pass standardized testing which includes math, science and language arts skills. Since these “madrassahs” are privately-funded independent school, the student graduate without SPM, the equivalent of the America SAT, nor the STAM which is a Malaysian Higher Religious Certificate. Both the SPM and STAM are required for entry into secular universities where upon graduation these students can find employment in the private or public sectors.
Islam is Malaysia’s official religion with over 61 percent of the population adhering to the faith. Nearly 600 madrassahs teach over that 36,000 students in Malaysia. Another 600 schools operate based on parent funding and participation also keeps thousands of students under their care.
The principal of each school determines the curriculum which includes “fiqh,” Islamic etiquette, as well as study of the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad called the “hadiths.”
Islam came to Malaysia with Arab merchants in the 15th century. However, the country maintains an education system based on multiculturalism.

March 11, 2018