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Islamic Education In A Chinese-medium School

Last update: 13/12/2011
By Hamdan Ismail

MIRI, Dec 13 (Bernama) -- The open hall of Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina (SJK(C)) Chung Hua Pujut echoed with recitations of Quranic verses recently.

Four Muslim students seated on a simple, small pavilion in the hall were performing the Khatam Al-Quran ceremony, held after the completion of recitation of the entire Al-Quran.

The recitation by Mohamad Naim Kasri, Shaqeem Valinton, Hijazida Hamdan and Jhony Mohamad Ali on that day was another feather in the cap of Ali Sagir, their Islamic Education teacher. The students came to the school six years ago.

Ali, from Pahang, is happy that his four students managed to finish reciting the whole Quran before completing their primary education.

"The number of Muslim students in Standard Six here is indeed small. However, I still strove to ensure they could read the Al-Quran before leaving primary school," he told Bernama.

He added: "Their parents were also insistent that I organise this ceremony for them to mark their achievement. In fact, the ceremony was a joint effort with the parents."

J-QAF PIONEER AT MIRI'S CHINESE SCHOOL

Ali said SJK(C) Chung Hua Pujut is the only Chinese medium school in Miri with the j-QAF programme. J-QAF is aimed at enriching Islamic education through lessons in Jawi, Al-Quran, the Arabic language and Fardhu Ain.

He started off as the only Islamic education teacher at the school, but today, there are two more assisting in the implementation of j-QAF at the school.

Unlike national schools, where Islamic education lessons run for six periods a week, the lessons are compressed into four periods at SJK(C)Chung Hua Pujut.

However, the frequency of the classes does not deter Ali from providing his best to his students. Often, he holds voluntary recitation classes for his students, much to the approval and encouragement of their parents.

"I appreciate the parents' encouragement and involvement in ensuring their children excel in Islamic education, even though there are in a Chinese medium school," he said.

SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION SUPPORT

Ali described the support of the school administration, particularly from headmaster Chuo Kwong Ung and other teachers, as what enables him to carry out his responsibility as an Islamic education teacher at the school.

"They are very open to suggestions. I never find them sidelining the importance of Islamic education to the Muslim students," said Ali, who has served the school for over 10 years.

Another j-QAF teacher at the school, Nor Akmal Mohamad Zain, told Bernama that she has been teaching at the school since February. She described the 10 months as an interesting experience.

The Kelantan-born Nor Akmal is an International Islamic University graduate in Divine Knowledge and was at first rather surprised to receive a posting at a Chinese medium school.

NOT A PROBLEM

"Of the 50 trainees who sat for the j-QAF programme, I was the only one to receive a posting to a Chinese medium school, but I cannot speak a word of any Chinese dialects," she said.

However, her concerns were soon erased as she eased himself into her new environment.

Nor Akmal said trainees under the j-QAF programme are sent to schools first to gain practical knowledge and then return to their respective teaching institutions during the school holidays.

She said his 18-month training was a pre-requisite before she became a trained graduate teacher in Islamic studies.

"If I am meant to continue teaching here (after completion of training), I wouldn't have a problem with it, as it's a great environment," she said.

-- BERNAMA