Education: soccer for boys, netball for girls

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It’s no surprise that SMK Dato Bentara Luar’s advice that students should opt for extracurricular activities based on race and gender created a nationwide uproar when it went viral recently.

The notice, signed by a senior school assistant, said football and sepak takraw are only open to Malaysian students, netball is only open to Malaysian women, while basketball and table tennis are only open to Chinese students of both sexes.

Besides sports, the school in Batu Pahat, Johor, also imposed racial requirements for charity, language and religious clubs.

Following an explanation and an apology, the advisory was rescinded and a new one – unrelated to race and gender – was posted.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon had asked the school to change its initial opinion which conflicted with the national education plan.

Describing the initial notice as an “error due to lack of rigor,” his principal Abdul Razak Hamid apologized on the school’s Facebook page on April 17. sports facilities, as well as “to attract Malaysian students who are not interested in sports to join the different clubs”.

Assuring the Malays that appropriate and immediate action had been taken to resolve the issue, Education Minister Datuk, Dr Radzi Jidin, expressed shock and displeasure at the incident which “is not in accordance with standards. objectives of sports programs in schools ”.

Other people who spoke out against the school included National Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican and MCA Chairman Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

Dr Wee, who was the former Deputy Minister of Education, pointed out that when former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was Minister of Education, the government introduced a program to integrate students, which whatever their race, through extracurricular activities.

SMK Dato Bentara Luar’s misstep – and hopefully that’s all it was – even led Johor Tunku’s Crown Prince Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, granting an audience with Abdul Razak and department officials state education on Monday April 19, where it was made clear in no uncertain terms that the incident should never have happened and should never happen again at any school in Johor.

Indeed, discriminatory and racist measures cannot be tolerated, whether the result is intended or not – not only in Johor but all over the world.

Let us take the school’s excuses and explanations – even if they are not satisfactory – in good faith. Corrective action has been taken, our leaders have made their position clear and we need to move on.

If this was a mistake born out of negligence, then school administrators simply need to be more careful. But if the opinion was the result of callousness, prejudice and ignorance, we must carefully consider who we entrust with the implementation of the country’s education policies – if we are to succeed in forming an empowered generation that stands up for equality. of the sexes depends on it. .



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