BAGAN DATUK – Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today called for efforts to foster unity and integration among the various ethnic groups at the pre-school and primary school levels.
The Deputy Prime Minister said the period from pre-school to standard six was the most suitable and effective time to make the children understand the concept.
“The education on integration will be most effective if implemented during the first six years or so of schooling. This effort is not based on any curriculum or syllabus. It must be undertaken by the school management, not just the headmasters,” he said.
Ahmad Zahid, who was the Bagan Datuk MP in the 13th Parliament, was launching the sports day of Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina Yeong Seng in Batu 10, Hutan Melintang.
He advised parents not to leave the responsibility of educating their children to the teachers alone.
He said parents should play their part in helping to develop their children into people who respected and understood the feelings of people from the other communities.
“We find that there is are gaps in the unity, assimilation and cultural aspects. I suggest that we have constant cross-cultural communication so that the different communities better understand one another’s cultures,” he said.
Ahmad Zahid said unity among schoolchildren could only be fostered through social assimilation and cross-cultural communication and not based on the education syllabus.
“These two elements are important, and SJKC Yeong Seng is a fine example in this aspect,” he said.
He noted that SJKC Yeong Seng had children also from the Malay and Indian communities, and said this should be encouraged because racial integration took place at the school when the Malay and Indian parents sent their children there to learn Mandarin.
“Mandarin is one of the widely-spoken languages in the world. Children should be encouraged to learn the language because it has grown into a lingua franca of commerce among the international community,” he said. — BERNAMA