Electronic Resource Centre for Human Rights Education:
Teaching Citizens' Rights and Obligations in Vietnamese Secondary Schools
Nguyen Duc Quang
The study of citizens' rights and obligations is important and given great attention in Vietnamese schools, especially at the secondary level. As future productive members of society, students should know their rights and obligations as citizens, and as members of the community, nation and humankind.
Citizens' rights education is closely linked with citizens' obligations education. Students learn that while they enjoy certain rights, they have to fulfill their obligations to society. Article 51 of the Vietnam Constitution provides: "The rights of citizens are not separated from the obligations of citizens. The state ensures the rights of citizen; the citizens must fulfill their obligations toward the society and the state. The rights and obligations of the citizens are defined by the constitution and law."
If systematically and properly taught, such education will have great impact on society not only immediately, but also in the long run.
Objectives and Content of Citizens' Rights and Obligations Education
In Vietnam, the content of rights and obligations education is as follows.
For lower-secondary school students
For upper secondary school students
Issues are treated more deeply and systematically. Subjects include the following:
Civics education is concerned with the relationship between
It combines traditional methods with modern ones such as lectures, dialogues, training, situation-based debate, value clarification and role-playing.
Extracurricular activities can help in the teaching of citizens' rights and obligations. Examples are:
However, these activities must accomplish the following:
Methods of Education
Methods of educating students on citizens' rights and obligations must meet certain standards:
Citizens' rights and obligations education is of both immediate and long-term importance. The following conditions will help us conduct education more effectively:
II. Suggestions on Content and Methods
2. Violating the right to freedom of belief or religion, or benefiting from it illegally is prohibited.
a) This part stresses three points:
b) Benefiting illegally from religion is prohibited.
The teacher should underline the following points:
3. Freedom of belief or religion must be respected by others.
Pupils must learn to respect both manual and intellectual work in every economic sector. They must study hard and follow school rules. They must understand that while the state has employment-generating projects, citizens must also create or seek employment for themselves.
III. Suggestions for Content and Methods
To make pupils aware of the right to work in a multisectoral market economy, the teacher divides the analysis and explanation in the following manner:
2. Labor is the citizen's obligation.
3. The state must protect the citizen's right to
The teacher can contact employment promotion services and career centers.
a. Legal methods
The state must ensure that the Labor Law is followed by doing the following:
The teacher should emphasize that the state protects the benefits of laborers as well as the profits of the employers.
4. How do citizens use their right and obligation
Human rights education (HRE) and promotion in Indonesia started long before the establishment of the Komnas HAM in 1993. The National Seminar on Human Rights held in December 1995 in Semarang acknowledged that for thousands of years major religions have preached the inherent dignity of human beings as creatures of God. The proceedings of the discussions by the Founding Fathers in 1945 of the ideological basis of human rights have been read since their publication in 1959. Prominent members of the national elite and their staffs attended two regional seminars on human rights in the early 1990s initiated by the Department of Foreign Affairs. Some law departments of state universities have offered human rights courses for some years now. Military officers study humanitarian law, which contains the basic principles of human rights in an armed conflict situation. International allegations of human rights violations in Indonesia have brought attention to the corpus of human rights instruments being violated. Human rights activists have published books, articles and leaflets. And the mass media have exposed the public to the latest trends in world affairs: respect for human rights, protection of the environment and democratization. The Indonesian state philosophy, Pancasila, contains the principles of a just and civilized society.
Komnas HAM adopts two interrelated methods in teaching and promoting human rights in the indirect and the direct methods.
The Indirect Method
The indirect method consists of accommodating and enhancing the impact of programs of other institutions. In this category belong the following:
* Press interviews. Members of Komnas HAM are regularly interviewed by both print and electronic media.
* News of local visits and mediation by Komnas HAM Teams. Members of the Sub-Commission on Monitoring often visit places where human rights violations occur, mostly by invitation from one of the parties to the conflict. They usually offer to mediate, and make the parties aware of the existence of human rights principles.
* Speeches and papers presented at seminars held by other organizations. Many organizations are interested in the latest developments in human rights and invite Komnas HAM members to speak at their meetings, which usually draw media attention. The speeches and papers are compiled and edited for publication.
* This article originally appeared in the report of the Workshop on Human Rights Education and National Institutions held in Jakarta, Indonesia, and organized by the Komnas HAM, Canadian Human Rights Foundation, Quebec Commission for Human Rights and Youth Rights, and the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Montreal-Jakarta, 1997.
* Suggestions to schools to adopt human rights courses in their curricula. Meetings have been held with high-ranking officials of the Department of Education and Culture for possible inclusion of human rights subjects in school curricula. More meetings are needed since some teachers think the curricula is already too heavy.
* Endorsement of the activities of other organizations. Komnas HAM officially endorsed the manual on human rights for common soldiers in the Pancasila Military Command in West Irian and suggested to the Armed Forces Commander that the document be officially adopted for wider usage in the Armed Forces.
* Individual activities. Komnas HAM members are active in other institutions, as members of Parliament, for example, or of the bureaucracy, and may disseminate information, suggestions and ideas on human rights in their routine activities.
The Direct Method
The direct method consists of Komnas HAM programs designed to enhance awareness of human rights, both within the government and among the public. In this category belong the following:
* Announcements to the general public. Komnas HAM official statements explain specific human rights violations to make the public aware of human rights concepts.
* Submission of information, analyses and suggestions to the President. The President has always paid serious attention to information, analyses and suggestions submitted by Komnas HAM. A copy of the President's instructions, usually signed by the Minister's Secretary of States, is usually sent to Komnas HAM.
* National seminars and workshops on human rights. In 1995 and 1996, Komnas HAM initiated two national seminars and workshops on human rights. The 1995 national seminar dealt with the cultural aspects of human rights in Indonesia. The 1996 workshop, held in cooperation with the Raoul Wallenberg Institute, Lund University, Sweden, compared protection of human rights in the advanced and developing countries. Representatives from various sectors of Indonesian society participated.
* Publications, both individual and official. Members of Komnas HAM regularly publish articles on human rights. Official publications consist of leaflets, annual reports, and seminar and workshops proceedings. Leaflets are in Indonesian and in English. Two annual reports, also in Indonesian and in English, have been published. Proceedings of the 1995 seminar have already been edited and are ready for publication. Proceedings of the 1996 workshop are still being edited. Translations of United Nations publications such as the Vienna Declaration of 1993 are being prepared for publication. Unfortunately, many Indonesians are not enthusiastic about reading serious books.
* Library and bookshop. With books donated by the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Sweden and librarian training by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Komnas HAM now has a fine library of foreign human rights books. Komnas HAM staff members clip relevant news articles from Indonesian newspapers and magazines. The Sub-Commission on Education and Information suggests that Komnas HAM set up a small bookshop in its compound to sell human rights publications to the public.
* Internet homepage. The latest effort to reach the public is the establishment of the Komnas HAM homepage on the Internet. But because not all Komnas HAM members are familiar with this medium and because the staff is inexperienced, Komnas HAM has not been able to exploit the full potential of this medium. The support of a full-time professional staff will enhance the effectiveness of this medium, particularly when the government provides telecommunication facilities to the far-flung islands.
* "Roving seminars." Komnas HAM intends to hold seminars in selected cities in Indonesia, in the hope that seminar participants will later help promote human rights.
* TV talk shows. Komnas HAM may cooperate with state and private television stations to hold talk shows on human rights issues.
[*] This article orginally appeared in the report of the "Workshop on Human Rights Education and National Institutions" held in Jakarta, Indoenisa, and organized by the Komnas HAM, Canadian Human Rights Foundation, Quebec Commission for Human rights and Youth Rights, and the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Montreal-Jakarta, 1997.
Saparinah Sadli, Soetandyo Wignosoebroto, S.
One stream of opinion argues that it is unnecessary to introduce a separate course on human rights education (HRE) in schools, because it already exists, to a certain degree, in the primary school curriculum. Subjects such as Pancasila (state ideology) and Civics Education, Social Studies, including History, and Bahasa Indonesia (the national language) are closely related to human rights issues. Junior and senior high schools offer the same subjects as well as Sociology and Anthropology, which are also closely related to human rights issues. Both primary and secondary curricula are very dense and overloaded. Integrating human rights into various subjects will only result in repetition of and overlapping with existing curricula. Further, emphasizing human rights will undermine the current trend of lightening the curriculum. This stream of opinion also poses some questions: Is it reasonable to introduce HRE to primary and secondary students? On what basis do you demand that they learn about human rights?
Another stream of opinion argues that HRE can be implemented in schools by using a model that emphasizes triangular interactions among headteacher-teachers-students in daily teaching-learning activities.
Holders of this opinion also argue that human-rights-related subjects have not changed students' behavior because they are only theoretically and verbally taught. By changing the teacher-centered methodology to one that is student-centered, schools can develop students' knowledge and understanding, skills and attitudes that are respectful of human rights. A student-centered orientation applying an active learning strategy or participatory approach will create conditions that uphold the child's rights in school in particular and human rights in general. According to The Convention on the Rights of the Child, a child is recognized as a person below the age of 18 years. Consequently, primary and high school students are still classified as children. The connection between a child's rights according to the convention (1989; quoted from Sarna) and supportive conditions are presented in the following table.
Table 1: The connection between a child's rights and conditions created by an active learning strategy
The existence of these two conflicting streams of opinion make it worthwhile to pilot HRE in a number of selected primary and secondary schools.
From 1980 to 1993, the Curriculum Development Centre (CDC, Pusat Kurikulum) of the Office of Educational and Cultural Research and Development (Balitbang Dikbud) of the Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC) developed a model of active learning through professional support for primary school teachers. The model development was conducted by the ALPS (Active Learning through Professional Support) Project funded by the British government's ODA (Overseas Development Administration), managed by The British Council. The model was first developed in Cianjur District of West Java province and then replicated in six centers: West Lombok (West Nusa Tenggara), Binjai (North Sumatra), Bandar Lampung (Lampung), Maros (South Sulawesi) and Tanah Laut (South Kalimantan). It concentrated on four subjects: Bahasa Indonesia, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. CDC introduced the active learning strategy to some state and private high schools in Cianjur, Jakarta, Surabaya, North Sumatra and North Sulawesi at their request. Similar ideas and practices of the ALPS model were also developed in the Andhra Pradesh Primary Education Project (APPEP) in India. Ravi and Rao (in Little, Hoppers and Gardner 1994) state that a dual purpose of the pilot phase of APPEP is to provide new improved primary school classrooms and to improve human resources by enhancing the quality of the work of teachers and supervisors in primary schools. The similarity is not surprising; Roy Gardner of the Institute of Education University of London and a number of U.K. tutors who work for the ALPS Project were also involved in APPEP.
The Department for International Development (DFID, formerly the ODA) evaluated the ALPS Project in 1997, uncovering the strengths and weaknesses of the development model. A number of good ideas and practices resulting from the model have been introduced into the Indonesian education system:
It is worthwhile to apply a number of relevant ALPS ideas and practices in HRE in Indonesian primary and secondary schools.
Since the 1980s, the MEC's Directorate of General Secondary Education developed a model similar to ALPS for improving secondary school teachers' competence by revitalizing content, decentralizing the in-service teacher training program to the district level, and systematically involving the provincial MEC staff, including supervisors and headteachers, in the training program. The training program includes PKG (the establishment of teachers' work) and MGMP (the association of subject teachers). Master tutors of PKG also establish teachers workshops for neighboring schools. Networks of PKG, MGMP and teachers workshops exist in many towns and districts throughout the country.
One of the weaknesses of the ALPS Projectand many other innovative projects as wellis its failure to establish a link with the Institute of Teacher Training and Education (IKIP) or Faculty of Teacher Training and Education (FKIP) of regional universities. Teacher education institutes play a significant role in educating students whoas new teacherswill not only apply an active learning strategy but also support teachers through in-service training programs. The ALPS Project had attempted to establish a link with IKIP Bandung and later IKIP Jakarta, unfortunately with inadequate results.
A lesson learned from this failure is that it is worthwhile to introduce HRE into teacher education institutes and primary and secondary schools.
HRE can apply ALPS active learning ideas and practices and use the PKG, MGMP and teachers workshop networks. Before introducing HRE into the primary and secondary school system, it is worthwhile to pilot it and develop a small-scale model. In July 1998, a small HRE project was started in Cianjurwhere the ALPS Project started in 1980to pilot and develop the model at the primary school level. This project is conducted by the MEC's CDC in cooperation with the National Commission on Human Rights (KOMNAS HAM).
In response to a growing demand for HREa logical reaction to human rights violations during the New Order governmentthe CDC intends to extend the piloting and model development to the secondary school level and teacher training institutes. Fortunately, the UNESCO Jakarta Office supports new projects in a number of Kupang (West Timor, East Nusa Tenggara province or NTT) primary and secondary schools, including madrasah and technical schools, as well as the Faculty of Teacher Training and Education (FKIP) of the State University of Nusa Cendana and of Catholic University of Widya Mandira. The majority of secondary schools in NTT are private Christian schools. Representatives from the Faculty of Law and Faculty of Social Sciences are involved in the training of trainers (TOT). After training, it is expected that they will initiate a study center for human rights that will begin HRE in all faculties and assist communities by advocating and protecting human rights.
The reasons for selecting primary and secondary schools in Kupang are as follows.
It seems that findings of the pilot study and development model in Kupang, Timor and NTT will be relevant to East Timor, Irian Jaya, Aceh and other provinces, especially those made up of many islands and islets.
Opportunity and Constraint
The pilot studies and model development in Cianjur and Kupang were conducted in the initial era of total reform. A number of opportunities and constraints can be identified and are presented in the following table.
Table 2: Opportunities and constraints faced by the initial development of HRE
The goals of piloting and developing models of HRE should be carefully deliberated. The general goal of introducing HRE into the primary and secondary school system is the gradual implementation of HRE. At the initial stage, the implementation should be motivated by supportive headteachers and teachers in a limited number of schools. The dissemination depends on the motivation of neighboring schools. Larger-scale dissemination relies on concrete results of HRE implementation. The introduction of HRE applies the school-based development approach. Using schools' local resources should be seriously considered.
The specific aims of the piloting and model development of HRE at the primary and secondary school levels and in teacher education institutions are as follows. Supervisors, headteachers, school teachers and teachers at teacher education institutes are expected to be able to:
Small-scale pilot studies and model development are expected to be finished in two years. Their evaluation will produce feedback for revising the model. A revised model can then be disseminated on a larger scale. While two years are insufficient, the urgency of introducing HRE requires the team to race against time. Regardless of the strengths and weaknesses of the model, HRE should be introduced into the field soon. The model can be revised during dissemination process.
Action Research and Research Question
From another point of view, the pilot studies and model development are an action research. The action research refers to three ideas as follows.
Six research questions must be answered.
The answers to these questions will be invaluable for educational innovation.
The output of the pilot studies and model development is as follows.
The initial training of core human rights educators consists of the following:
The methodology of training focuses on a participatory approach or active learning strategy. The principles of the approach or strategy are as follows.
* Participants are divided into small groups made
up of teachers, headteacher and supervisor.
Thirty-one school educators in Cianjur and 34 in Kupang are involved in TOT and model development. Participants must:
There are 20 participants in the initial training of FKIP educators, consisting of heads of study programs and lecturers (teachers). Participants must:
Time, Activities and People Involved
To be more concrete, Kupang schools and FKIPs of Nusa Cendana University and Widya Mandira University are chosen as examples.
Table 3: Time periods, activities and number of people
The process of pilot study and model development is presented in the following flowchart.
From the short experience in piloting and model development, a number of issues have arisen.
* The implementation of certain human rights at the individual and local levels to a certain extent contradicts the teaching of religious doctrines concerning, for example, the rights to marry, to divorce and to remarry (against Catholic doctrines on marriage); and the rights to abortion (against almost all religions), to choose a religion, to convert to another religion or to be agnostic (against the doctrines of all religions).
* Some teachers and headteachers are not ready to respond to children's demands for their rights. At one primary school a few pupils reminded their headteacher to stop smoking before flag ceremony, in front of all the children at the school. Primary school children start to evaluate strengths and weaknesses of a teacher in teaching. They speak frankly to their teachers. Some teachers are not ready to listen to children's objections.
* A number of parents are not ready to deal with their children's demands for their right to play, for freedom from cruel punishment and for their right to privacy (to save money in a secret place, to hide a diary, to keep their personal letters to themselves).
* The implementation of certain human rights at the individual and local levels to a certain extent contradicts local customs reflecting cultural values and norms, such as, for example, the rights of a woman to choose her husband, to ask for divorce and to remarry according to her will. Other issues are parents' preference to educate boys at the expense of girls and the tradition of many ethnic groups that deny girls their right to inherit.
* In primary school a difficult question that has not been answered is whether it is better to teach HRE to children in grades one and two or to start from grade three. Is it reasonable to start HRE in nursery school?
* There are three HRE alternatives: (1) HRE becomes a part of Pancasila (state ideology) and Civics Education only. (2) HRE is not part of a specific subject but is integrated into various subjects when relevant. (3) Combination of alternatives 1 and 2, where a subject is primarily devoted to HRE. The curriculum of HRE is incorporated into the curriculum of the subject (Pancasila and Civics Education, for example). In addition, relevant subjects must relate human rights issues to relevant topics. In Indonesia, the alternative has not been chosen yet.
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* Paper presented at the Asia
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Parents and Educators Empowerment Program on Human Rights
The Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS), together with the Commission on Human Rights, implemented the Parents and Educators Empowerment Program (PEEP) on Human Rights in seven regions in Visayas and Mindanao. The program will be completed in 1999 after its implementation in the Luzon area and some parts of Mindanao. It was designed to tap the regional federations of Parents and Teachers Associations (PTAs) and heads of student councils and pupils' organizations. Regional human rights trainers will spearhead human rights education (HRE) among parents, teachers and students, focusing on the rights of children and basic human rights. The program is a prelude to the launching of Human Rights Teaching Exemplars for Elementary and Secondary Levels in all schools nationwide in school year 1999-2000.
The program is basically anchored on the precept that HRE should be a joint undertaking by teachers and parents. HRE is not the sole responsibility of teachers; parents should also instill human rights values in their children. HRE must start at home, where parents are not only expected to teach their children about human rights, but also to serve as role models. Teachers simply affirm what is taught at home.
PEEP aims to build up a regional core group of human rights trainers drawn from PTAs, teachers and heads of student councils. It will spearhead HRE (especially children's rights) and advocacy campaigns among parents, students and other teachers. It also aims to facilitate the introduction of Human Rights Teaching Exemplars for Elementary and Secondary Levels. It hopes to strengthen the impact of these teaching exemplars and build a positive response to HRE in general.
The program aims to achieve the following:
Topics and activities include the following:
The following issues surfaced during the forum:
Human Rights Education in Schools: The Malaysian Experience
Nik Azis Nik Pa
One of the outstanding characteristics of Malaysia's population today is its highly diversified ethnic mix, making it one of the prime examples of a multiracial society. The multiracial character of Malaysia's population has come into being over the course of the last 150 years through migration of the various races. In general, Malaysia's ethnic groups fall into two main categories: those with cultural affinities indigenous to the region and to one another, who are classified as bumiputera, and those whose cultural affinities lie outside, who are classified as non-bumiputera.
In terms of ethnic composition of the population in the year 2000, Bumiputra are expected to comprise 63.2 percent, Chinese 26 percent, and Indian 7.5 percent of Malaysias citizens. About 7.5 percent of the total population will be non-citizens (see Table 1). The non-citizens are mostly from Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Thailand. The non-citizen component of the population, however, is expected to grow at a slower rate in view of the government's intention to reduce the countrys dependence on foreign labor. For the period 1991-1995, the population of Malaysia increased at 2.7 percent per annum to reach 20.96 million in 1995. This relatively high rate of population growth was due to the substantial increase in the non-citizen population during the period.
The largest bumiputra group in Malaysia, the Malays, are Muslim; the Chinese generally follow Buddhism and Confucianism; and the Indians mostly follow Hinduism. In Malaysia, language varies widely from Malay, English, Chinese, Tamil, to Kadazan, Murut and aboriginal. Of course, besides these there are many other languages and dialects. Since language is one of the foundations of culture, it is thus easy to understand why there is such a wide range of cultures that pervade the Malaysian scene. However, there is now one national and official language, namely, Malay, although English is taught and used widely.
Table 1. Estimated population size (million persons)*
* Source: Seventh Malaysia Plan
Human rights means more than the fundamental rights of man (such as freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of association and assembly) and political rights. It encompasses not only those basic rights of the individual but also includes those rights which are necessary for the development of groups of individuals and the world community at large. Human rights include basic economic, social, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and cultural rights. In a broader sense, human rights focus on promoting a world where men can achieve their full human potential by learning to live together in peace and harmony. Thus, human rights education (HRE) in schools involves developing an understanding of others and their history, traditions and values. Any in-depth examination of the concept of HRE in schools in the Malaysian context brings to light a number of key questions.
Before any of these questions can be considered, the first step is to examine more closely what is meant by the term values. In the literature, there is still much disagreement about the term "values." Values have been variously defined as things which are considered "good" in themselves such as beauty, truth, love, honesty and loyalty; as personal or social preferences; as what we hold dear; as beliefs, attitudes or feelings that an individual is proud of, is willing to publicly affirm, has been chosen thoughtfully from alternatives without persuasion, and is acted on repeatedly; as the desirability of things; as both emotional commitments and ideas about worth; as those things such as objects, activities and experiences which on balance promote human well-being; as what we either like or dislike; as qualities of things; and as the material or monetary worth of something. In this book, however, the term values is used to refer to principles, fundamental convictions, ideals, standards or life stances which act as general guides to behavior or as points of reference in decision-making or the evaluation of beliefs or action and which are closely connected to personal integrity and identity.
Almost all human beings judge their own as well as other people's actions from a moral point of view. The actions about which we make moral judgements are the actions of humans who live in various social groups such as the family, to which they are bound by love, affection, and loyalty. Human behavior is motivated by both short-term and long-term needs and desires, and by a great variety of projects, plans and goals. It is true that to talk of the value of something has always been to talk of its worth, and when we value something we are making a high estimate of its worth. Anything that we hold dear or important in life can be called a "value." To value something means to place importance upon it. Values may be divided into two categories: aesthetic and ethical. Aesthetic values are related to objects of beauty, whereas ethical values are concerned with objects which can be valued as good or bad, especially good or bad with respect to behavior. In this context, morality and values are inseparable. Morality implies a set of principles or ideals that help the individual to distinguish right from wrong and to act on this distinction.
We experience the world and what constitutes it. It seems to be an ineliminable part of our experience of values that there is more than one type of value. Moral values are fundamentally different from aesthetic values; intellectual values are quite different from hedonic values; and religious values are not the same as political values. Thus, from the philosophical and epistemological perspectives, values can be differentiated into cultural, educational, practical, economic, legal, intellectual, secular, historical, modern life and spiritual values. Also, as is well known, many people today talk loosely about "my values" or "so-and-so's values," in a way that suggests either that they think all values are relative to the individual or group, or that they are using the phrase as a shorthand for "my preferences among values," or someone's choices among given values, and the like. However, the term values in this book is used to refer to the criteria by which we make such value judgements, to the principles on which the value judgements are based. In short, values are our standards and principles for judging worth. They are the criteria by which we judge "things" (people, objects, ideas, actions and situations) to be good, worthwhile, desirable; or, on the other hand, bad, worthless, despicable. This raises the question of whether the values by which we judge worth are subjectives or objectives, relative or absolute. Also, initial distinction must be made between merely personal value judgements or subjective preferences and true judgements of value, which purport to have a more rational character.
In Malaysia, the Constitution, the National Ideology (Rukunegara), the National Philosophy of Education, the Education Act 1996, Vision 2020, and the 1979 Report of the Cabinet Committee to Review the Implementation of Education Policy provide basic guiding principles for a faith-based values education. For instance, the first principle of Rukunegara, which is Belief in God, renders an avenue for every citizen to have an awareness of God and an awareness that God has created human beings of different races, made them into different groupings so that they may know each other and live in harmony. This awareness will stimulate human beings to respect each other's customs, values and belief systems. Belief in God, in order to be effective, requires complete trust and hope in God, submission to His will and reliance on His aid. The purpose of life is to worship God. This does not simply mean that we have to spend our entire lives in constant seclusion and absolute meditation. To worship God is to know Him; to love Him; to obey His commandments; to enforce His law in every aspect of life; to serve His cause by doing right and shunning the evil; and to be just to Him, to ourselves, and to our fellow human beings. Concerning the faith-based moral and values education, the 1979 Report states that:
In Malaysia, Islam is the official religion, but freedom of worship is permitted. In Islam, values are viewed as a set of absolute criteria for making judgements and these criteria apply everywhere and at all times. On this view, certain human actions are right or wrong. Muslims look to Islam to provide a basis for morality. They hold that moral laws are universally binding for all and eternally true, whether or not any moral law is in fact universally respected or obeyed. What is valuable is independent of what any individual thinks or likes, and it is independent of what any particular society happens to sanction.
Muslims believe in moral laws established by God and interpreted in a religious tradition. These moral laws apply to everybody everywhere and are not dependent for their valuableness on what produces human satisfaction or on the mores set up by particular societies. The justification of moral laws rests directly on the authority of God. Islam rejects a subjectivist view that no set of values can be shown to be better than the other. According to adherents of subjectivism, to claim that something is good or right is simply to say "I like it" or "I approve it." The only justification for value judgements, then is how a person feels or to what he or she is committed. Islam also rejects a cultural relativist view that value judgements are justified by appealing to the "social authority" of a particular culture. According to adherents of cultural relativism, what is good and right is what a particular culture says it is.
The concept of values and morality in Islam centers around certain basic beliefs and principles. Among these are the following: God is the Creator and Source of all goodness, truth and beauty; man is living on earth as His agent; moderation, practicality and balance are the guarantees of high integrity and sound morality; and man's ultimate responsibility is to God and his highest goal is the pleasure of his Creator. The dimensions of morality in Islam are numerous, far-reaching and comprehensive. Islamic values and morals deal with the relationship between man and God, man and his fellow men, man and his environment, and man and his innermost self. In a general sense, the Muslim's role is to champion what is right and fight what is wrong, seek what is true and abandon what is false, cherish what is beautiful and wholesome and avoid what is indecent. More specifically, the Muslim's relationship with God is one of submission and obedience, complete trust and thoughtfulness, peace and appreciation, love and hope, steadfastness and active service. This high morality will, undoubtedly, nourish and reinforce morality at the human level.
Hierarchy of Values
The range of values and morality in Islam is so inclusive and integrative that it combines at once faith in God, religious rites, spiritual observances, social conduct, decision making, intellectual pursuits, habits of consumption, manners of speech and all other aspects of human life. From the epistemological perspective, values in Islam can be arranged in a specific hierarchy of importance (as shown in Figure 1). There is only one basic value, namely belief or faith in God; four core valuesgood manners or habits, bravery or courage, justice and wisdom; many major values such as brotherliness, caring, charity, compassion, diligence, freedom, gratitude, honesty, hospitality, humility, integrity, lovingness, sincerity, God-consciousness, modesty, peace, perseverance, responsibility, respect, thankfulness, trustworthiness, truthfulness and steadfastness; and numerous expanded values such as creativity, critical thinking, democracy, human rights, love of knowledge, sense of community, sense of family, sustainable development, future-orientedness, personal accountability, responsible and harmonious relations with others, cooperation for good, efficient time management, freedom of speech, economic efficiency, decency in appearance, self-discipline and self-control, self-reliance and self-supporting, social responsibility, kindness in all spheres of life, consistency of action, respect for the honor and privacy of others, enjoyment in moderation and effective management of resources.
The four general levels of values are the foundation for the Values Hierarchy Model. Figure 1 illustrates the hierarchy of values, with those at the base of the hierarchy assumed to be more basic or important relative to the values above them in the hierarchy. For example, there is only one value at the first level (basic value), namely:
(Image: Figure 1)
Figure 1: The hierarchy of values according to the Islamic perspective belief in God or faith.
Faith means the total acceptance and implementation of the commandments of God. Faith is the basis of all actions in Islam. Faith in practice is called Islam. A believer who practices what he believes in is a Muslim. It is the total submission to the will of God which brings the vital inner peace to Muslims, and thus collectively to society and which in turn guarantees real peace and lasting success. Faith in Islam is a state of peace, happiness and harmony acquired by virtue of positive action and constructive conceptions as well as dynamic and effective measures. According to Islam, true faith has a decisive effect on the spiritual and material life of man, and also on his personal, intellectual and social behavior as well as his political conduct and financial life. Here is an example of how the Qur'an describes the true believers.
At the second level (core values), the first valuegood manners or habitsis developed by fulfilling the physiological needs such as hunger, thirst, rest, sleep, exercise and sex according to the teachings of Islam. Concerning this value, Islam deals with the very personal life of man in such a way as to insure his purity and cleanliness; as to give him a healthy diet and show him the proper manners of clothing, behavior, sports and so on. The second valuebravery or courageis developed by fulfilling the safety and security needs according to teachings of Islam. And the third and fourth valuesjustice and wisdomare developed by fulfilling the emotional, social, intellectual, purification and spiritual needs according to the teachings of Islam. In short, core values are related to fulfilling basic needs and this must be done in the framework of the Islamic way of growth and development (tazkiyah). The Islamic concept of development has a comprehensive character and includes moral, spiritual and material aspects. Growth or development becomes a goal- and value-oriented activity, devoted to optimization of human well-being in all dimensions. The moral and the material, the economic and the social, the spiritual and the physical are inseparable. The goal of Islamof its concepts, worships and teachings relating to values, attitudes, morals, and behavioris to create an Islamic personality within the individual Muslim. The moral principles of Islam are designed to build in human beings a sound mind, a peaceful soul, a strong personality and a healthy body.
In Malaysia, there are a significant number of people belonging to more than one minority religious group in addition to those who belong to the majority religious group. Acknowledging the fact that Malaysia is a multi-religious country, it is most befitting to discuss a common "values and moral education" framework for all. In Malaysia, the concept of integration is developed as a basis for educational reformation. This concept of integration presupposes the idea of eliminating secular elements and supplanting them with religious elements which are based on the belief in a transcendental reality and belief in absolute values which are characteristically universal. The idea of integration in this context also takes cognizance of the inherent danger in allowing the secular-scientific approach to gain the upper hand against the holistic-religious approach in values and moral education.
One of the ways to look at the issue of integrated values and moral education in a multi-religious society is through religious parallelism. Basing judgment on the premise that all religions advocate good and human values, there must be some parallels regarding what is perceived as good by one religion, as it is also by other religions. In the context of Malaysia, since Islam is the official religion, the non-Islamic values could also be viewed in the light of their relationships with Islamic values. For example, the belief in Supreme Being has become one common denominator for the adherents of Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism and Sikhism, although manifestations of God in all these religions are different. Emanating from this, we are able to derive other forms of religious principles or tenets that are common such as the principle involving the primary and eternal, unchanging, fundamental values like truth, caring, honesty, tolerance and patience. Religion relates morality to the purification of the soul and thus establishes an internal and essential relationship between the moral struggle to keep oneself pure, moral behavior, internal purity, purity of motives of action and the joy of achieving nearness to God. The main idea couched in this religious parallelism is that an avenue is opened to every religious adherent to seek the profundity of positive values in their religion, thus enabling them to better understand other people's religious values while cherishing their own. Religion tells us that human beings have responsibilities. They have a responsibility to God, to each other, to society, and to the environment. They must learn about the interdependence of human beings and nature and the necessity of maintaining a healthy ecological environment for their future survival.
In the Malaysian context, steps are taken to foster the faith-based values and moral education at all levels of education. Since a faith-based moral education cannot work in isolation, steps are also taken to make sure that the whole school curriculum is faith-based. One of the prime aims of this curriculum is to help students become aware of hierarchy of knowledge and values. For instance, knowledge developed through sense experience should be subservient to rational knowledge, and rational knowledge to religious norms and values which come from God. In short, the faith-based values and moral education in the Malaysian context refers to values and moral education that are based on belief in God, the divine origin of human beings, an absolute norm of values that are proposed by Islam and shared by other religions of the country, and in the integral relationship between God, human beings and nature.
Human Rights Education
In Western societies, the concept of human rights is a secular concept which rejects religious beliefs and instead looks to secular values and idealsto rediscover universal human values to promote a vision of a free society where everyone does what best suits his or her wishes and temperament to achieve ultimate happiness (Laszlo 1978). The Western notion of human rights provides only one particular interpretation of human rights and although it has been successful in advancing the Western societies, it may not be the case in non-Western societies such as the Malaysian societies. As rightly argued by Gong (1984), the imposition of a Western standard of civilization on the non-Western world precipitated a confrontation of cultural systems as fundamentally irreconcilable standards of civilization clash with each other.
In Malaysia, a faith-based discussion of values-related human rights gives serious attention to the development of a human soul, and in a broader view, salvation in the next world parallel to the teachings of most religious traditions of the world. At the philosophical level at least, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Confucianism and Sikhism share certain common perspectives on the relationship of the human being and his environment, the integrity of the community, the importance of the family, the significant of moral leadership, and indeed, on the meaning and purpose of life. In Malaysia, human rights teaching was not introduced as a separate subject in primary or secondary schools. The procedure adopted was the "integration method," where human rights teaching was integrated into the existing Moral Education, Religious Education, Social Studies and Language Studies curricula. Figure 2 illustrates the core and related values necessary for HRE in schools.
Human Rights Education in Schools
The conceptual framework in Figure 2 is based on a God-centered rather than human-centered approach. We believe that values related to HRE in schools are grounded in a reality outside humanity and that God, the Creator of us all, is the source of them, and also the source of our knowledge. We believe that people who live by these moral values will grow to fulfill their potentials to the fullest, while those who do not, will not rise above the animal plane. Among others, the conceptual framework in Figure 2 acknowledges and endorses four basic ideas.
(Image: Figure 2)
Figure 2: Values related to HRE in schools
In Malaysia, we believe that religious education and faith-based education have a major contribution to make in the process of educating students concerning human rights. For instance, religious education and faith-based education provide evidence and examples of ways in which beliefs and values have directly affected people's lives through making choices and selecting of priorities. They also provide a critical frame of references which transcends personal, group and ethnic interests; take account of faith as an important motivating factor in people's lives; offer a wealth of value-laden content rather than process alone; and offer an alternative approach to life than either materialism or secularism.
HRE has a fundamental role to play in personal and social development. It is one of the principal means available to foster a deeper and more harmonious form of human development. In Malaysia, HRE has focused on four components: the cognitive, behavioral, affective and spiritual. In the Malaysian integrated educational curriculum, the scope of HRE is very broad and there are many ways students can experience and build up advanced schemes of values related to human rights. Under the mechanism of integration, three major approaches are used to develop values related to human rights across the curriculum.
In conclusion, one of the critical outcomes of HRE in Malaysia is to present values related to human rights as a unified discipline, a woven fabric rather than a patchwork of discrete ideas. To be useful, values related to human rights must be taught in contexts that are meaningful and relevant to students. As students continue to think about the importance of values related to human rights in life, HRE will grow and become dominant. In the Malaysian context, the discussion of core and related values needed for HRE is to be based on belief in God, the divine origin of human beings, the absolute characteristic of values and the integral relationship between God, human beings and nature.
We strongly believe that man needs to develop the five major dimensions of his nature: physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual. Investment in himself is the single most powerful investment man can ever make in his life. It means developing, preserving and enhancing all five dimensions of our nature, regularly and consistently in wise and balanced ways. We strongly believe that this is one of the principal means available to each one of us to foster a deeper and more meaningful form of learning about human rights.
In multiracial and multi-cultural Malaysia, education is used as an instrument to realize national aspirations of socio-cultural integration, unity, identity and development through a common language and curriculum whilst accommodating individual needs and societal demands. The process of nation-building fosters a philosophical commitment toward national unity, the creation of a national culture, ethical-scientific development and industrial-technological development. In other words, Malaysia must be a nation that is fully developed along all the dimensions: economic, social, spiritual, psychological, moral, intellectual and cultural.
The overriding concern in this country today is the development of a truly integrated and united Malaysian nation in consonance with the tenets of Rukunegara (the Malaysian National Ideology), the objectives of the New Economic Policy, the aims of the National Development Policy, and the goals of the Malaysia's Vision 2020. In fact, one of the strategic challenges that has confronted Malaysia from the moment of its birth as an independent nation is the challenge of establishing a united Malaysian nation with a sense of common and shared destiny. Vision 2020 states that Malaysia must be a nation at peace with itself, territorially and ethnically integrated, living in harmony with full and fair partnership, made up on one "Bangsa Malaysia" with political loyalty and dedication to the nation.
The challenge Malaysia has always faced is that of establishing a fully moral and ethical society, whose citizens are strong in religious and spiritual values and imbued with the highest of ethical standards. Also, Malaysia is confronted with the challenge of establishing a tolerant society in which Malaysians of all colors and creeds are free to practice their customs, cultures and religious beliefs and yet feel that they belong to one nation. In this context, education, especially faith-based education, is regarded as an important vehicle for the realization of these national goals and aspirations.
The Education Act 1996 strengthened the concept of a national system of education by including all levels and types of education in the National Educational System. There are three categories of educational institutions in the National Educational System: government, government-aided and private educational institutions. The core subjects in the National Curriculum formed the fundamental basis of the education of pupils in all schools within the National Education System. In this context, all schools in the National Education System, except the private schools, used the National Curriculum. Private schools are required to teach core subjects as set out by the National Curriculum.
In Malaysia, education is acknowledged as having a significant influence on values and lifestyles, and is regarded as a vital channel in the development of the individual, society and the nation. The idea of values education is not new in this country. Values education, especially values education that is in line with the teachings of religion was in existence long before formal education began in this country and continues to have an important place to this day in spite of inroads made by materialism. Since the 1980s, the Ministry of Education has carried out an extensive educational reform, especially at the primary and secondary levels. Humanizing education has received top priority and a clear statement of the National Philosophy of Education based on belief in God has been formulated. Among other things, the National Philosophy of Education articulates the need for all students to receive an integrated education.
The main focus of integrated education in Malaysia is on relationships: the vertical relationship with God, the horizontal relationships with other people and nature, and the inner relationship with oneself (see Figure 3).
(Image: Figure 3)
Figure 3: Four major responsibilities or relationships
In the integrated school curriculum, each student critically and constructively examines these relationships so that he or she gains both an awareness of them, and the belief, knowledge, skills and desire necessary to develop them. One of the important outcomes of HRE in Malaysia is to present values as a unified body of knowledge and a woven fabric rather than a patchwork of discrete rules and procedures. To be useful, HRE should be taught in contexts that are meaningful and relevant to students.
With the coming of the technological revolution and the emergence of a global culture, it is important to provide a conceptual framework which explores the potential for Malaysia as a developing country to contribute to the achievement of a better world. Figure 4 illustrates the conceptual framework for exploring ways of building a better world.
(Image: Figure 4)
Figure 4: A conceptual framework for discussing contribution to the achievement of a better world
We believe that the process of development should not be equated merely with the development of physical infrastructure, technological know-how and logistics; the development of the complete human being must matter. It is here that the moral and ethical principles of education which are deeply rooted in religion must be invoked. We believe that no matter how sophisticated machines used by man may be, societies will not benefit from technologies unless the men behind the machines are morally sound. The conceptual framework in Figure 4 is based on the God-centered vision (theo-centric culture) rather than the human-centered vision (human-centric culture), where "God" rather than "man" is "the measure of all things." Among others, the conceptual framework in Figure 4 acknowledges and endorses six basic ideas or guiding principles.
In Malaysia, education for human rights must be understood in the context of local cultures. Malaysia is a multi-religious, multi-cultural and multiracial country. It has amongst its inhabitants adherents of almost all the major religions of the world. Based on the 1991 census, Islam claims 55 percent of Malaysia's total population, Buddhism 17 percent, Chinese Ancestor Worship 12 percent, Hinduism 7.5 percent, Christianity 7 percent, Tribal Religion 1.0 percent and Sikhism 0.5 percent. Islam is the official religion of Malaysia. The Constitution, however, guarantees religious freedom and upholds the autonomy of the state governments in matters relating to Islam and Malay customs. The aim of education in Malaysia is to produce a "good man" who is also a good Malaysian citizen. The National Education Philosophy states:
According to the National Education Philosophy, a good man should have a firm belief in and obedience to God; be knowledgeable; possess living skills; possess high moral standards; be responsible to himself, society and the nation; contribute to the well-being of society and nations; and have a balanced personality. The major thrust of education and training in Malaysia is to promote human resource development. For this purpose, education and training programs are expected not only to equip individuals with the appropriate knowledge and skills but also to produce responsible citizens with strong moral and ethical values.
A close examination of the National Education Philosophy shows that it makes the development of high moral character an explicit preoccupation of the education enterprise. Placing explicit emphasis on the development of moral excellence is very important, especially when one considers the overemphasis on intellectual training and relative neglect of moral development. The significance of the National Philosophy of Education can be better appreciated if it is seen in the context of the multi-religious and plural nature of the country. To have reached a consensus among the various communities to develop a harmonious nation anchored on a belief in God and to state this aim explicitly in a national educational philosophy is an achievement in itself. Consistent with this, some of the goals of education for human rights in the Malaysian context are as follows:
As clearly stated by Prime Minister Mahathir (1995), Malaysia does not wish to accept the notion of human rights as interpreted by the West. This does not mean that Malaysians reject human rights altogether. It simply means that Malaysians do not agree to the Western interpretation of human rights. For the purpose of this paper, human rights in the Malaysian context refers to rights accepted in the Federal Constitution, the National Ideology, the National Philosophy of Education, the Education Act 1996, Vision 2020 and similar documents. Vision 2020, which was inspired by Mahathir (1991), for instance, envisages the creation of a harmonious, united society, bound by strong religious, moral and ethical values, kindness and compassion, a high standard of living and a good quality of life. In other words, values related to human rights are specified or implied in Vision 2020 and in a series of other documents.
We believe that new assessment strategies and practices need to be developed that will enable teachers and others to assess students' performance in a manner that reflects the integrated vision for HRE. For school assessment practices to inform educators as they progress toward this vision, it is essential that we move away from the "rank order of achievement" approach in assessment toward an approach that is philosophically consistent with the integrated vision of HRE and classroom instruction. HRE in Malaysia has focused on four basic components of morality: the affective or emotional, the cognitive, the behavioral, and the spiritual components. It is easy to evaluate the cognitive domain, but not the other three.
We believe that the moral and values development of each student in a diverse multi-cultural society must be valued. Assessment procedures must no longer focus on the cognitive domain alone. Instead, all aspects of moral and values education and its connections must be assessed. To do otherwise represents an injustice in education. Thus, we propose that student assessment be aligned with, and integral to, instruction; multiple sources of assessment information be used; assessment methods be appropriate for their purposes; and all aspects of values education for human rights and its connections be assessed.
In short, there are many audiences for, or consumers of, assessment data as well as different purposes for assessments. However, we believe there are some assessment standards that can be used for judging assessment practices. Six of them are as follows.
In order to develop values for human rights in all students, assessment needs to support the continued learning of moral and ethical values of each student. This is the central goal of assessment in HRE in schools. We believe that assessment embodying the above standards will be a dynamic process that informs teachers, students and others. All assessments in HRE involve four phases: planning the assessment, gathering evidence, interpreting the evidence and using the results, although the aspects of each process that are most crucial may vary with the purposes.
In Malaysia, school-based assessment and centralized examinations are used in Moral Education. In centralized examinations, evaluation is based on the cognitive knowledge of moral and values education. The questions are set in the objective and subjective forms. On the other hand, school-based assessment is done through observation, written work and oral tests. At the upper secondary school level, a special instrument called the Evaluation of Habits and Behaviors is used by Moral Education teachers to assess students' habits and moral practices. This instrument focuses on eight elements: attendance at school and in co-curricular activities; homework; interaction with teachers and peers; involvement in group activities and classroom activities; obedience to school regulations, teacher's authority and leaders; efforts in learning and doing schoolwork; group leadership; and body image and personal character. We believe that decisions regarding students' development should be made on the basis of a convergence of information from a variety of balanced and equitable sources.
Issues and Developments
There are many issues in the implementation of HRE in Malaysia, including the definition of "human rights" itself. Figure 5 illustrates some of the major issues in HRE in Malaysia. Education for human rights is based on the assumption that in a culturally plural society, all children equally need to be prepared for life as responsible citizens and that values related to human rights are an "indispensable bulwark against social coercion, discrimination, and manipulation." The following are some of the major concerns and developments of HRE in Malaysia (see Nik Azis 1994).
(Image: Figure 5)
Figure 5: Some major issues in HRE in Malaysia
The Malaysian nation was born in 1957, but almost 41 years later, national unity is still an unfulfilled major aspiration. The Malaysian Constitution and Rukunegara (National Ideology) laid the foundations to achieve National Unity. For instance, Rukunegara declares that:
In the 1970s, the message of the National Ideology was taught to students by incorporating the five principles of Rukunegara in school subjects such as Civics, Islamic Religious Knowledge and Geography. In 1983, Moral Education was introduced as a single subject in primary schools, while in 1989, the teaching of Moral Education was introduced in secondary schools. The teaching of values of National Unity is not only limited to the Moral Education subject. Values of National Unity are also inculcated through the integration with other subjects in the primary and secondary school curriculum. Extracurricular activities also play an important role in the development of national unity. The National Educational Policy has, to some extent, strengthened common values and attitudes and helped to evolve some elements of an overall Malaysian Culture and National Unity. During the early years, National Unity was pursued less formally than it was today. The Royalty, National Language and the Democratic System of Government have all been strong unifying factors. But the racial riots of 13 May 1969 ruptured any hopes that we had achieved National Unity at that time. Thus, the New Economic Policy in 1970 aimed to set new directions to help achieve National Unity. The policy stressed the need to remove the identification of race with occupation and to alleviate poverty regardless of race. Then in 1991, the National Development Policy and the Prime Minister's Vision 2020 were designed to improve upon the New Economic Policy, to achieve the same objective of building National Unity more purposely, through the process of developing Malaysia into an industrialized nation by the year 2020. The predominate priority and underlying thrust of Vision 2020 is to create a Malaysian Race and the objective of the National Development Policy is to attain balanced development in order to create a more united and just society.
Malaysia attaches great importance to economic planning. The initial Economic Planning (1956-1960) was basically a Development Expenditure Plan. It was primarily concerned with building the infrastructure which was quite inadequate at the time of independence. But as Malaysians gained more experience, economic planning became more sophisticated. As part of the overall Perspective Plans which cover 20-year periods, five-year plans have been developed. In 1991, Malaysia launched the Second Outline Perspective Plan (1991-2000), which embodies the National Development Policy. The Sixth Malaysia Plan (1991-1995) is the first phase in the implementation of the Second Outline Perspective Plan. The main thrust of the Sixth Plan is to sustain the growth momentum and manage it successfully so as to achieve the objective of balanced development. The Seventh Malaysia Plan (1996-2000) is a comprehensive and integrated macro plan with detailed sectoral analysis and socioeconomic programs. Its thrust is productivity-driven economic growth. Science and Technology, and Research and Development receive much higher priority. Malaysia would now depend less on the traditional factors of production such as land, labor and capital, and more on technology, higher productivity and the more efficient use of its resources.
The development of science and technology is essential for Malaysia's overall socioeconomic advancement. The widespread application of science and technology will provide more effective and sustainable means to achieve a competitive, diversified and global-based economy in order to attain higher standards of living. Thus, information technology forms the basis for the implementation of the Seventh Malaysia Plan. The Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) has already been defined as encompassing the area linking up the new Kuala Lumpur International Airport, the new Federal Government Capital City (Putrajaya) and the new Kuala Lumpur Telecommunication Tower. The MSC will provide the thrust for Malaysia's graduation to a new technological era, with high value-added technology. How do we achieve the goals of this science and technology policy? We need more scientific and technological knowledge and manpower. This is being done through the reform of the whole education system. Today, smart learning and teaching are the new thrust of educational reform. But smart school is not about the using technology to enhance learning and the integration of technology into school curricula alone. It involves learning to live together in peace and harmony and the creating a united society bound by strong religious and moral values, kindness and compassion, and a good quality of life.
Urbanization and Youth
In the early years, the Malays, who composed the majority of the population, lived mainly in the rural areas. The Chinese were in the tin mines and the towns, while most Indians worked on the rubber estates. The Ibans and Dayaks were mainly agricultural workers. Today, things are much different. The urban population is projected to grow at the rate of 3.8 percent per annum for the period 1996-2000. It is expected that 13.7 million or about 58.8 percent of the total population will reside in urban areas by the year 2000. In general, the urban population earned higher incomes, due to the expansion of urban economic activities. The average monthly urban household income in 1995 was about RM2,596, while the average monthly rural household income in 1995 was about RM1,300. The income disparity ratio between rural and urban households widened from 1:1.7 in 1990 to 1:2.0 in 1995. This was mainly due to the continued dependence of rural households on agricultural activities as the major source of income. Rural development strategies during the Seventh Plan period will emphasize seven main principles: human resource development, strengthening family values, development of a self-reliant society, provision of quality infrastructure, development of a sustainable rural economy, provision of an effective delivery system, and the establishment of a more responsive institution for rural development.
Urban centers offer not only more economic opportunities, but also a better quality of life. They are equipped with modern facilities. The growth of urban centers, however, led to congestion, increasing property values and wage costs, and environmental pollution. Low-cost housing is inadequate, resulting in an increase in squatter settlements in urban centers. Rapid industrialization and the resultant rural-urban migration, mainly of youths, as well as changing lifestyles and negative influences gave rise to various social problems such as the breakdown of families, drug addiction, child abuse and runaways. Various agencies undertake preventive and rehabilitative programs for children, youths and parents. Priority is given to the inculcation of positive values among the young with a view to developing quality manpower. To enhance youth development, the Ministry of Youth and Sports launched the Rakan Muda (Young Friend) Programme in 1994, aimed at promoting a healthy and productive lifestyle among youths of all ethnic groups. During the Seventh Malaysia Plan period, the implementation of the Rakan Muda Program will focus on youths who have dropped out of school and unemployed youths as they are more vulnerable than other sectors and can be easily drawn into unhealthy activities. The private sector and nongovernmental organizations are expected to play an increasingly important role in the implementation of youth development.
In short, the acceleration of economic development and industrialization will demand new skills and work ethics from the youth. The youth population (15-24 age-group) is expected to increase by 2.3 percent per annum, from 3.97 million in 1995 to 4.45 million in the year 2000. Rapid urbanization is anticipated to affect youth values and lifestyles, particularly in major urban areas. In addition, the development of communication systems and international computer networking, such as the multimedia, is expected to pose challenges to traditional values and cultures. This development poses new challenges and therefore requires reorientation and new emphasis in development policies and programs.
Education and Training
During the Seventh Plan period, the objective of education and skill-training programs in Malaysia is to produce an adequate number of skilled and quality workers as well as to produce citizens who are disciplined and possess high moral values and a good work ethic. Table 2 shows student enrolment in local public institutions.
Source: Seventh Malaysia Plan
Table 2: Student enrolment in
local public institutions
The Education Act 1996 was enacted to increase the effectiveness of the education system and to strengthen the regulatory framework. Among others, it strengthens the concept of a national system of education by including all levels and types of education and bringing within its ambit pre-school, post-secondary and special education. At the primary and secondary levels, public and private educational institutions are required to use the national curriculum.
In the fast-approaching new millennium, our students will experience a school environment that is drastically different from that of their parents and teachers. The integration of technology into school curricula is no longer a luxury; it is a prerequisite to survival in a future that will be driven and supported by technology. The concepts of smart learning and smart school were developed in order to take advantage of the power of information technology in education and training. Among others, smart school involves the use of software, networks, multimedia and programming to enhance the learning and teaching processes.
* Pre-school education
* Primary school
* Secondary school
* Public institutions
* Private institutions
* Public sector
It is the mission of the government to develop a world-class quality education system which will realize the full potential of the individual and fulfill the aspirations of the Malaysian nation. According to the Education Act 1996, this mission is to be achieved through a national system of education which provides for the national language to be the medium of instruction, a National Curriculum and common examinations. The education provided is varied and comprehensive in scope and will satisfy the needs of the nation as well as promote national unity through cultural, social, economic and political development in accordance with the principles of the National Ideology or Rukunegara. The development allocation and expenditure for education and training in the Seventh Malaysia Plan amounts to RM10.1 billion or 15.4 percent of the total public development allocation. This allocation shows that high priority is given to education and training as it contributes significantly to the objectives of the National Development Policy, in particular to poverty eradication and restructuring of society. With the right approach to human resource development, Malaysia is poised to face the challenges of the 21st century. The capacity and capability to train and retrain manpower will enable the nation to keep abreast of technological developments. The emphasis given to the process of learning to live together in peace and harmony will make our human resources more efficient, resilient and disciplined.
As we analyze the meaning of HRE, especially in the context of Moral Education in primary and secondary schools, one basic question arises: "What are some indicators of successful HRE in classroom?" In other words, how should HRE be conducted in the classroom? We believe that there is no simple answer because there is not one way of teaching human rights issues. In the Malaysian context, we have identified and developed five expectations that answer the above question. They describe how the process of education for human rights will be manifested. They are simple but powerful images or metaphors.
The next question is: "How can we help make these expectations part of our classes?" The essence of all the expectations and visions is that they suggest, encourage and require us to develop our own interpretations with the help of our colleagues. This is especially true of the above expectations; our reflections on their suggestions will help us bring about meaningful teaching and learning in the classroom.
In the Malaysian context, inherent in HRE is the strong belief that all young people must be equipped with the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to live together in peace and harmony and to play an active and constructive part in promoting a genuine and lasting culture of peace in Malaysia, the Asia-Pacific region and the world. To reach the goal of living together in peace and harmony requires the creation of a different curriculum and teaching and learning environment. The image of values education for human rights includes teachers who are more proficient in:
Educational goals for students must reflect the importance of values education for human rights. Toward this end, five general goals for all students are that they:
These goals imply that students should be exposed to numerous and varied interrelated experiences that encourage them to develop good habits. Toward this end, we see teachers as key figures in changing how moral and values education is conducted in schools. To be effective professional practitioners, teachers must develop their own vision for professional development. This requires a level of teacher autonomy reflecting an internal drive toward professionalism.
Professional development takes many forms, but true professional development, in the sense of resulting in meaningful and long-lasting qualitative change in a teacher's thinking and approaches to educating, is an autonomous activity chosen by a teacher in search of better ways of knowing and teaching values education for human rights. HRE teachers develop professionally in the same way that all other teachers do, but with specific focus on applying professional knowledge within a meaningful and relevant HRE context for the improvement of the moral growth of children and youths. Professional knowledge cannot be transferred. Rather, it is constructed by each individual teacher bringing his or her "lived experiences" as a learner and teacher to an educational setting and interacting with the environment in a way that relates new knowledge to previously constructed knowledge in an attempt to make the best sense of the new knowledge. Teachers move toward professional autonomy as they continue to construct their ideas about values education for human rights and how it can be best taught to others. Teachers' ability to change is largely a function of their ability to be adaptive agents. To be sure, being an adaptive agent in the classroom requires a great deal of knowledge about values education, pedagogy and the psychology of learning.
(Image: Figure 5-2)
Figure 6: Five general goals of values education for human rights
There are many persistent obstacles to making significant changes in the teaching and learning of values education for human rights in schools and in teacher training colleges. Among these are the beliefs and dispositions that both students and teachers bring to the moral and values education classroom, as well as the assumptions held by school administrators, parents and society in general about values education curriculum and instruction. Changes in educational practices do not come quickly or easily. Lasting changes in moral and values education classrooms result only when teachers confront their beliefs about what moral and values education is, what it means to learn to live together in peace and harmony, and how HRE is conducted. Examining these beliefs, in turn, demands admitting the need to change, consensus on the desired direction for change and acceptance of the change process. Too many attempts to change education have failed because they were imposed in a top-down manner without the significant involvement of the teachers who must in the end be the primary agents of change.
In order to change our perspective about the teaching and learning of values education for human rights, we need direction on how values education can be conducted to enhance the development of good human beings. The research on educational change has clearly described certain strategies that lead to successful long-term instructional change. In particular, the following four characteristics are common to such approaches: attention to beliefs and expectations, opportunities for networking and interaction, duration and continuity and administrative support.
Any attempt to modify teachers' behaviors without at the same time modifying their beliefs and expectations is likely to produce transient results at best. The HRE activities envisioned in this paper are predicated on a conceptualization of HRE as a dynamic human activity and on the belief that all persons are capable of becoming good human beings. Yet the prevailing belief about HRE is that of a collection of isolated facts and rules. With these mis-impressions in mind, considerable time and attention need to be given to the matter of beliefs and expectations. Teachers need to respond to sentence-completion stimuli such as follows.
In general, the core of the professional standards for teaching HRE lies in the belief that "teachers are key figures in changing the ways in which HRE is taught and learned in school" and "such changes require that teachers have long-term support and adequate resources." The challenge of bringing about change in HRE is not completely answered by having great material in a form that is useful to teachers. Lesson plans, resources and materials on education for human rights must be disseminated to other teachers and implemented in classrooms. Teachers must try new materials, work with them, make them "their own" and improve them until the materials become an integral part of their curricula. Most professionals learn best from their peers, and values education teachers are no exception. Teachers are inclined to trust other teachers, those who understand and share the conditions under which they work.
Woven into the fabric of the professional standards for HRE are nine major shifts in the environment needed to produce a physically, mentally, intellectually, emotionally, socially and spiritually well-developed total human being. We need to shift toward:
As teachers shift toward the vision of teaching HRE presented above, one would expect to see teachers focusing more attention on helping students work together to make sense of the concept of education for human rights; helping students to understand that learning occurs as individuals actively assimilate new experiences and construct their own meanings; helping students to understand that human rights are not a collection of isolated rules and facts, but a network of ideas in which each idea is connected to several other ideas; helping students to understand that God has a major influence on man's life and there are relative values created by human beings and absolute values based on the teaching of religions; helping students to understand that there are some parallels regarding what is perceived as good by one religion, as it is also by other religion; helping students to understand that God created human beings for specific purposes; and helping students learn to live in harmony with God, with themselves, others and nature (see Nik Azis 1996).
This paper presents Malaysian experiences in the implementation of HRE in schools. We invite all who have responsibility for any part of the support and development of HRE teachers and teaching to use some ideas presented in this paper as a basis for discussion and for making needed change so that we can reach our goal of implementing, inculcating and developing the value of education for human rights. Since the beginning of time no society has existed that did not desire peace and happiness, and the freedom and bounty of God. However, good values and moral education programs do not come by chance. They are developed through careful and systematic planning and implementation.
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Human Rights Education in Asian Schools, Volume Two