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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Teach children the principles of democracy

Sulaiman Kamal | 12:27 AM | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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A school syllabus on democracy will teach children good governance and democratic rights, says a social activist.

GEORGE TOWN: Our schools don’t do a good job of preparing students on how to practice democracy and social activist BK Ong feels that the best way to do this is to have a school syllabus on democracy.
He said this would be a progressive educational step to nurture Malaysians from young on their rights and responsibilities to the country.

In schools children are presently taught the importance of voting but are not taught on how the democratic process is supposed to work, added Ong.
“A school education on democracy is crucial to develop Malaysia into a matured and progressive nation,” he told FMT here today.
He cited Australia, New Zealand, America and western European nations as countries where democracy is taught as part of the school syllabus.
He said the syllabus should educate children on many aspects of good governance and democratic rights such as human rights, minority rights, citizenry rights and civil liberties.
It will also educate children on free and fair elections, on the doctrine of separation of powers, independence of judiciary, rule of law and social justice.
“Malaysians should know that human rights are a citizens fundamental rights in the country,” said Ong, who heads the election watchdog, Malaysian Election Observers Network (Meonet).
He said a school syllabus on democracy would also educate Malaysians to reject nepotism, cronyism and monopoly of the country’s wealth by a the rich and powerful.
Playing the race card
In long term, he said these children would grow up to lead the country towards a matured and developed democracy.
“They will know what’s right and wrong in a democracy.
He said the government should take the responsibility to educate citizens on democracy and their rights as this was in line with the Rukunegara.
He also said teaching democracy in schools was a far better way to spend taxpayers’ money, compared to mega projects.
He added that currently many Malaysians, though vibrant in socio-political activism, were still ignorant about the democratic virtues and rights.
He said this explained why many civil society groups prefer to harp on the popular race card politics, while conveniently neglecting the problems of the minority because there is not much political mileage here.
“This is a negative development. Human rights issues are not about popularity.It’s all about upholding fundamental rights of Malaysians,” said Ong.

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