The issue of the module Tamadun Islam & Tamadun Asia (Titas) providing wrong facts and information to students has cropped up once again despite previous assurances that in explaining the topics in Titas, no unfavourable and disparaging remarks and comments about other religions and races will be made by the teachers.
In a diverse country like Malaysia, the sensitivities of all religions and races need to be respected if the present harmony is to prevail.
The authors of the Titas textbook and the educational authorities have been previously criticised for focusing more on Islam and the Malay civilisation, and glossing over the achievements of the Western, Indian and Chinese civilisations and their contributions for a better world.
Despite appeals and protests, nothing has been done to balance the textbook and review or correct the disparities and generalisations in the book on which the controversial slides appear to have been based. To compile a book for the tertiary students who have to compulsorily study Titas, the text book should have been written by a number of specialists or experts to concentrate on different sections and not rely on general writers as is the present case.
It is an important book imparting knowledge, though briefly, to the college and university students who may otherwise not know the past history of mankind .Only a couple of years ago there was so much criticism and controversy about a literature book for SPM students that it had to be withdrawn. That episode should have forewarned others but it appears otherwise.
It is only a small step from disparaging Hinduism and Sikhism to criticising other religions such as Christianity, Buddhism or Judaism.
How will Muslims students feel when learning about Islam in Titas if Islam is associated with terrorism and Muslims being implicated in the killing and maiming of innocent victims through terrorism, jihadism, fanaticism, militancy, suicide bombings and extremism the world over? Surely there will be a furore in the country that this is not an accurate representation of Islam.
It is time the students stood up for their rights as they are mature enough to know right from wrong. Just like consumers have the power to boycott products and teach manufacturers and suppliers a lesson, students, too, should boycott studying Titas or any other subject for that matter to show their disapproval. The parents, too, should support the students in the process and not reprimand them.
College and university students need to stand up for their beliefs. If not now, then when? This type of action even by a small number of students will have the desired effect of driving home the point to the authorities and ensure that the lecturers and professors do not make disparaging remarks about race or religion in their midst.
There are too many problems of this type in the education system nowadays and it is time those affected - the students - become more pro-active to address the situation. This will be a last resort action by the students when the authorities fail to act seriously and urgently against the errant educators. V Thomas Malaysiakini Letters 17 Jun 2016, 12:20 pm