MAJORITY of non-Muslim parents are not concerned that their children have to study Islamic Religious Studies (IRK) at schools in Brunei.
An Islamic Religious Knowledge (IRK) officer, Hjh Zahrinah, said most non-Muslim parents are supportive, mainly due to its disciplinary principles in shaping children’s characters and see no problem in their children studying IRK.
“Most parents who are non-Muslim understand that the IRK subject does not force children to convert to Islam, but is aimed at teaching the values of Islam that instill discipline,” Hjh Zahrinah told The Brunei Times on the sideline of the Physical and Mental Health Programme for Primary School teachers held at the Agro Technology Park.
However, in one isolated case, she said that a complaint was filed by parents who disapproved of their children to studying the IRK subject.
“Those parent sent their children to a private school,” said Hjh Zahrinah, not disclosing the name of the school to protect the identity of the child. The other concern, she said was that many parents thought studying IRK would affect the overall grades of their children. However, the IRK officer clarified that these were isolated cases as in general most non-Muslim parents do not see the subject as a tool to influence their children towards Islam.
Ustazah Hjh Sinega Siwerdi, Head Division of Religious School, said that there are non-Muslim students who achieved higher grades in IRK examination than Muslim students.
“This shows that even non-Muslims want to learn about Islam,” she said.
Ustazah Hjh Sinega said that there were Muslim students who are not aware of the basic teachings of Islam like performing prayers or mandi wajib (complete cleanse of the body).
“That’s why the Islamic Religious Studies Department held this type of programme such as Shabab Ul-Islam (Islamic activities) for selected students to polish their knowledge about the basics of the religion,” she said.
According to Hj Saleh Hj Nasir, Head of Primary School Unit, IRK Division, the objective of the programme was to strengthen the relationship between religious teachers. The guest of honour was Ustazah Hjh Asmah Hj Randah, the Director of Islamic Knowledge at the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
More than 255 religious teachers from government primary schools in all districts, except Temburong, participated in the programme, organised by the Committee of Head of religious teachers of Government Primary Schools (Jawatankuasa Ketua Guru Ugama Sekolah Rendah Kerajaan (JaKGU SRK BM).
The Brunei Times
Monday, June 9, 2014