MoE studying inclusion of ‘syair’ in school curriculum

National 1 minute, 39 seconds


THE Ministry of Education (MoE) is considering the possibility of adding syair (Malay poetry) written by Al-Marhum Sultan Hj Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien to the school curriculum.

This idea was proposed by the Brunei Darussalam Association of Writers (ASTERAWANI) during the first seminar on literature held recently.

In an interview with The Brunei Times, Hj Md Firdaus Orang Kaya Kaya Hj Noordin, secretary two of ASTERAWANI and senior lecturer at Universiti Brunei Darussalam, said the Co-curriculum Department has agreed to assess the recommendation.

“The MoE is in the process of researching and discussing the likelihood of including Malay literature texts to general examinations such as O and A level examinations,” he said.

“Therefore, Malay literature officers and writers are planning to add the Malay literature to educational syllabus such as Bahasa Melayu (Malay language) subject in the primary and secondary schools.”

Hj Md Firdaus said this would expose young students to the content in the syair “which is full of wisdom and thoughts on advice, Islamic teachings and statehood”.

Islamic literature is the foundation of a civilisation that teaches the norms and values of society.

“Literature aims to teach people the acceptable behaviour on how to live according to the teachings of Islam,” he added.

To illustrate the significance of literature, Hj Md Firdaus cited history when the United Kingdom was willing to surrender India.

“Literature plays an important role in the development of a civilised nation,” he said.

“UK history tells us that they were willing to surrender their colonies which emphasise the importance of literature in a nation,” he added.

Hj Md Firdaus also highlighted the important role that multimedia formats play in ensuring the survival of literature by attracting the interest of young people.

“Schools have taken innovative steps such as including literature programmes such as drama and acting classes in the extra-curricular activities (ECA) to meet the interest of the young audiences,” he said.

“Hopefully, literature will become part of the school’s syllabus.”

The Brunei Times