On 11 July, Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Cheras, Petaling Jaya, stated in its invitation letter that the saree was banned at its Aidilfitri gathering which will be held at the school’s grounds on 14 July 2017.
It has now apologised and retracted its ban on students wearing sarees at the Aidilfitri gathering.
14 July 2017
Malaysia is going to celebrate 60th Independence Day & yet disheartening to read insensitivity of people/institutions on wearing Saree!
Shock over students not knowing about sarees
Moderation advocate Anas Zubedy, UCSI professor Tajuddin Rasdi and PAGE head Noor Azimah Rahim are concerned over principal’s rationale for initially banning sarees.
PETALING JAYA: A principal’s explanation as to why her school had initially decided not to allow its students to wear sarees to an Aidilfitri gathering, has raised some concerns among various groups.
On Thursday, Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Cheras headmistress Maznah Latif had said the ban came following an incident last year when other students had started laughing at girls who wore sarees to the school’s Aidilfitri gathering.
“They didn’t understand that it was their traditional dress and we explained the situation but we didn’t want the same thing to happen this year,” she told FMT.
The school has since apologised and retracted the ban.
However, three prominent voices on education in the country are surprised that there are students who were not aware of the saree being the traditional attire won by Indian women.
Moderation advocate Anas Zubedy, UCSI professor Tajuddin Rasdi and Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) head Noor Azimah Rahim all agreed that if it were true that the students were ignorant about the universally-recognised Indian saree, then Malaysians should be “worried”.
Anas stressed that it was important for schools to ensure that students are provided with avenues to get to know more about the cultures and basic traditions of other ethnic groups.
Meanwhile, Tajuddin said if what the principal said was true then the country has to admit that the education system has failed.
“The Razak Report says that the main aim of education is the integration of society. If it’s true that there are students who don’t know what a saree is then we are in big trouble,” he said.
Meanwhile, Azimah urged teachers to play their part in inculcating mutual respect among students and avoid taking extreme measures to solve crisis.
“We should not take extreme measures by banning some traditional wear just because a few kids make fun of it. The teachers should play their part in reasoning it to the kids as to why the saree looks like that.
“The children only need to understand about the diversities of our country,” she said, adding that the ban was unnecessary.