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DEVELOPING NATIONAL IDENTITY IN MULTICULTURAL SCHOOL

Mazlena Mohd Shah


Lecturer
Kolej Poly-Tech MARA Ipoh,
mazlena@gapps.kptm.edu.my
017-7573287

DEVELOPING NATIONAL IDENTITY IN MULTICULTURAL SCHOOL


Mazlena Mohd Shah
Kolej Poly-Tech MARA Ipoh,
mazlena@gapps.kptm.edu.my

ABSTRACT
In any society, the educational system is closely related to societal needs and thus it cannot
ignore the political, economic and cultural-ideological factors which influence its functions. As a
result, educational systems have environments that give them purpose and meaning and define
their functions, limitation sand conflicts. In Malaysia, since independence one of the national
objectives has been unity;hence forth, all the enacted educational policies have stated that unity
is their overarching objective. The National Language Policy declared that Malay language is the
national language and medium of instruction in the national schools. The centralized school
curriculum and examination, and the inclusion of subjects like civic studies, are attempts to
ensure integration, tolerance, and national consciousness. The notion of Bangsa Malaysia,
which means one Malaysian race introduced by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in 1991 as part of his
vision of 2020, aimed at bringing greater national integration among the various ethnic groups
within the country. Schools encourage students of one race to make an effort to study and
understand the other races, their cultures, beliefs, and religions. For example: the Indians must
understand all about their Malay and Chinese fellow Malaysians, and the same applies to the
Malays and Chinese. Teachers who address the differences and add them to the curriculum will
succeed in creating a multicultural classroom that will advocate the educational goals of all
students.

INTRODUCTION

Since achieving independence fifty-five years ago, Malaysia has undergone economic
transformation in terms of diversification of its agriculture in the 1960s to manufacturing in the
1970s-1980s, and then to technology-based development since the 1990s. These achievements

came as a result of the ability of Malaysians, diverse in their culture, to tolerate, and to live and
work together in realising the countrys overall goals of growth and prosperity.
Until recently, the predominant view of multicultural education in the United States has been the
assimilation or melting-pot perspective in which microcultures are expected to give up their
cultural identities in order to blend in or become absorbed by the predominant mainstream
society or macroculture (Gloria M. Ameny-Dixon, 2000).
The basis for conflict between the ethnic groups stems from identity contestation in the form of
language and culture. In the 1970s, the Malays advocated that the core of the national culture
should be that of the Malay. This assimilative approach was unkindly viewed by the Chinese and
the Indians. Relationships between the ethnic groups are rather complex, intricate and sensitive,
especially when dealing with matters of religion, culture and language. These features are
important in identity contestation, a phenomenon created by the British in the context of colonial
knowledge and its investigative modalities (Shamsul, 2006). According to Shamsul, it is through
the colonial practice of codifying, documenting and representing the social, cultural, economic
and political state in history that modern identities in Malaysia like Malay/Malayness,
Chinese/Chineseness and Indian/Indianess have emerged, consolidated and fortified. Realizing
the danger of creating distrust among the ethnic groups the government had rescinded the
assimilation strategy and sought the policy based on the multicultural model.
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Literature Review
Since independence in 1957, Malaysia (Malaya, Singapore, North Borneo and Sarawak)

was very much a plural society and very much a model as described by Furnivall(1949)
inheriting social, economic and politicalvestiges of the colonial policy of divide
andrule.Relations between ethnic groups were full of distrust. A nation would not be able to be
forged in such a situation. Thus, thetask of national integration has to be seriously and
immediately undertaken and indeed this is a massive challenge. The term integration hasbeen
defined as a process whereby politicalactors in several distinct national settings arepersuaded to
shift their loyalties, expectationsand political activities towards a new centre(HaasinSyedSerajul
Islam, 2008). In brief, national integration is a process of bringing together discrete elements of a
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society intoa more integrated whole, or to make out ofmany small and diverse societies a
closerapproximation of one nation (Wriggins in Syed Serajul Islam, 2008).
Social scientists have studied the process of national integration from three universal
theoretical perspectives. First, the general systems theory analyzes whether there is a regular and
continuing inter-connectedness in the subsets or elements of a system. Inter-connectedness is the
main ingredient in the formation of value congruence in a system. Von Bertalanffy (1972)noted
that the formation of value congruence is why all ongoing social systems actually show a
tendency toward a general system of common cultural orientation. Second, the transactional or
communication salience theory of Deutsch (1964), Jacob and Toscano (1964) and others has also
been used to explain both the degree to which people are connected and the way changes in the
direction of communication affect the direction of integration. According to Mabogunje (1981),
the movement of mass populations into different regions of a country is a significant way of
achieving integration between a people and its territory, and also between different groups within
the population.
2.1

Education in Malaysia
It is not easy to identify the forms of institutional support for a multicultural environment.

Some of the studies have explicitly clarified the institutional support that has direct impact on
teacher education . Learning about each others cultures, and also learning about cultures they
dont know together, like the Tainos (Dr. James A. Banks, 2000). The really important thing I
want to point out is that its not the race of the teacher, but a set of cultural characteristics that
make them effective with children of color. It is essential to explore the efforts of a larger
institution that have indirectly and subtly affected teacher education programs. Clearly, most
institutions of higher learning are gatekeepers for the status quo, and usually are reluctant to
change. Any announced policy would have an impact on the education equity in a campus. Then,
what issues should be recognized in order to diversify an institution? What progress has been
made by other institutions approved to be useful for teacher education
programs? And why is it so difficult to make change in an institution?

Education is a deliberate attempt to construct human beings who will participate in society as
productive citizens. It is the most contested terrain in any society, and it is a battlefield or a
conveyer belt for the creation of human beings. Malaysia has succeeded in investing education in
a way that made it a model to be followed for peaceful coexistence and acceptance of
multiculturalism and multi-sectarianism, based on its educational curricula (Al-Anbouri, 2009).
The mission of the Ministry of Education in Malaysia is to produce world class education
and ensure the development of the individuals potentials and to fulfill the nations aspirations.
Education is fundamental to the inculcation of values and ethics which ultimately shape the
nation's character, growth and social cohesion. The seeds of national unity must be sown among
the young, and they must be taught and convinced of the benefits of peaceful co-existence.
Education should promote the development of inner peace in the minds of students so
that they can establish more firmly the qualities of tolerance and compassion. It should, also,
cultivate feelings of solidarity and equality at the national level. Formal education in Malaysia is
overseen by two government ministries: the Ministry of Education (Kementerian Pelajaran) for
matters up to the secondary level, and the Ministry of Higher Education (Kementerian Pengajian
Tingg) for matters regarding tertiary education. Primary education is free and compulsory for
children from all ethnic and language groups. Although education is the responsibility of the
federal government, each state has an education department to help coordinate educational
matters in their respective states. The education system is highly centralized, particularly for
primary and secondary schools, with state and local governments having little say in the
curricula or other major aspects of education. Multicultural education consist of beliefs and
explanations that recognizes and values the importance of ethnic and cultural diversity which
shapes lifestyles, social experiences, personal identities, and educational opportunities of
individuals, groups and nations. Multicultural education also prescribes what should be done to
ensure equitable accessibility and treatment for diverse groups in schools and in the society as a
whole (Ephraim Gorham, 2001).
The major challenges experienced in multicultural education are (a) the lack of proper
academic structure to address the different needs of students from various cultural backgrounds
and needs to forward multicultural curriculum transformation, (b) the inability of the students to
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participate in meaningful academic processes

and (c) the experience of prejudice and

segregation directed to students from multicultural background by teachers, classmates, and the
people from the community. Cultural pluralism, within a democratic sense, assumes that different
political, religious, or ethnic groups can equally exist within a single society. Also, it demands that
political, economic, social, and educational opportunities are equally provided for each cultural group. It
is not an issue in this study to discuss and promote an insight into how political, economic, and social
institutions, principles and criteria, and power relations are to be established and to be functioning in a
pluralistic society (Rasit Celik, 2014). These factors along with other factors hinder multicultural

societies from achieving high quality education especially the education provided to students not
of the dominant culture. The same thing can be said about the educational system in Turkey. In
Turkey, the attention of the educational system to the diverging cultural needs of each student
group has remained asymmetrical and inadequate resulting in inappropriate and irrelevant
education received by students in all levels of education.
Rios and Stanton (2011) analyze the seven characteristics of multicultural education
outlined by Nieto and Bode as follows. Multicultural education is (1) an antiracist approach that
focuses on racist and discriminatory problems in order not to accuse anyone but to provide hope
for biasedfree society. Multicultural education is to be recognized as elements of the curriculum
as reading and writing since it is (2) basic education. Therefore, since it is basic education,
multicultural education is (3) important for all students. Also, it is a dynamic (4) process that
evaluates and revises its educational materials and program in accordance with the dynamic
nature of multicultural social structure. Multicultural education is (5) pervasive. Schools that
recognize these principles require multicultural education at every level of their curriculum,
reflects multicultural characteristics in physical aspects of schools too, and multicultural
education eventually becomes a way of thinking rather than a segregated program. The last two
characteristics of multicultural education are (6) social justice oriented and (7) critical pedagogy.
For the two authors, multicultural education is not in favor of status quo. Instead, it promotes
students development in taking action in social changes. Multicultural education encourages
students and communities to realize, share, and overcome social difficulties and injustices (Rasit
Celik, 2014). Multicultural education in Turkey needs to be reconsidered in accordance with
allowing the right to education for all people and in keeping with global justice. Development of
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multicultural education curriculum in Turkish higher education should focus on protecting the
cultural heritage of each of the international students and people from different backgrounds to
encourage tolerance. In addition, Banks (2006) suggests, the school curriculum should be
reformed so that students will view concepts, events, issues, and problems from different ethnic
perspectives and points of view. He argues that conceptualizing the curriculum and making
ethnic content an integral part of a transformed curriculum should be distinguished from merely
adding ethnic content to the curriculum. Ethnic content can be added to the curriculum without
transforming in or changing its basic assumptions, perspectives, and goals.
Many higher education institutions and Kindergarten-12 schools have bans on hate
speech in order to ensure civility and protect the rights of all students, including students from
minority groups with beliefs and speech deemed offensive by certain groups. Some of the
primary goals of hate speech bans include preventing students from being offended, feeling
uncomfortable, or having their feelings assaulted by ideas or language that they consider
hateful. Without much doubt, language can hurt, and many minority group members have been
the targets of racial, sex, religious, and ethnic bigotry. Despite the noble intentions of these hate
speech bans, the courts have ruled that they are an unconstitutional violation of the First
Amendment . While schools have an obligation to protect students from discrimination (actual
behavior), it is impermissible to proscribe speech because it is repugnant or insensitive to
individuals or groups. Advocates of hate speech prohibitions in colleges and public schools
(albeit, students in Kindergarten-12 schools have more limits because of their age and
compulsory attendance) often fail to recognize that the First Amendment allows hate speech. The
legal and pedagogically rational response to biased, intellectually primitive, ignorant, crude, or
offensive speech is more enlightened speech based on facts, not the unconstitutional suppression
of speech.
2.2

New Trends in Malaysian Education

One of the initial reactions to the riots of 1969 was the formation of the national ideology or
Rukenegara (the nation's ideology). The belief in God is the first statement of the National
Ideology or Rukunegara which was formulated in 1970. It has provided the direction for
education, national unity, justice, liberty, diversity and progress. It declares that Malaysians are
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dedicated to achieve a greater unity of all its people, regardless of their ethnic origins or religion
affiliations (Manickam, 2004). The principles of

Rukenegara are: Faith in God, loyalty to

king and country, upholding the constitution, the

rule of law, and good behavior and morality.

The National Philosophy of Education (NPE) (Falsafah Pendidikan Negara), was


formulated in 1988, and regarded as a statement of vision for the Ministry of Education in the
pursuit of educational excellence. It is the core of all educational programs and activities at all
levels of schooling, from pre-school until tertiary education

(Ismail et al. 2009). The

Vision School is a government initiative to produce a Malaysian race (Bangsa Malaysia) built on
and the abolition of ethnic differences amongst its citizens (Manickam,

2004).

Ethnic

interaction can, among other things, promote a realistic sense of inter-ethnic integration. This is
because when groups work together toward common

goals

presented for developing and discovering similarities of

interest and values. The vision

school consists of three schools clustered in one common

area that is the Malay School, the

Chinese School and the Tamil School. Each school is

given the autonomy to implement its

further

opportunities

are

own educational programs. The three schools share some common physical amenities, such as
the canteen, playing fields, assembly areas and

corridors. The aim is to bridge the gap

amongst the different ethnic groups as well as to

inculcate a love for the country and to

nurture and sustain unity and tolerance. These

three trends were landmarks in the fight

against discrimination and misunderstanding.

They have achieved the greatest degree of

unity and social justice among members of the

Malaysian community.

2.3

Civic and Citizenship Education (Pendidikan Sivik dan Kewarganegaraan)

In 2005, the Ministry of Education reintroduced the subject of Civic and Citizenship Education
so that students of various races and cultures could sit together and be trained to deliberate on
issues of common concerns as citizens. This is important because if the exercise is well done,
then as future citizens they will learn to resolve critical issues affecting them through
deliberation just as the founding fathers of the nation did. Some of the goals of National and
Civic Education are: to produce a united Malaysia; to produce Malaysian citizens who are
knowledgeable, God fearing, well-behaved, competent and harmonious (Barone, 2002).

2.4

Multiculturalism

Multiculturalism is a system of beliefs and behaviors that recognizes and respects the presence of
all diverse groups in an organization or a society. It brings together human beings from a variety
of cultures to enable them to reach their fullest potential.The understanding of other cultures is
crucially important, and it may help to maintain stability in society. Living in a multicultural
society requires a high level of understanding and respect of those from other cultures. It is
important to address racial differences effectively in the curriculum so youngsters can be
exposed to positive attitudes towards racial differences. The ultimate goal of education is the
development, in every individual, a sense of universal values and types of behavior on which a
culture of peace is predicated. People should understand and respect each other, and negotiate on
an equal footing, with a view to seek common grounds. Once the social fabric is torn, it cannot
easily be sewn together again. The main aim of managing multiculturalism in Malaysia is to
maintain national integration in which all their various cultural communities could live alongside
each other while maintaining their own original identities (Ibrahim, 2007). Multicultural
education is a philosophical concept built on the ideals of freedom, justice, equality and human
dignity.
There are numerous definitions and perspectives of multicultural education to reflect
standpoints of specific disciplines or outlooks of different professional organization. Based on a
review of literature on multicultural education, several scholars has described multicultural
education a quite differently. For example, according to (Banks & Banks, 1997; 2001),
multicultural education is a transformative movement in education that produces critically
thinking and socially active members of society. It is not simply a change of curriculum or the
addition of an activity. It is a movement that calls for new attitudes, new approaches, and a new
dedication to laying the foundation for the transformation of society.
In addition, Gorski (2010) argues that multicultural education is designed to develop
citizens in democratic society-by considering the needs of all students. It makes explicit how
issues of race, ethnicity, culture, language, religion, gender, and abilities/disabilities are
intertwined with educational process and content. In addition, Bennett (1999) defines that
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multicultural education is an approach to teaching and learning that is based upon democratic
values and beliefs, and affirms cultural pluralism within culturally diverse societies and an
interdependent world and it is based on the assumption that the primary goal of public education
is to foster the intellectual, social, and personal development of virtually all students to their
highest potential (p. 11). From these several different perspectives and definitions, Tiedt and
Tiedt (1999) also states that multicultural education is an inclusive teaching/learning process that
that involves all students in emerging a strong sense of self-esteem, discovering empathy and
tolerance for people of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and experiencing equitable
opportunities to achieve their fullest potential.

Multicultural education is an approach to teaching and learning that is based on


democratic values that affirm cultural pluralism within culturally diverse societies in an
interdependent world. There are currently two viewpoints or perspectives of multicultural
education in the United States, namely the assimilation or melting-pot perspective and the
pluralism or global perspective. The assimilation perspective of multicultural education is that
microcultures must give up their original culture and identities in order to blend in or become
absorbed into the predominant Anglo-Western European culture. The global perspective is that
microcultures can retain many of their traditions such as language, religion, and social customs
while adopting many of the aspects of the predominant Anglo-Western culture. The global
perspective of multicultural education recognizes cultural pluralism as an ideal and healthy state
in any productive society and promotes equity and respect among the existing cultural groups.
This principle allows the global perspective of multicultural education to extend beyond
equity pedagogy as the only way to counteract problems that have been created by the
assimilation perspective. With the rapidly increasing interconnections among all nations,
particularly now, as we face global issues related to the ecosystem, nuclear weapons, terrorism,
human rights, and scarce national resources, institutions of higher education need to embrace the
global perspective of multicultural education if we are going to remain models of democratic
societies in a pluralistic world and stay academically competitive in relation to the rest of the
world. The purpose of this article is to explain the global perspective of multicultural education

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and how institutions of higher education can use it to remain models of academic excellence in
pluralistic and democratic societies.
Multicultural education is an approach to teaching and learning that is based on
democratic values that affirm cultural pluralism within culturally diverse societies in an
interdependent world. There are currently two viewpoints or perspectives of multicultural
education in the United States, namely the assimilation or melting-pot perspective and the
pluralism or global perspective. The assimilation perspective of multicultural education is that
microcultures must give up their original culture and identities in order to blend in or become
absorbed into the predominant Anglo-Western European culture. The global perspective is that
microcultures can retain many of their traditions such as language, religion, and social customs
while adopting many of the aspects of the predominant Anglo-Western culture. The global
perspective of multicultural education recognizes cultural pluralism as an ideal and healthy state
in any productive society and promotes equity and respect among the existing cultural groups.
This principle allows the global perspective of multicultural education to extend beyond equity
pedagogy as the only way to counteract problems that have been created by the assimilation
perspective. With the rapidly increasing interconnections among all nations, particularly now, as
we face global issues related to the ecosystem, nuclear weapons, terrorism, human rights, and
scarce national resources, institutions of higher education need to embrace the global perspective
of multicultural education if we are going to remain models of democratic societies in a
pluralistic world and stay academically competitive in relation to the rest of the world. The
purpose of this article is to explain the global perspective of multicultural education and how
institutions of higher education can use it to remain models of academic excellence in pluralistic
and democratic societies.

2.4.1 The Global View of Multicultural Education


The American Council on Education (Green, 1989), National Association for the Advancement
of Sciences (AAAS, 1989), and educators who have been personally involved in promoting
multicultural education in schools and at institutions of higher education have identified several
long-term benefits of the global perspective of multicultural education. Some of these long term
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benefits are as follows: 1. Multicultural education increases productivity because a variety of


mental resources are available for completing the same tasks and it promotes cognitive andmoral
growth among all people. 2. Multicultural education increases creative problem-solving skills
through the different perspectives applied to same problems to reach solutions.\ 3. Multicultural
education increases positive relationships through achievement of common goals, respect,
appreciation, and commitment to equality among the intellectuals at institutions of higher
education. 4. Multicultural education decreases stereotyping and prejudice through direct contact
and interactions among diverse individuals.
According to Mda in Lemmer (1999), the benefits and ultimately the goals of multiculturalism
include the following: the enhancement of equal educational opportunities; development of
ability to identify with and relate to other groups; reduction of racial discrimination; core values
inculcation; and promoting effective relationships between home and school. In order to
establish and sustain a successful teacher education program for diversity, institutional support is
critical. Lack of clarity about multiculturalism and lack of diversity among faculty could hinder
attempts to change teacher preparation programs. (Hui-Min Chou, 2007). Students would benefit
from a diverse faculty who would be able to provide a variety of perspectives. Student teachers,
with diverse cultural knowledge, will make sense of unexpected perspectives from their students,
who come from various cultural backgrounds.
Over and above these, the benefits of multiculturalism have been revealed in a number of
studies. Researching on the importance of multiculturalism in higher education, the above cited
studies have established that multiculturalism in education is beneficial in as far as it increases
productivity because a variety of mental resources are available for completing the same tasks
and it promotes cognitive and moral growth among all people. Over and above this,
multiculturalism has been seen to enhance creative problem-solving skills through the different
perspectives applied to same problems to reach solutions as well as increasing positive
relationships through achievement of common goals, respect, appreciation, and commitment to
equality among the intellectuals at institutions of higher education. The same authorities are also
in agreement that multicultural education renews vitality of society through the richness of the
different cultures of its members and fosters development of a broader and more sophisticated
view of the world.
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2.4.2 Peer Culture and School Culture


In those teacher education classroom the elements of a strong peer culture was apparent.
Although in the beginning of this study peer culture was not one of the foci, as the study
progressed, issues related to the preservice teachers experience started to connect with the
classroom context and their shared culture.
The difference between the teachers perspectives and the students perspectives on the
classroom community indicate that there were two cultures operating in and around classroom
community. On the one hand, there was the school culture, which represented the rules,
regulations, and objectives of the teacher education program.
On many occasions, it is the cultural policies and orientation of the nations-state that
place minority communities at a disadvantage. Theorists of multiculturalism maintain that most
states, including western liberal democracies, have a majoritarian cultural bias, i.e., their policies
and practices express the culture of the majority. This cultural orientation of the nation state
places ethnic and cultural minorities at a disadvantage in the public arena. Moreover, the
continued presence of majority culture in national and public life gives that culture certain
legitimacy. Its customs and practices appear to be neutral, and are often treated as symbols of the
nation-state rather than those of community.
2.5

Objective of the Study

This study examines the politics and practices of education in Malaysia within the context of
ethnicity and nation-building. The central focus in this paper is a discussion of educational
policies in terms of multi-ethnicity, multi-religions and multi-languages. Though Jordan is not
considered as multicolored as Malaysia, it faces from time to time incidents of violence,
intolerance and misunderstanding. Lessons learned and their possible applications in the
Jordanian context will be examined.The study also explores the level of tolerance and
understanding practiced among Malaysian students regarding the diverse heritage in a
multicultural classroom environment and nation building. It stresses the government of
Malaysia's efforts in managing its complex ethnic, cultural and religious differences to bring
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about a sense of national unity and a culture of peace and harmony through education. The
research seeks to examine how the ethnic, racial and cultural needs of a country's student
population are considered when creating the education policy of a country.
3.0

Methodology

A qualitative analysis is employed in analyzing and identifying the various factors contributing
to the level of tolerance and understanding of other cultures among young Malaysians and
Jordanians. To fulfill the studys objectives, the methods employed were library research with
the emphasis on textual analysis, interviews with students, teachers, school principals and
administrators at the schools, directorates of education at the ministerial levels. Observations
while visiting schools in both Jordan and Malaysia were also made.
4.0

Questions of the Study

The main questions addressed in the research are:


1. Whether and how a country's education policy can help to promote coexistence rather than
reinforce divides?
2. How education policies of Malaysia grapple with questions of diversity and citizenship?
3. How divisive moments in a country's history are presented in its education curriculum?

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Table 4.1 : Content analysis of the national and civic education curricula in Malaysia

15

In summary, the rules and regulations stipulated by the government of Malaysia is


different from those stipulated by the government of Jordan when it comes to multicultural
tolerance and social cohesion. Besides, the national and civic education curricula in Malaysia
emphasize the concepts of national identity, multiculturalism, tolerance and nation - building,
while the curricula in Jordan emphasize basically the loyalty to the regime and the nation as a
whole. The curricula of national and civic education in Jordan are not concerned with social
conflicts among the different sectors of the Jordanian society. They take the issues of social
cohesion and tolerance as face value with no attempt to question the reasons behind tribal brawls
and violence on campuses and in schools, and no serious attempts have been made to find ways
and means to alleviate the unfortunate incidents of violence that erupt from time to time.
5.0

Discussion

In view of the social, economic and political challenges that Jordan is facing nowadays in light
of the popular revolts in some Arab countries, the need has become urgent to review the
academic curricula in general and the national and civic education curricula in particular. The
revision would absorb the successful universal international identity and its representation
among the youth; thereby reaffirming to them the concepts of allegiance and affiliation to
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become capable of dealing positively and actively with the requirements of citizenship. I believe
that the future of Jordan lies in our ability to unite. National unity without a common identity is
an exercise in futility. People need to come to terms with the fact that we need to co-exist in
harmony, and this can only happen if there is genuine respect and acceptance of differences.
Public education should only serve the interests of unifying the society and should clearly not
have a divisive effect. It is the responsibility of the government to develop and safeguard the
education system which truly promotes the principle of "unity in diversity". The goal is to
maintain national integration in which all the various cultural communities could live alongside
each other while maintaining their own original identities. Schools and institutions of education
are in a unique position to address the teaching and learning of diversity by creating an
environment that will allow positive interaction among students from different backgrounds
(Mustafa & Norzaini, 2009). Unfortunately, we are more inclined to search for differences rather
than recognize commonalities. Diversity among various groups should be a source of strength. If
we can accept each other, we can go a long way to unite Jordan and make it strong and resilient.
While stressing the whole, it is recognized that the individual has rights which should be
respected and not lightly encroached upon. We must be aware of the obstacles and difficulties
that lie in front of us in order to circumvent hurdles and strategize our efforts in the most
optimum manner. Co- curriculum activities encourage students to interact with each other.
Therefore, they will be able to get to know each other closely. As a result, unity can be achieved.
Students should be encouraged to reflect upon their learning and be able to transfer it across the
curriculum to situations outside the curriculum. Through social cohesion, students will learn,
understand, accommodate and assimilate each other. Schools must act as the lighthouse of the
society, providing direction and guidance. One of the key instruments to create a cohesive
society is education. Achieving that will require resolve from the government to remedy the
causes, not just the symptoms. Nevertheless, the educational policy alone cannot elicit tolerance,
peace and cultural harmony. The government has to rise up and play its role in bringing people to
a melting pot where everybody feels that justice and equality is fully served. There should be
zero tolerance to any ethnic or racial remarks and actions. All men are created equal, and the
government should bear that in mind.

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Malaysia will remain one of the few nations in the world today, whose experience and
track record in dealing with many ethnicities and many cultures is a useful one. It is useful for
other countries to study closely and perhaps gain some useful insights from it. Considering that
we are all God's creation, we should be able to work out ways by which we are able to live with
one another in harmony and mutual regard, just as we would with people of our own kind. The
seeds of national unity must be sown among the young. They must be taught and convinced of
the benefits of peaceful co-existence. While Malaysia can point to some measures of success in
its efforts, I would never presume to prescribe the exact Malaysian experience to other countries
since it may fail miserably when taken out of the Malaysian context. Jordan must choose the path
that suits its own circumstances.

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REFERENCES

Why Multicultural Education Is More Important In Higher Education Now Than Ever: A
Global Perspective. (2004) Gloria M. Ameny-Dixon McNeese State University.
Multiculturalisms Five Dimensions (2011), Dr. James A. Banks on Multicultural Education
Multicultural Teaching Competence As Perceived By Elementary School Teachers, (2001),
Ephraim Gorham Dissertation Prospectus Submitted To The Faculty Of The Virginia
Polytechnic Institute And State University.
A History of Multicultural Education in the USA: Origins, Approaches, and Misconceptions
Rasit Celik, 2014, The Online Journal of New Horizons in Education Volume 2, Issue 4
Essays in Education Volume 21, Summer, (2007),Multicultural Teacher Education: Toward a
Culturally Responsible Pedagogy, Hui-Min Chou, Institute of Ethnology, Academia
Sinica
Multicultural Teacher Education: Toward a Culturally Responsible Pedagogy
Hui-Min Chou, (2007), Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica.
Multicultural Education Curriculum Development in Turkey, Hasan Aydin, September 2012,
Yildiz Technical University, Istanbul-Turkey. ISSN 20392117 Mediterranean Journal of
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