November 26, 2011
Parents in Sarawak, Malaysia, are concerned about subtle attempts to impart Islamic teachings and practices to children in preschools in the rural, predominantly Christian area, Free Malaysia Today reports. Sarawak legislative assemblyman Baru Bian said there was a "very real problem" because parents had complained of their children coming home from school reciting Islamic prayers. Hundreds of new preschools and kindergartens have been opened in the state in recent years to increase the accessibility to early education, but Bian said the people were concerned that the schools were staffed by teachers from outside the local community, many from the Muslim-majority Malaysian peninsula, and that the curriculum included lessons about Islam. Bian proposed to the legislature that as part of the 2012 budget, teachers from local communities be recruited and funded instead to ensure "fair teachings."