Mandatory for every Muslim child aged 7 and above to be enrolled for religious studies
Bandar Seri Begawan - It is obligatory for every Muslim child - aged seven years and above and until the age of 15 - who resides in Brunei Darussalam to be enrolled in pre-school and primary religious education.
This is part of the Compulsory Religious Education Order 2012 highlighted by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam during the recent Teacher's Day titah. The order comes into force beginning January 1, 2013.
The order also emphasises mandatory religious education for children born on or after January 1, 2006 and at least one of the parents is a Brunei citizen or permanent resident.
This was revealed yesterday by the Minister of Religious Affairs, Pengiran Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad bin Pengiran Hj Abdul Rahman to the media.
The interpretation of the order also means that the child must have fulfilled all the requirements to join pre-school and primary religious education. Religious education means an education in accordance with Ahli Sunnah Wal Jama'ah.
The order among others also underlines the obligatory responsibility of parents to register his/her child at a religious school on January 1 for the school term and to ensure that the child is registered in a religious school in that year and continues to be a student throughout the duration of the compulsory religious education.
Parents who fail to do so are deemed to commit an offence under Section 5 (2) and if found guilty would face a fine of not more than $5,000, an imprisonment not exceeding one year or both.
The religious education that a child has to attend in a religious school is for seven years. The child completes the education between seven and eight years.
His Majesty during the Teacher's Day titah announced that a special order will be enacted called Compulsory Religious Education Order 2012 that comes into force beginning January 1, 2013.
"We welcome the titah and the ministry is ready to implement His Majesty's call. It needs cooperation and full commitment from all parties in the country to uphold it for it to become successful.
"The order will be a milestone for the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam through the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Islamic Education Institute in realising religious education in this country," Pengiran Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad added.
The minister also said the order would certainly be in line with the country's philosophy - Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB).
"As a country that truly embraces Islamic teachings to seek blessings from Allah (the Almighty), the order sets a firm foundation for the present children and our future generation. This is in line with the Malay maxim 'Melentur buluh biarlah dari rebung nya' (which literally means 'Bend a bamboo when it is still a shoot').
"Hence if our children already know about the creator, whom we turn to in this world, by Allah the Almighty's Will, our children will grow up and become clean, strong and 'Tawadhu' Muslim.
"The impact would not only be felt by the family and the community but also the country as the nation would also be blessed with peace and prosperity by Allah the Almighty. This is because these individuals remember Allah the Almighty and carry out all good deeds and shun all the bad things. This is the impact that we are hoping for in the long-term through the implementation of the order.
"With such an order, by Allah the Almighty's Will, there Won't be an individual who wouldn't know how to pray, could not perform ablution, not good at self-cleanliness, unable to read al-Quran and Jawi, doesn't know about fasting and so on. Issues of children dropping out from religious education would not occur," said the minister.
This indicates the strong determination of His Majesty who is pious and follows Islamic teachings and has fulfilled the responsibility of making his subjects feel safe now and in the days of the hereafter.
Before the order is implemented in January, the Islamic Education Department under the Ministry of Religious Affairs has outlined plans to disseminate the order to the community through road shows.
During the media briefing, it was also highlighted that non-Muslim children would also be welcome to enroll for religious education.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin