Ironic That Hijab Is An Issue For Parents At Montessori School

I refer to the report “Employers should list dress code policies clearly, says TAFEP” (Feb 26). It points to a shocking social reality.

The notion that some parents might feel uncomfortable about women wearing the hijab handling their children is ironic. Parents pay top dollar to enrol their children in Montessori schools so that they, among other outcomes, are groomed with sound social skills. However, such a curriculum can evidently fail to impart tolerance, apparently because of parents themselves.

Preserving a tolerant society is not the sole responsibility of the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices, the Government, nor schools. We want various institutions to encourage tolerance towards issues that can potentially divide us, but as Dr Maria Montessori put it, “the child builds his inmost self out of the deeply held impressions he receives”. Home is where most of these impressions are unconsciously imitated then internalised.

We must realise it is imperative to prepare children to face uncomfortable circumstances, especially those at conflict with deeply rooted beliefs. Parents should strive to make every moment a “teachable moment”. That way, we nurture a generation that seeks the greater good in the face of adversity, instead of avoiding it.

As Dr Montessori said: “Preventing conflicts is the work of politics; establishing peace is the work of education.”


This opinion by Zakrie Abdul Manap, was published in Voices, Today, on 29 Feb 2016.


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