Walid J Abdullah a PhD candidate in political science in NUS-King’s College London joint degree programme and prominent commentator on Muslim-Malay issues has commented on the recent news that Madrasah (Islamic educational institution) students have done exceptionally well in the recently concluded GCE ‘O’ Level examinations.
Madrasah Aljunied Al-Islamiah student Nur Masyitah Borhan got A1 for all seven subjects in the examinations.
“I am honored and proud to be able to prove that madrasah students succeed in both streams – academic and religious,” said Nur Masyita in an interview to the media.
According to the principal of the Madrasah Aljunied Ustaz Mahmoud Mathlub Sidek, the results achieved by Nur Masyitah is the first time in the history of the school.
“In the history of the school, we’ve never had a student get A1 for all subjects taken and this is a good sign, as a symbol that the students of this school were given a boost when the well is capable of achieving excellence on a par with students in national schools,” he said.
Meanwhile, Murshidah Albakri, emerged as the best student from Madrasah Al-Maarif Al-Islamiah.
Calling the achievements of the Madrasah students a phenomenal feat, Walid said in his Facebook that unfortunately, he has met many people – even Muslims – who do not really know too much about the madrasahs, but somehow believe that madrasah students are somehow less able than students of national schools.
Calling such views “modern-day orientalism”, he said, “from my own limited experience, I believe madrasah students are just like students of other schools: on average all of them are just as smart. Then you have some hardworking ones, and some less-hardworking ones. Some are naturally more gifted, others, less so. There is nothing ‘special’ or ‘inferior’ about their abilities.”
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