PUTRAJAYA, Feb 15 — Tahfiz school students must strive for other qualifications in addition to memorising the Quran, said Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today.
The deputy prime minister said additional academic qualifications were vital to ensure that students from the religious schools will be able to pursue further studies once they graduate.
Zahid, who is also home minister, said the ability to memorise 30 chapters of the Quran were admirable, but added that tahfiz students could not rely on this alone.
“If they have memorised the Al-Quran, what is next?
“From our previous experience, we found that there were a lot of problems, because when they don’t have SPM, when they don’t have STAM, they can’t pursue their education,” he said in his speech.
SPM refers to Malaysian Certificate of Education while STAM refers to Malaysian Higher Religious Certificate.
Authorities were consequently proposing that tahfiz students expand to their studies so they have the foundation to become professionals in later life, he told a press conference here after handing out fire aid equipment to registered private tahfiz schools.
However, Zahid said the government was still committed to increasing the number of tahfiz experts.
Zahid said the government aimed to create more tahfiz graduates with professional qualifications, possibly making Malaysia a model for other countries in this area.
“The prime minister aspires that by 2050, 125,000 tahfiz graduates-professional tahfiz graduates will be created,” Zahid said, but added that he hoped this target would be met earlier.
He added that for a start, a new tahfiz school being constructed in his Bagan Datuk constituency in Perak would take 1,000 tahfiz grads annually and have them sit for the SPM and STAM.