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HBEF1103 Sociology and Philosophy in Malaysia-edit

HBEF1103 Sociology and Philosophy in Malaysia-edit

Faculty of Education and Languages


Sociology and Philosophy
of Education in Malaysia

Copyright © Open University Malaysia (OUM)


Azhar Wahid

Copyright © Open University Malaysia (OUM)

Project Directors: Prof Dato’ Dr Mansor Fadzil
Assoc Prof Dr Chung Han Tek
Module Writer: Open University Malaysia
Developed by: Azhar Wahid
Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris

Izatun Hanim Shari

Centre for Instructional Design and Technology
Open University Malaysia

First Edition (Translated Version), December 2009
Copyright © Open University Malaysia (OUM), October 2011, HBEF1103
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form or by any means
without the written permission of the President, Open University Malaysia (OUM).

Copyright © Open University Malaysia (OUM)

Table of Contents

Course Guide ix-xiv

Topic 1 Sociology School and Society 1
1.1 Definition of Sociology and Educational Sociology 2
1.1.1 Definition 4
1.1.2 Educational Sociology 6
1.1.3 Types of Sociology 7
1.2 Social Structure and Society 8
1.2.1 Social Structure 8
1.2.2 Society and School 9
1.2.3 Parent-Teacher Association 10
1.3 Process And Socialisation Agents 10
1.3.1 Family Influence 11
1.3.2 SchoolÊs Role 12
1.3.3 Peer 13
1.3.4 Mass Media 14
1.4 Involvement and Social Mobility 15
1.4.1 Types of Social Mobility 17
1.5 Education and National Integration 17
1.5.1 Ethnic Concept and Integration 18
1.5.2 Inculcating Ethnic Integration in School 18
1.5.3 School as Instrument of Unity 19
1.5.4 Vision School Implementation 20
1.5.5 Implementation of a Single Stream School 21
Summary 22
Key Terms
Topic 2 Philosophy and Educational Philosophy 24
2.1 Definition of Philosophy and Education Philosophy 24
2.2 Characteristics of Philosophy 25
2.3 Branches of Philosophy 28
2.4 Western Philosophy Doctrine 31
2.5 Western Philosophy Doctrine 32
2.5.1 National Educational Philosophy 36
Key Terms

Copyright © Open University Malaysia (OUM)


Topic 3 Educational Development in Malaysia 37
3.1 Educational Development During the British Colonial Era 38
3.1.1 Vernacularism Educational System 39
3.1.2 Malay Education 40
3.1.3 Chinese Education 40
3.1.4 Tamil Education 41
3.2 Educational Reports 41
3.2.1 The Barnes Report Of 1950 42
3.2.2 The 1951 Fenn-Wu Report 42
3.2.3 The 1952 Education Ordinance 43
3.2.4 The 1956 Razak Report 45
3.2.5 The 1960 Rahman Talib Report 46
3.2.6 1961 Education Act 46
3.2.7 The 1979 Cabinet Report 47
3.3 Teachers Educational Development 47
3.3.1 TeachersÊ Training 48
3.3.2 TeachersÊ Educational Model 48
3.4 The National Education Concepts 48
3.4.1 New Curriculum for Primary School (KBSR) 53
3.4.2 Integrated Curriculum for Secondary School (KBSM) 56
3.4.3 Smart School 58
3.5 The 1996 Education Act 61
Summary 61
Key Terms

Topic 4 Multi-Cultural Education and Models 62
4.1 Multi-Cultural Educational Dimension 63
4.2 Content-Oriented Programme 66
4.3 Student-Oriented Programme 67
4.4 Social-Oriented Programme 68
Summary 69
Key Terms 69

Topic 5 Importance of Multi-Cultural Education 70
5.1 Goals of Multi-Racial Education 71
5.2 Advantages of Multi-Cultural Education 75
Summary 77
Key Terms 78

Topic 6 Multi-Cultural Influence 79

6.1 Multi-Cultural Influence on Malaysian SocietyÊs Way of Life 80

6.2 Individual Roles in Respecting Multi-Cultural Society 82

Copyright © Open University Malaysia (OUM)


6.3 Roles and Responsibilities to Preserve Malaysian Cultural 84
Summary 85
Key Terms 86

Topic 7 Pedagogy Related to Multi-Cultural Education 87
7.1 Pedagogy in Multi-Cultural Education 89
7.2 What Should Be Taught 90
7.3 Pluralism in Pedagogy 91
7.4 Media Pedagogy (Carson & Friedman 1995) 94
7.5 Critical Pedagogy 96
7.6 How Teachers Manage Teaching Aids Effectively 99
7.7 Individual-Centred Pedagogy 100
7.8 Pedagogy in Classrooms 102
Summary 105
Key Terms 106

Topic 8 Implications of Multi-Cultural Education on 107
Teachers in Classrooms
8.1 Curriculum 109
8.2 Multi-Cultural Education Teaching Techniques, Methods, 113

Strategies and Approaches 113
8.2.1 Approaches 114
8.2.2 Strategies 115
8.2.3 Methods 129
8.3 Teaching Source 131
8.4 Psychology And Counselling 134
8.5 Assessment 136
Summary 137
Key Terms

Topic 9 Issues and Challenges 138
9.1 Curriculum 139
9.2 Developing Multi-Cultural Education Curriculum 145
Summary 153
Key Terms 154

Topic 10 Direction 155
10.1 Cultural Unity in Diversity 157
10.2 Equity and Equality in Education 162
Summary 167
Key Terms 168

Copyright © Open University Malaysia (OUM)


Copyright © Open University Malaysia (OUM)


Copyright © Open University Malaysia (OUM)

Copyright © Open University Malaysia (OUM)



You must read this Course Guide carefully from the beginning to the end. It tells
you briefly what the course is about and how you can work your way through
the course material. It also suggests the amount of time you may need to spend
in order to complete the course successfully. Please refer to this Course Guide
from time to time as you go through the course material as it will help to clarify
important study components or points that you might miss or overlook.


HBEF1103 Sociology and Philosophy of Education in Malaysia is one of the
courses offered by the Faculty of Education and Languages at Open University
Malaysia (OUM). This course is worth 3 credit hours and should be covered over
8 to 15 weeks.


This course is offered to all students taking the Bachelor of Education (Education
Administration) and Bachelor of Education (Teaching English as a Second
Language) programmes.

As an open and distance learner, you should be acquainted with learning
independently and being able to optimise the learning modes and environment
available to you. Before you begin this course, please confirm the course material,
the course requirements and how the course is conducted.


It is standard OUM practice that learners engage in 40 study hours for every
credit hour. As such, for a three-credit hour course, you are expected to engage in
120 study hours. Table 1 gives an estimation of how the 120 study hours could be

Copyright © Open University Malaysia (OUM)


Table 1: Estimation of Time Accumulation of Study Hours Study
Study Activities
Briefly go through the course content and participate in initial discussions 60
Study the module 10
Attend 3 to 5 tutorial sessions 12
Online Participation 15
Revision 20
Assignment(s), Test(s) and Examination(s) 120
Total Study Hours Accumulated


By the end of this course, you should be able to:
1. Relate sociology and education;
2. Explain educational philosophy;
3. Explain multi-cultural educational concept;
4. Apply multi-cultural pedagogical skills in teaching and learning activities

in the classroom; and
5. State the issues and implications of multi-cultural education in the

Malaysian context.


This course is divided into 10 topics. The synopsis for each topic can be listed as

Topic 1 defines sociology and educational sociology. It provides an explanation
about structure and the form of multi-racial society in Malaysia. It also relates
educational relationships and social mobility. We will cover education and
national integration as well as ethnic relations in school.

Topic 2 elaborates definition and meaning of philosophy and educational
philosophy. It identifies characteristics and divisions in the field of philosophy. It
also explains about principles that exist in the Western and Eastern philosophical
thinking. We will discuss analysis on educational concepts and educational

Copyright © Open University Malaysia (OUM)


philosophy. Apart from that, this topic explains the concept and policy of the
National Educational Philosophy.

Topic 3 explains about the history of educational development before and after
the British era. It describes the National Educational Reports that exist in the
countryÊs educational system since the early days of Independence. It also
explains teachersÊ educational development. Aside from that, we will look at
educational concepts; KBSR/KBSM, Smart School and the use of the Education
Act 1996.

Topic 4 introduces several multi-cultural educational dimensional concepts
along with suitable examples and their importance in general. We will touch on
characteristics that are required in multi-cultural educational dimensions and
programmes. The topic also highlights models, processes and basis of
consideration to prepare models and programmes that are holistic and

Topic 5 elaborates goals, advantages and disadvantages of multi-cultural
education, suitable examples and their importance in general. It also touches on
characteristics for each element in a multi-cultural education.

Topic 6 elaborates social and economic roles in influencing Malaysian multi-
racial societyÊs way of life. It explains at least two important environmental
factors that influence the Malaysian societyÊs way of life. It identifies ways to
instil universal positive values in education in Malaysia. This topic also describes
activities that can maintain Malaysian culture and heritage along with suitable

Topic 7 elaborates aspects that exist in pluralism in multi-cultural education
pedagogy. It explains the roles played by teachers in implementing teaching and
learning process effectively in a multi-cultural education.

Topic 8 explains the meaning of multi-cultural education. It elaborates the
implications of implementing multi-cultural education. This topic also analyses
the teaching methods suitable to be applied in multi-cultural education. Apart
from that, we will cover the types of assessments used in testing multi-cultural
education curriculum.

Topic 9 discusses issues and challenges in multi-cultural education. It elaborates
the mediaÊs role in building Malaysian societyÊs identity. We will discuss multi-
cultural education characteristics for the society and distinguish the difference
between multi-cultural education curriculum for teachers and that for the society.

Copyright © Open University Malaysia (OUM)


Topic 10 explains the direction to create a united society. It elaborates equity and
equality in the multi-cultural societyÊs life. In this topic, we will also review the
cultural assimilation process in Malaysia as well as the meaning of self-


Before you go through this module, it is important that you note the text
arrangement. Understanding the text arrangement will help you to organise your
study of this course in a more objective and effective way. Generally, the text
arrangement for each topic is as follows:

Learning Outcomes: This section refers to what you should achieve after you
have completely covered a topic. As you go through each topic, you should
frequently refer to these learning outcomes. By doing this, you can continuously
gauge your understanding of the topic.

Self-Check: This component of the module is inserted at strategic locations
throughout the module. It may be inserted after one sub-section or a few sub-
sections. It usually comes in the form of a question. When you come across this
component, try to reflect on what you have already learnt thus far. By attempting
to answer the question, you should be able to gauge how well you have
understood the sub-section(s). Most of the time, the answers to the questions can
be found directly from the module itself.

Activity: Like Self-Check, the Activity component is also placed at various
locations or junctures throughout the module. This component may require you
to solve questions, explore short case studies, or conduct an observation or
research. It may even require you to evaluate a given scenario. When you come
across an Activity, you should try to reflect on what you have gathered from the
module and apply it to real situations. You should, at the same time, engage
yourself in higher order thinking where you might be required to analyse,
synthesise and evaluate instead of only having to recall and define.

Summary: You will find this component at the end of each topic. This component
helps you to recap the whole topic. By going through the summary, you should
be able to gauge your knowledge retention level. Should you find points in the
summary that you do not fully understand, it would be a good idea for you to
revisit the details in the module.

Key Terms: This component can be found at the end of each topic. You should go
through this component to remind yourself of important terms or jargon used

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throughout the module. Should you find terms here that you are not able to
explain, you should look for the terms in the module.

References: The References section is where a list of relevant and useful
textbooks, journals, articles, electronic contents or sources can be found. The list
can appear in a few locations such as in the Course Guide (at the References
section), at the end of every topic or at the back of the module. You are
encouraged to read or refer to the suggested sources to obtain the additional
information needed and to enhance your overall understanding of the course.


No prior knowledge required.


Please refer to myINSPIRE.


Abd Rahim Abd Rashid. (2000). Wawasan & agenda pendidikan. Kuala Lumpur.
Utusan Publication Sdn. Bhd.

Abdullah Sani Yahaya. (2003). Perkembangan pendidikan di Malaysia. Bentong:
PTS Publication & Distributor Sdn. Bhd.

Abdul Rahman Aroff and Zakaria Kasa. (1994). Falsafah dan konsep pendidikan.
Kuala Lumpur: Fajar Bakti.

Abu Bakar Nordin and Ikhsan Othman, (2003). Falsafah pendidikan dan
kurikulum. Tanjong Malim: Quantum Books.

Abu Bakar Nordin. (1991). Kurikulum perspektif dan perlaksanaan. Kuala
Lumpur: Pustaka Antara.

Alex Inkeles. (1985). Apa itu sosiologi. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan

Amir Hasan Dawi. (2002). Penteorian sosiologi dan pendidikan. Tanjong Malim:
Quantum Books.

Copyright © Open University Malaysia (OUM)


Banks, J. A. (1994). An introduction to multi-cultural education. Boston: Allyn
and Bacon.

Gay, 1986 in Maurice Graft. (1996). Teacher education in plural societies. An
International Review. London: Falmer Press.

Ibrahim Saad. (1982). Isu pendidikan di Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa
dan Pustaka.

Jennifer Allen. (2004). Sociology of education. (3rd ed.). Thomson Learning

Maurice Graft. (1996). Teacher education in plural societies. An international
review. London: Falmer Press.


The TSDAS Digital Library has a wide range of print and online resources for the
use of its learners. This comprehensive digital library, which is accessible
through the OUM portal, provides access to more than 30 online databases
comprising e-journals, e-theses, e-books and more. Examples of databases
available are EBSCOhost, ProQuest, SpringerLink, Books24 7, InfoSci Books,
Emerald Management Plus and Ebrary Electronic Books. As an OUM learner,
you are encouraged to make full use of the resources available through this

Copyright © Open University Malaysia (OUM)

Topic XSociology School

1 and Society


By the end of this topic, you should be able to:
1. Define sociology and educational sociology;
2. Explain the structure and form of society;
3. Discuss sociological concepts and its agents;
4. Explain the relationship between education and social mobility; and
5. Explain how national integration is achieved through education.


Sociology is a scientific and systematic study on human beings and their social
interactions in the society from various angles. All sorts of social phenomenon
will occur through interaction. Sociology focuses on social life study in a modern

Generally, sociology is an in-depth study about social groups, emphasising their
identities and explaining various forms of how their behaviours are influenced.
A person can be influenced by whomever; whether that reason is well-known or

Since the main context of sociological study is the society, hence the scope is very
wide: from the lowest level of inter-relationship among people to the highest
level of social process, and ranges from the study of a family to the study of the
world. Simple examples are truancy in schools, marriage and health, while major

Copyright © Open University Malaysia (OUM)


issues are ethnic cleansing, war, industrialisation, urbanisation, and the political


1. Children who do not obtain nursery and preschool education do not
succeed in their adulthood. Discuss this statement.

2. In small groups, discuss reasons as to why it is necessary for
entrepreneurs to understand the requirements stated in the Child Care
Centre Act 1984 and the Education Act 1996.


Sociology refers to a modern field of knowledge. Simply said, we can relate
sociology with society. In the following section we will look at a few definitions
of sociology.

1.1.1 Sociology

Do you know what is sociology? What about educational sociology?

According to Giddens (1993), sociology is a study about the social life of humans,
groups and society. Sociology can provide humans with the understanding about
how social influences form their lives.

Another way to understand sociology is based on a sociological imagination that
was introduced by C. Wright Mills. Sociological imagination means realising the
relationship between individuals, experiences and societies. Mills regards
individual experience as „biography‰ and relationship patterns in the society as
history. Sociological imagination enables us to understand history and biography
as well as the relationship between the two fields in society (Mills, 1959:6).
Conceptually, biography is part of history. Sociological imagination identifies the
relationship between biography and history, whereby humans are influenced by
social factors (history). Social group is influenced by individuals who become its
members (biography). Therefore, sociological imagination will enable one to see
the position of oneself in the societyÊs scenario.

It can be said that sociology is a behavioural science. It attempts to elaborate
human behaviour in an era or in the past, as we experience ourselves or as we

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find in artifacts, monuments, laws or books. However, by this definition, history,
economy and literary criticism are also included in behavioural science. In these
instances, knowledge on sociological approach requires understanding of the
meaning of sociology.

A learned community do not refer to those who are knowledgeable in all aspects.
Any effort to distinguish sociology and other disciplines can only be done
arbitrarily. In addition, knowledge progresses and research flow transforms.
Definition of social science at certain times will be less accurate. Based on a
historical perspective, Joseph J Schwab (1960), a historical scientist and
philosopher reported that „a research method that is rejected by a scientist, left
behind at a certain time or set aside in certain sciences will re-emerge and
become useful in another research, or at a different time, or in another science.‰
However, research segments that involve humans and their efforts show a lot of
different characteristics. Hence, it differentiates one discipline from another.

There are three ways to outline sociological research fields:

• Historical approach - Through research on classical sociological writing. We
try to find the focus of tradition and sociological importance as an intellectual
discipline. Empirical approach - We study sociological works of the same
period to see the main issues that are emphasised by that discipline.

• Analytical approach - We divide and elaborate various main issues, which
are more significant and place them among different disciplines.

A historical approach has its own advantages. It provides us the opportunity to
gain benefit from past wisdom. It enables us to understand issues that we can
accept only when we understand their background. It is true; people may read
the same history but have different interpretations. Furthermore, the historical
approach may have blocked our minds because past traditions may be unsuitable
to face present or future problems.

The empirical approach is not so unclear. It requires various forms of
calculations. It is admitted that what is emphasised by sociologists from the same
period in their works may merely be old myths and only have loose relations
with important works of the past or that which promises unconvincing hopes for
the future. According to Pitirim Sorokin (1956), the main focus in present
sociology is not more than „exaggerating something small or glorifying
something wrong‰. According to Wright Mills (1959), present sociology shows
the fall of „sociological imagination‰.

The analytical approach is most appealing. This approach has been used for a
long time. It has been used since the father of sociology, Auguste Comte,
introduced it. However, total division on human study cannot be legally

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enforced. Scholars and scientists are driven by their interests. They are natural
intruders, who do not bother about ownership and the „Do Not Enter‰ sign.
Therefore, an arbitrary definition of the field of research, although often
aesthetically satisfactory, is generally a weak guide of what is actually
happening. It requires a major and concise plan. However, since there are no
effective rules to determine the research boundary, the structure of factual
research will not lead to success of the plan.

Sociology involves a lot of studies about humans. Sociology is a social science
that accepts overall human activities as it is research. This situation results in an
expansion of the sociological field. Hence, opportunities for other experts who
are interested to collaborate in the research are created. Sociological research
fields include:

• Economy, occupation and organisation;

• Social relationship, family and gender;

• Social identity: age, class, gender and race;

• Religion and belief;

• Organisation and its environment; and

• Human and health.

1.1.2 Educational Sociology

From the definition of sociology that you understand, what is the need for
educational sociology?

Education is a formal and informal transmission process of knowledge and skills.
It occurs from one generation to another or within the same generation. An
educational institution is a social structure that transmits such knowledge and
skills. Schooling specifically, is a formal teaching and learning process that occurs
in classrooms in schools. The word ÂschoolÊ originates from a Greek word, which
means „free time‰ or „recreational‰. Although education has taken place in the
form of the school system, schools have now became a special place to educate.

The society today has its own interpretation of education. One may try to acquire
the highest education to achieve his/her ambition. Their children are sent to
school with the hope that they will be able to pursue their tertiary education at a
university. When the children were young, they may have been introduced to
high status and high income occupations such as doctors, lawyers, lecturers and
engineers. Hence, the children will study hard to secure good jobs. However, the
reality is that not everybody can achieve similar education, not everyone goes to
the university and not everyone secures good jobs. Success or failure to enter the

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university, working as labourer or officer, or rich or poor possibly is a normal
occurrence among the people. All these reflect differences or inequalities.

Why does inequality occur in the society? Scholars and researchers, who are
involved in educational sociology, have been trying to answer this question.
They have conducted studies on the reason one party is more successful than
another and why educational inequality always happens. Sociology also debates
the role of society and individuals in determining success and failure in
education, which subsequently outlines educational policies. All related
questions are studied based on the perspective of educational sociological

The importance of educational sociology can be simplified as shown below:
• Study how education can be used to help individuals and societies;
• Study equalities and inequalities in education so that suitable policies will be

• Increasing mastery of concepts and skills of educationists to face students

with different backgrounds such as difference in gender, ethnicity and social
• Giving a clearer picture to all parties involved in the school organisation and
its environment;
• Helping teachers to understand cultures different from theirs, devoid from
prejudice, biases or ethnocentric beliefs. They can see students based on
various social backgrounds;
• Helping teachers not to be aloof in their behaviour and professionalism
because educational sociology exposes one to vast knowledge and enable
oneself to be tolerant in oneÊs interaction;
• To master the forms of student interactions in classrooms and subsequently,
helps in the teaching and learning process;
• Studying equality and inequality in education so that suitable policies can be
applied particularly in a complex society;
• Enabling educationists to have the skills to interpret research findings,
statistical data and maybe conduct research; and

Educationists involved in educational policy formulation will acquire knowledge
on the influence of social factors on education. Knowledge on attitude and
behaviour in community will help ensure a smooth implementation of social
change to society through schooling.

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Discuss the importance of sociology in education.

1.1.3 Types of Sociology

Sociology is a process to learn about roles, status and values that should exist in a
person in a social institution. Sociology is a learning process that is continuous
and lifelong. It begins with the transfer of norms, values in a family and culture
within a society to children.

Childhood is the period where what one learns will normally form opinions or
concepts within individuals. As one grows older, one will learn a lot of things as
a result of oneÊs interactions with others who are called sociological agents.

Sociology can transform an individualÊs early behaviour to adapt to the needs of
social life in the present society. New roles are continuously learnt from
childhood until the end of life. Therefore, sociology is not revolutionary in
nature. In fact, sociology plays an important function to ensure continuity of a
schoolÊs existence. All forms of sociology, whether accomplished from family or
other agents, involve the issue of integration into the society.

Based on various views of sociologists, Piaget, Freud, Durkheim, Mead, Lacey
and others, sociology is divided into several types:

(i) Primary Socialisation
• Socialisation at this level occurs during early childhood. In principle,
early sociology happens within the family. It is very crucial for the
later stage of development. It is a process whereby children learn to
become social adults.
• At this stage, children form self-concepts and personalities, and
acquire motor skills, extractions and language skills. They are exposed
to social environment comprising elements of roles, values and
norms. They will acquire such skills from the people around them
particularly their parents.
• Initially, they will conform to roles, values and norms aspired by
parents, families and nearby community.
• This level is also very important. If unsuccessful, children will face
difficulties at the next level.

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(ii) Secondary Socialisation

• Secondary socialisation is a stimulus sociological process into groups
outside the family by other sociological agents such as peers, mass
media, and schools.

• Besides parents, peers can influence an individual based on certain
aspects such as age, gender, social class and race. The same goes with
mass media which often comprise materials that are heard of, read
and seen. As children grow, they will continue to learn something
new and may replace the old ones.

• Secondary socialisation can take place in many places and
circumstances. When one faces something new at a new place, one
must adapt oneself to suit the social group.

• At this stage, one can choose a role that suits oneself. It is undeniable
that what is learnt in the earlier stage will influence this secondary

(iii) Resocialisation

• Resocialisation is a process where one drastically or radically
transforms or transfers self-concept and existing life to a new and
different. Such changes normally occur under pressure or forced
circumstances. For instance, when one experiences misfortune,
retrenchment, or sudden disability.

• Resocialisation can also be caused by changes that are required by the
society. For example, a drug addict who is placed at a rehabilitation

• Other possibilities of resocialisation are due to the drastic changes to
society. For example, the eruption of war, revolution, recession or
change in political system such as what happened in Russia, China
and Iraq.


All social classes, levels and clusters as well as the system to manage
relationships among them will eventually form a social structure. In his social
structure analysis, Marxism made a distinction between fundamental and non-
fundamental classes. Fundamental classes are those that are created from
production patterns that occur, whereby such classes will never be found under
other production patterns.

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1.2.1 Social Structure

Generally, there are five basic social structures in the society, which
simultaneously form a huge circle determining socialisation. These five basic
structures are as follows:
• First, family, in which the main functions are to raise children and act as a

support for the children to rely on.
• Second, religion as a life principle that can bring meaning to unthinkable

• Third, education, which creates the new generation.
• Fourth, economy, which produces and distributes products.
• Fifth, a responsible government to govern and protect the country.

Although each structure can be analysed independently, in reality they are
dependent on one another. Social institutions are important to ensure that the
socialisation process occurs and such institutions are called socialisation agents.
Among the socialisation agents that have been identified are family, school, peer,
mass media, workplace, clubs, and associations and so on.

1.2.2 Society and School

Society in general is a group of humans who live in an area. Every member of the
society has a relationship system with one other. They have certain similar
characteristics and exist in the same political administrative system. There are
societies with a large number of members, while others have a smaller number .

A society has a lot of communities. The school itself is a community that is part of
a larger community. A school environment is usually surrounded by other
communities such as traditional, new, and small villages as well as estate

A school is a community with its own characteristics. Similarly, every
community around the school has its own characteristics. There are similarities
and differences such as traditional values, ethnicities, social classes, and types of
occupation, household, location, beliefs and political differences.

The relationships between the school and communities in the vicinity are varied.
For rural schools, the relationship between the village community and school is
traditionally close. Villagers are usually prepared to cooperate with schools in
ensuring the success of various activities such as „gotong-royong‰ to clean the
school compound, attending meetings and sports activities. Meanwhile, in some

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urban areas, the local communities do not have close relationships with schools.
Such phenomenon is expected because of the diversity of the communitiesÊ
characteristics and ever changing nature of the communities.

The relationship between schools and their surrounding communities should be
developed. School leaders can make it a success. Principals should not isolate
schools from the community. The community can actually contribute
tremendously to the school by assisting in terms of financial matters, and
obtaining adequate equipment and infrastructure. For example, the community
can help in activities such as tuition, and rehabilitation classes. Apart from that,
community leaders can help in solving squabbles that occur among members of
the school and external community. More importantly is how school leaders
make the effort to gain support from the surrounding communities.

1.2.3 Parent-Teacher Association

Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) is formed in every school. It is represented by
teachers, parents and guardians whose children are schooling in the school.
Normally, schools collect fees from guardians as a source of income to run the
association. PTA annual general meeting is held once a year to select its
committee members. The PTA chairman is usually appointed from among
parents. The principal will act as an advisor and a teacher as a secretary.

Responses towards the associationÊs activities differ from one school to another.
The issue that usually arises is that the PTA is not proactive in ensuring success
in the school activities even though it can make tremendous contributions
towards the schoolÊs success. Among these activities are helping solve the
problem of studentsÊ misconduct, participating in charity work and looking for
sources of income for the school.

The PTA should have a team of committee members who are willing and
interested to ensure the success of school programmes. An Innovative PTA
leadership can plan various strategies to ensure the schoolÊs success. The PTA
should not only involve those who have children in the school but also involve
other communities in assisting with the programmes. There are many members
of the communities who are childless or those with children who have left school,
as well as singles who are interested in community-related activities. Thus, it is
up to PTA leaders to play their respective roles and functions according to their
positions in the association.

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What is the role of a PTA in education? Discuss in class.


Socialisation agents are people or groups who influence self-concept, emotion,
attitude and behaviour. Among the influential socialisation agents are family,
school, peer, mass media, religious institution and work place. Family is the most
important agent and is responsible in determining oneÊs behaviour towards oneÊs
religious belief and career. Meanwhile, schools are responsible as an agent to
instil societal values and certain skills. Peers help form societal values.

1.3.1 Family Influence

Parents should plan and implement carefully when taking steps to instil and
form relationships within the family. A harmonious and close-knit family
encourages healthy personal development, while an unsuccessful family and
problematic parents can create an unsuitable home environment that poses a
threat to the childrenÊs personal development socially and emotionally. ParentsÊ
behaviour typically will have an impact on children.

Parents also carry out basic functions to strengthen the family such as providing
necessities in hereditary production, allowing adult family members to get
married, socialisation and inculcating social culture and values. Other functions
include fulfilling family economic needs collectively, providing and emphasising
emotional security of family members and bearing the responsibility to provide
education for their children. In other words, parentsÊ roles and behaviours are to
build a happy family in all aspects of life.

Parents who practise a democratic life can help their children in making
decisions. This can help increase the concept of independence within children.
Love, treatment, education and attention that are given by parents can help in the
positive development of the childrenÊs personality. On the contrary, parents who
are stern and autocratic lead to children being rebellious, aloof, envious and
pessimistic. This situation leads to resentment in children and they may do
something beyond expectations.

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Parents in the working class and the lower middle class emphasise more on
indulgence and want their children to be neat, clean, obedient, decent and fulfil
the wishes of the adults. However, they focus on actions, obvious behaviours,
and penalise children such as immediate penalty following certain actions.

For the middle class, parents emphasise on ideas, self-instructions and
achievements. They want their children to be happy, inquisitive, willing to share,
work together and learn, caring and have self-control. In handling children, they
are more interested in self-instructions and will impose a punishment or fine
after realising the mistakes that their children have committed.

1.3.2 School’s Role

The school is an institution that allows formal socialisation. It has an
administrative body to monitor learning process. Principals or headmasters,
disciplinary teachers and others have the authority to develop and manage
school activities.

The leaders and school environment influence the childrenÊs personality
development process. School principals or headmasters who are firm will
produce students and teachers who are disciplined in carrying out their duties.
Those who are not firm will result in students becoming passive, not innovative
and not brave to make any changes. This would hamper or interrupt the
studentsÊ leadership development process.

In school, teachers are the closest people to students. Teachers are responsible
when something happens in class when they are teaching. A conducive learning
environment are created by teachers who are fair, unbiased and do not easily
reprimand students without reason. Teachers who are caring will shape students
to have a good personality and become emotionally stable. Students will also feel
loved and teachers will be respected.

Students will become resentful, angry and disrespectful if their teachers are
unfair, biased, act whichever way they want and are emotional with the students.
This can result in students with bad personalities.

TeachersÊ role within and outside the classroom is important especially when
they interact and communicate with students. Keith (1979) stressed that teachers
are influential socialisation agents. Children go through the process of growing
up, learning and gaining experience in school beginning from seven until 17
years old. This is a long time for one to form and choose oneÊs own direction.

The school surrounding and infrastructure also play an important role in
encouraging the process of positive or negative behavioural development of a

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student. A good school environment can help the process of forming good
personalities, while a clean environment can make students and teachers feel
comfortable and calm.

1.3.3 Peer

A peer is someone who becomes an important agent to each student. In school, it
is normal for students to belong to individual groups or organisations. This
happens as a result of the students being more comfortable relating and sharing
their problems with their own peers. Peers are those who understand most as
compared to teachers and family. Hence, peers can indirectly influence the
process of forming an individualÊs personality.

A student cultural pattern group is divided into four (Clark, 1969), namely,
entertainment sub-cultures, academic sub-cultures, groups comprising
delinquents and groups consisting those who are not aligned to anybody:

Entertainment sub-culture: Emphasises looks, outings, and sports without
appreciating academic values. They prefer amusement and do not care about
their studies.

Academic sub-culture: Activities are academic-oriented. They form groups
comprising students who are interested to excel in their studies. They prefer to be
together and discuss matters relating to their studies. This group will produce
high achievers and has the potential to progress and become the thrust to
develop the nation.

Delinquents: Students who are rebellious, oppose the school through negative
behaviour and play truant. They are happy to be called the „school gangsters‰.
They are always involved in activities such as smoking, bullying and threatening
other students who are out of their group. When they are involved in such
activities, they are proud and satisfied because they feel that they have elevated
to become „brave and great‰ people.

Groups who are not aligned to anybody: They prefer to isolate themselves and
do not care about their surroundings. These students do not fancy group
environment. They prefer to be loners, and do things they like without any
objections from others.

Children can be influenced by their peers in three main ways (Glidewell, 1966):
(a) Children may be influenced when they want to be accepted or liked by

their peers. As they want to be part of a group, they are willing to adapt

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and follow the style and behaviour of the group members. They possess
certain personalities according to their groups.
(b) Leadership and capability of their peers to influence them. This happens
when one is looking for a guide through observation. They tend to emulate
their peers and idolise them. They also become more independent in order
to become like their idols.
(c) They want to prove their capabilities so that they will be recognised and
appreciated by their peers. They try to display their talent through the
abilities that they possess,.

1.3.4 Mass Media

• Mass media is an agent to link and disseminate important information. Good
mass media plays a vital role to develop a healthy personality. Students are
exposed to religious, educational and info science programmes as a way
encourage their mental development by acquiring knowledge.

• Television programmes allow students to have a clear view while audio
programmes can help enhance their memory and attract their interest on
certain subjects. Information through the radio may not be widespread, but it
can also help in the process of developing studentsÊ intelligence.

• Singing and musical programmes have proven to be effective and radio does
play an important role in this area because students have responded
positively to these entertainment programmes. On the other hand, students
who are exposed to video presentations and films depicting violence, fights
and cruel acts, are inclined to act aggressively.

• Mass media such as television, movie, video, CD, DVD, magazine and so on
can influence the way children think, behave as well as their attitudes and
skills. Parents and teachers face challenges from the mass media, and should
be ready in their efforts to motivate and create interest among students
toward lessons incorporating these media in school.


Discuss the role of mass media in forming studentsÊ personality in class.

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Social mobility is the change of position in an organisationÊs system of hierarchy;
increase or decrease in income or wealth or both; rise or fall in power; and
increase or decline in prestige.

Someone who moves from one job to another, but falls under the same prestige
or income level is categorised under horizontal mobility. This type of mobility
does not get much attention from sociologists. The transition from one class to
another, either upward or downward, in any level of hierarchy is called vertical

The rate of social mobility can be measured either in terms of oneÊs age or as
more generally done, between father and sonÊs generation. Despite the lack of
analysed systematically data, sociologists have long perceived certain
communities, such as Indians as having an organisational level system that is
closed, whereby upward mobility seldom occur and most sons spend their life in
the similar strata as their father. The opposite organisational system of open class
system, such as that in the United States of America, has long considered as
having the highest level of upward mobility.

The various national type schools in Malaysia will continue to form various types
of social mobility. Although it has been over 50 years of MalaysiaÊs Independence
and the country is fast developing, however, racial identification according to
work sector has still not changed much. Malaysian society has a gap that is
relatively wide whereby every race adopts a socio-economic approach based on
past generations, such as Malays were associated with agriculture, Indians with
plantation and Chinese with business. Although various measures have been
made, the countryÊs wealth is still imbalanced. This indirectly will divide racial
groups from one generation to the next.

Division in the educational system results in students continuing with the strong
spirit of their respective races. Similarly, understanding and mingling among
races are also limited among students. This limitation is not only in school but
also within the local communities. This situation leads to great differences in the
creation of oneÊs identity.

The Government has come up initiatives in the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) by
strengthening the national school so that it will be a school of choice for various
races, apart from introducing a vision school. However, until now horizontal
mobility is seen as a more common occurrence. The hope of seeing
understanding among races through the same occupational sector has not
achieved great success. The sense of belonging in the Malaysian society that is

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harmonious and united will be achieved if an educational system that
incorporates the three streams into one stream can be achieved.

The process of change in socio-economic position is known as social mobility. An
open class system means the position of each individual is influenced by the
status that is attained, and competition among group members is encouraged. In
a closed system the position of an individual is not flexible, having less
possibility for change in position, for instance due to slavery and the caste

Economic growth and change has an impact on social mobility. The question is;
are there improvements or a decline? For instance, in the 1990s, fast technological
development resulted in entrepreneurs in information and communication
technology becoming rich, but the change also led to many people losing jobs.
Although progress in information, communication and technology (ICT) is
needed in this era, ICT development can also result in the society living in
anxiety. Bank mergers and use of automated teller machines are a clear example
of how a large number of staff can be made redundant in the
banking sector.

Economic growth and development is related to horizontal social mobility,
whether upward or downward. Mobility depends on various factors, regardless
if it is upward or downward mobility. In a societal system, there exist different
social classes, namely higher social class and lower social class. There exist
bureaucrats, capitalists and socialists who have the power over others in various
fields, whether in the government or private sector.

When the lower class is not involved in economic growth, an economic crisis will
occur because change will not easily happen if the higher class monopolises the
economy. Higher-class society have numerous advantages; power to make
decisions and money for their childrenÊs education. On the other hand, since the
middle and lower class societies do not have political power and as much money
as the higher-class society, they will be lagging in the community. Therefore,
educational equality plays a role in solving inequality problems in the society.

1.4.1 Types of Social Mobility

Social mobility is divided into two categories, which are horizontal mobility and
vertical mobility. Horizontal mobility is oneÊs movement from one social position
to another within the same status. Meanwhile, vertical mobility emphasises oneÊs
movement from one social position to another.

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• Horizontal Social Mobility
Refers to individual movement of individuals or other social objects from one
social group to another, which is of the same status. There will be no changes
in the status of a person in the social mobility. For example, Parwan, an
Indonesian changed his citizenship to a Malaysian citizenship. In this case,
ParwanÊs social mobility is known as horizontal social mobility because the
social transition by Parwan does not change his social status.

• Vertical Social Mobility
Refers to a transition of individuals or other social objects from one social
position to another, which is not of the same level. Vertical social mobility is
divided into two, namely upward vertical social mobility (social climbing) and
downward vertical social mobility (social sinking). Table 1.1 describes both
types of vertical social mobility:

Table 1.1: Upward and Downward Vertical Social Mobility

Upward Vertical Social There are two main types:
Mobility (Social Climbing)
(a) Entering higher position: Entrance of individuals
from lower position into higher position, where
such position is already in existence.

(b) Forming new group: Formation of a new group
makes it possible for individuals to upgrade their
social status, such as promoting themselves to
become the head of organisations.

Downward Vertical Social There are two main types:
Mobility (Social Sinking)
(a) Mobility among generations: Two generational
mobility, such as parentsÊ generation, childrenÊs
generation, grandchildrenÊs generation and so on.
This mobility is reflected by a life style
development, improvement or decline within a
generation. The emphasis is not on the
development of the generation itself but to the
transition of social status from one generation to

(b) Intergeneration mobility: Mobility that occurs
within the same group of generation.

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Let us now look at how national integration is possible through education

1.5.1 Ethnic Concept and Integration

Ethnic or „ethnos‰ in Greek means a group of humans or race. It refers to oneÊs
self-introduction in groups that have similar ancestral background. They have
similar ancestors from history, country of origin, language, tradition, culture, as
well as structure and value system. According to the dictionary, ethnic refers to a
certain race or plural society that has groups which live differently but come
under the same political system.

There are varying views regarding the integration concept by Sufian Hussein,
„integration means uniting ethnics or groups that are originally separated to
another individual form.‰ Khalid Yaakob opines that integration is a process to
unite through socially and culturally different social groups to a unit that has a
general and individual identity. Meanwhile, Mohd Salleh Jaafar believes that
integration that is accepted or generally desired by people is a process to unite a
plural society or various races and create a form of a national culture among

Before independence the education system in our country also indirectly affected
racial integration. Prior to the independence, the British separated the three main
races in Malaya according to their occupation, for instance the Chinese in the
cities, Malays in villages and Indians in plantations. This system is still in
practiced in Malaysia. Today we can still see Malay schools in the villages,
Chinese schools in the cities and Tamil schools in plantation areas.

Various policies have been implemented since the independence until today to
create integration among races or ethnics in Malaysia. Although the
improvement can be seen in the relationship among the races today, a lot more
needs to be done to enhance the integration process. Challenges and problems
that arise indicate that the integration process among races at the school level
should be updated and strengthened. There should be more concrete and
conducive policies and plans to achieve the objective of racial integration in

Today, it cannot be denied that through the two existing streaming systems in
school, integration among races in school has achieved a lot of progress.
However, a lot more needs to be done to strengthen the racial integration process
in schools. The integration process that presently takes place sometimes face

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various problems. If not addressed, it can delay the integration process. Hence,
various plans and policies must be considered and studied to make schools as the
best centre for racial or ethnic integration.

1.5.2 Inculcating Ethnic Integration in School

The implementation of the National Education Policy in Malaysia is aimed at
creating unity among ethnics in school. Through the National Education Policy,
the same textbook, curriculum, examination, teachersÊ training system, school
uniform, and language medium are used. In Moral and Religious Education for
instance, this approach has been adopted to ensure that students understand the
importance of moral, social, religion and belief in God as well as becoming good
citizens. Students also often mingle with other ethnics more closely during co-
curricular activities, external work and also during lessons in class. Such
activities make it easier for teachers to inculcate the spirit of cooperation among
ethnics and understanding among one another.

Even though the National Education Policy has not been able to achieve the
highest level of ethnic integration, some of its strategic policies and actions have
been implemented successfully. For example, the policy of using Bahasa
Malaysia as the main medium in the national education system at least has
created a generation from various ethnicities communicating using the same

Beginning from the Third Malaysian Plan (3MP), the main emphasis was on the
integration process using Bahasa Malaysia as the main medium, identity
formation, more equitable division of the countryÊs resources and standardising
the education system in Sabah and Sarawak. At the end of 1960s, there was a
fairly effective national integration programme.

Amendments to the National Education Policy aimed at overcoming and
replacing weaknesses in the existing curriculum by adding more elements that
inculcated integration among ethnics. This is because the National Education
Policy is the thrust for the schooling system in the country. Policies that are
unsuitable to the present needs should be replaced to ensure that integration at a
school level can be well implemented.

1.5.3 School as Instrument of Unity

Some people are of the opinion that the existing schooling system that separates
students according to language medium and ethnic group differences may not
play an effective role in instilling unity and understanding among students.

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Efforts should be made to overcome any form of gap and division that is
deliberately created.

A single schooling system should be introduced, using Bahasa Malaysia as the
language medium to create a new generation with a Malaysian identity. Apart
from that, the rights of other ethnic groups to learn their respective languages
and cultures should be respected and given necessary protection. This change
should be done fairly and equally. The change should also be based on the
awareness that the welfare and importance of the future of the countryÊs younger
generation is above other interests.

Schools should also expose students to universal values such as feelings of love,
respect, helpfulness, politeness, peace loving, against cruelty and war, honesty
and responsibility. Through co-curriculum, students of all ethnics should be
encouraged to mingle and get involved in various joint-activities. Thus, schools
can produce Malaysians who are united and patriotic despite ethnic differences.

1.5.4 Vision School Implementation

The Vision School implementation is one of the methods to instil racial
integration in Malaysia. Vision Schools are primary schools with the concept of
learning together in the same area irrespective of race and religion. Through this
concept, two or three primary schools will have buildings that are linked to one
another. The goal of establishing this concept is to create unity or integration
among students of different ethnics and religions. It is also aimed at creating
tolerance, a high level of understanding as well as encouraging maximum
interaction among students through sharing of school facilities and
implementation of activities.

Vision School does not change the original learning system because every school
has its own name and the administration and financial management are
managed by the respective schools. Vision School enables students of different
ethnics to share facilities together such as the canteen, assembly area, as well as
court and field to play games. Apart from that, a coordinating committee
comprising of the teachers representing each school, will be formed to manage
matters such as organisation, cleanliness, liveliness and security. The Vision
School concept aims to strengthen ties among students of various races although
they are from schools of different streams.

Despite 49 years of independence, there still exist schools that are ethnic-based,
such as Chinese and Tamil schools. Therefore, a Vision School can be established
as a meeting of ethnics in the same space. Integration of schools based on ethnic
in the same area can ensure that students of various ethnics can meet often and
this can create faster ethnic integration.

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Malaysia, as a fast developing nation has gone through various changes in all
aspects of the countryÊs needs, particularly in the field of politics, economy and
social. However, Malaysian integrity in maintaining the concept of ethnic
pluralism, if not balanced properly will create racial misunderstandings. The
Vision School concept that is practised now is an effort to produce Malaysians
who love the country. If the framework of the school concept previously
separates one from the other, it is now integrated in an education system that is
streamlined and in line with the countryÊs goal.

1.5.5 Implementation of a Single Stream School

A single stream school is an alternative to instil ethnic integration. The single
stream school is a system that uses one language medium in school. In the
Malaysian context, the language medium is Bahasa Malaysia. Currently, there
are three stream schooling systems, national schools with Bahasa Malaysia
language medium, national-type Chinese schools with Chinese language
medium and national-type Tamil schools with Tamil language medium. The
problem that arises is a lack of interaction among the races that use these various
systems. This situation leads to a slow implementation of theh ethnic integration
process at school level.

Through a single stream system, the issue of abolishment of a particular ethnic
mother tongue will not arise. Ethnic languages such as Chinese and Tamil should
be a compulsory subject for students from that particular ethnic (Chinese, Indian)
and an elective subject for Malay students or those from other ethnics who are
interested in learning another language. This type of school system will not only
encourage a widespread mingling among students but also create understanding
about other ethnics or races.

If implemented, the problem of the slow process of ethnic integration at the
primary level can be resolved naturally through student interactions and they
will be able to understand one another. Otherwise, we can see that the division in
primary schools has instilled racism at an early stage. This phenomenon will
spread to the secondary school level and consequently at higher learning

Therefore, racism can be eliminated at the primary school level through a single
stream school. Interaction among various ethnics can result in students getting to
know one another and encourage tolerance when faced with any problem. This
matter should be given immediate attention to create a strong integration process
among the various ethnics for future peace and harmony in the country.

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1. Explain the factors that cause the occurrence of inequality in the

plural society in Malaysia.
2. State the involvement of socialisation agents in instilling societal



1. How can education create racial integration in Malaysia? Discuss.
2. Discuss factors that lead to social mobility in Malaysia.

• Sociology is a research discipline about interaction that occurs among social
groups, external relationship among individuals, and also one that explains
how a group can affect the behaviour of someone or the group.

• Various definitions have been continuously elaborated by renowned
sociologists in the past until now.

• Researchers continue to study and emphasise on relationship and
behaviour among humans and groups or group of people. Hence, the field
of sociology should be given emphasis and extended to the Malaysian
society, particularly at the higher learning institutions.

• As for educational sociology, emphasis should be on education that has
been implemented in the past until current.

• Educational sociology studies how education that has been implemented
can affect students to become successful or otherwise.

• There are studies that state studentsÊ success are influenced by their life
hierarchy; rich families can afford to ensure their childrenÊs success by
providing and giving everything that is necessary for their children.

• Schools must provide a comfortable classroom and productive teachers to
ensure studentsÊ success.

• Sociology and educational sociology is something that is closely related to
the life of a society.

• Detailed understanding is very important to ensure that we are more
prepared in facing the society so as to develop the country.

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Bias Phenomenon
Identity Programme

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Topic XPhilosophy and

2 Educational


By the end of this topic, you should be able to:
1. Define philosophy and education philosophy;
2. Identify characteristics and branches in philosophy;
3. Explain western and eastern thinking philosophical principles;
4. Analyse the educational concepts in education philosophy; and
5. Explain the National Education Philosophy policy.


The field of philosophy is not only regarded as theoretical in nature, but it is also
something that is abstract and difficult to practise. However, the field is very
helpful and useful in human life.

Educational activities and philosophy are closely related. Education can be
considered as the dynamic part of philosophy. Education is an aspect of
philosophical beliefs, a practical way to achieve and state life goals. Education
depends on philosophy as the basis of its theory and philosophy depends on
education to plan practical and active practices.

Educational philosophy is a practical matter and closely related to educational
matters. It encompasses a belief system, general principle and stance that discuss
various matters concerning education and learning that should be carried out in
school or in classrooms.

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The word philosophy originates from the Greek word, „philosophia‰ which
means wanting to know in-depth or deep liking or loving. Philosophy is wisdom
or the blessing of using the mind to know the actual truth. In Arabic, the word
philosophy is equivalent to „blessing‰. According to the Dewan dan Pustaka
dictionary, philosophy means knowledge about definition that is regarded as the
highest knowledge or as a basis of other knowledge.

Renowned classic philosophical scholars such as Heracleitos, Socrates, Plato,
Aristotle and others have their own definition and explanation about philosophy.
Heracleitos (540 and 480 BC) defines philosophy as love for wisdom. According to
Plato (427 and 347 BC), philosophy is no different from knowledge about everything
that exists. Aristotle (427 and 347 BC) provides the definition of philosophy as efforts
to research the causes and basis to everything. According to Cicero (106 and 43 BC),
philosophy is knowledge about something that is divine and efforts to achieve it.
John Dewey (1859-1952) states that philosophy is the direction of the whole
education process (Abu Bakar Nordin, Ikhsan Othman 2003:1).

Conceptually, philosophy is defined as an effort to find truth or confidence
relating to a certain matter by using mental strength and brains. Apart from that,
philosophy can also be defined as consideration on certain matters based on the
truth to provide an explanation about something.


Humans have a special characteristic known as conscience or self-awareness or
self-reflection, a thinking life system, intelligence and aware of moral values.
Through self-reflection, humans not only know that they not only experience
happiness but also experience happiness and difficulties.

Philosophy is considered as helping humans to explain things that are fuzzy in
experience and research. Philosophy helps humans think critically and logically
with the basic thinking for all human activities, particularly in the fields of
science, arts, religion and education. This definition of philosophy can be
understood as an effort to provide an explanation and a view that is
comprehensive about humans and their life, as well as their relationship with the

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Philosophy is also an activity to define and evaluate overall human experience
comprehensively. Philosophy involves activities to evaluate certain facts, by
analysing their meanings, making interpretations, placing importance and
considering such facts for life purposes. In philosophy, there are also activities to
identify things that relate to concepts to search for truth. Apart from that,
philosophy attempts to form abilities to resolve abstract problems, intelligent
questions and formulate rational answers.

Philosophy helps humans analyse certain concepts, such as motivation and
interest, to obtain real meaning suitable to certain situations. Philosophical
activities are more towards activities that are related to abstract matters because
philosophy is an approach to find matters that are related to concepts in
determining truth.


In this section we are going to look at four important branches of philosophy:

• Metaphysics;

• Epistemology;

• Axiology; and

• Logic.

(a) Metaphysics

• Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy that studies „The Nature of
Reality‰ or absolute situations. It focuses on mental exploration in
search of attributes of true existence, which consequently leads to the
essence and greatness of God.

• Generally, metaphysics involves belief in God and existence of the
universe. Knowledge is crucial for students so that they know and
realise about the existence of the wide and complex universe. Therefore,
they can be closer to God as their Creator.

• Metaphysics development occurs in stages. Thinkers in the past
contributed a lot in efforts to develop metaphysical knowledge. It
change to become a branch of philosophy when researched more
thoroughly based on evidence that can be explained in detail according
to Western scholars.

• The branch of metaphysical knowledge can be divided into three:
reality, truth and existence. It is also based on real and objective
phenomenon to search for cause and effect. The emphasis is on logical,

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systematic and scientific thinking. However, generally metaphysics
involves belief in God and existence of the universe. On our part, we
can know and realise the existence of a wide and complex universe, and
subsequently we can come closer to our great Creator.

• In metaphysical education, the purpose of education for this discipline
must be in training students to think rationally and independently
because the function of human intelligence is to resolve problems and
provide guidance to individuals on how to behave so that they can fulfil
their needs and aspirations.

• Curriculum planners in education must choose subjects that can train
minds to do activities such as reading, writing and calculating.
Curriculum must also include humanism, arts, science and mathematics.
Science and mathematics will result in humans understanding genuine
arts that can enrich their soul.

(b) Epistemology

• Epistemology is also known as knowledge theory and is based on truth.
The questions that are brought up includes attributes as well as mental
and cognitive processes, and methodology to confirm an idea to
generate knowledge.

• Plato introduced questions or basic problems about epistemology such
as „What is knowledge?‰ and „Where does knowledge generally
meet?‰ He also introduced the question of „What is reality?‰

• The focus of an epistemology study is on human knowledge; the study
of differences between determinations and possibilities for knowledge;
and differences between knowing and believing. Epistemology
discipline is very wide as far as involving the animal world. Based on
analysis by epistemologists, it was found that animals have similar
characteristics to the human behaviour in various matters. Animals are
said to have the power to think and imagine. However, the power that
exists in animals is very limited as compared to that in human beings.

• Epistemology is related to the disciplines of metaphysics, psychology,
thinking and logic. It also is related to other studies such as moral,
sociology and religious philosophy.

• Epistemology emphasises on characteristics and limitations of human
knowledge because human faculty is limited by nature. This branch of
discipline also discusses the origin of sources of knowledge, knowledge
culture, human knowledge limitations and so on.

• The two important components in education, is knowledge acquisition
and transmission. We also should think of how far the knowledge can
be acquired by humans and how far it can be presented to others.

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(c) Axiology
• The word axiology originates from a Greek word „exios‰ which means
qualified or fast and „logos‰ which means the study on it. Axiology is a
branch of philosophy that focuses on the question of value and value
• Most scholars say that axiology can be divided into two: ethics and
aesthetics. Ethics originates from the Greek word „ethos‰ which means
characteristics, roles, or habits or commonplace. Ethics focuses on
issues and questions on moral values and rules of correct human
• This value theory is very important in educational practice as how
important knowledge theory is for real teaching in the classroom.
Therefore, no matter how extensive oneÊs knowledge is, he still cannot
practise his knowledge to distinguish between right and wrong in his
language, belief or act.
• Axiology is very important in education. Most academicians are of the
view that effective education for students is more important than
cognitive education merely in terms of moral formation.
• Every individual is given education so that he can make good
assessments in his life. Parents will assess their children and their
children will do the same to their parents. Teachers meanwhile, will
assess their students and their students will do the same thing to their
teachers. Society will assess learning courses and planned activities that
are implemented in school, while teachers will evaluate the society.

(d) Logic
• Logic is a deductive reasoning theory or a branch of philosophy that is
related to reasoning the truth. Logic is also the consideration on matters
that form real reasoning, distinguish inaccurate or irrational reasoning,
and subsequently give the real reasons to certain occurrences by stating
the explanations that can be accepted by all and not biased to all parties.
If prejudice arises in the society, the matter should be identified and
examined, and consequently try to reach reasonable explanations
accepted by all in the society. Logic is also something which is free of
any suspicion and can bring about goodness in general.

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• Logic is divided into two: inductive logic and deductive logic. Inductive
logic begins from matters or incidents that are specific to general.
Deductive logic draws generalisations or general conclusions from the
matters or applications that are specific.

• Logic knowledge is important in education. In the teaching and
learning process, the basis of strong thinking is very important.
Learning can only be done effectively and well when an individual
thinks critically, rationally, independently and can resolve problems
well and wisely. In knowledge acquisition, we are exposed to all sorts
of explanations and incidents. It is up to us to extract the good and
useful from the bad. That can only be done after we practise logic
knowledge effectively.


Distinguish the importance of epistemology and logic in education.
Discuss this in a group.


Generally, the western philosophy is divided into four doctrines which are:
• Idealism;
• Realism;
• Pragmatism; and
• Existentialism.

(a) Idealism
• The idealism sect is a general philosophical doctrine that exists initially
only in the west. Idealism sect focuses on mentality, emotionality and
spirituality. These are the most important elements in life because
according to this doctrine, truth depends on the three elements.
• Truth, beauty and fairness can be found using continuous reasoning
with full realisation rather than materialism. This classic idea is from
Plato in his book „The Republic‰.
• A branch of metaphysics according to the idealism doctrine believes in
reality that is transformed into mentality and spirituality. For instance,

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things that exist within the environment should not be brought
everywhere to show their existence. On the contrary, it is sufficient to
remain in memory and explained through writing.

• In terms of epistemology, the idealism doctrine views that truth is an
idea within the realm of mentality, which is free of sensory experience.
Certain experiences exist in the form of mentality such as memory and

• The idealism philosophy doctrine also believes that knowledge is
rational and systematic. Therefore, the existence of knowledge is real
and systematic. Certain information systems are more comprehensive
with ideas that are more standardised and truthful. Humans can
acquire knowledge intuitively or intelligently, and not necessarily go
through new experiences to only know about certain matters.

• Education is aimed at producing moral individuals who can play a role
in the society. Towards this end, students can only receive what are
taught by teachers. Teachers play a very significant and crucial role as
those who nurture their students. Students use learning methods
through their teachers although they only learn from what their
teachers teach them.

(b) Realism

• The realism philosophy is also known as materialism, and its
philosopher is Aristotle. The realism doctrine discovers the world from
objects and matters through sensory, and subsequently find causes and
effects related to the objects or matters. Truth, according to this doctrine
is free of any use of mentality. Humans discover objects or things
through their senses.

• In terms of epistemology, this doctrine feels that real knowledge is
something that is suitable with the matter itself rather than any theory,
understanding or memory that is meaningless. The experiences in life
cause various matters or knowledge to be embedded in the mind.

• In education, teachers play an important role in determining things that
are learnt by students. In such cases, the question of whether students
are interested or not does not arise. StudentsÊ interest will arise based
on teaching and learning methods or strategies that are implemented by

(c) Pragmatism

• The pragmatism philosophy is also known as empiricism, functionalism
and experientialism. The focus of this doctrine is on experience and refers

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to experientialism that is based on change, process, relativity and

• Pragmatism began to emerge in the United States of America in the 19th
Century with a wealth-oriented goal. In such cases, the truth depends on
the final outcome of any action to ideas that can bring about wealth. John
Dewey and Charles Darwin are scholars of this doctrine.

• This doctrine believes that the universe is dynamic in nature, and changes
from time to time. Humans experience progress and development. For that
purpose, humans should resolve problems they face or gain experience
through such process. Reality cannot be derived through thinking alone
without experience. For example, it is difficult to derive the validity of the
truth after death because no one has experience related to the matter.

• Knowledge is a process that is ever changing because the environment
constantly changes. Human knowledge originates from relationships or
experiences among humans and the environment, as well as learning that
occurs when humans resolve problems and gain knowledge in life.

• In education, students gain knowledge or skills easily if they are given
experience. According to the pragmatism doctrine, exposure to
experimental methods and studentsÊ involvement into inquiry of
discoveries are the possible best ways.

(d) Existentialism

• Existentialism emerged after World War Two in Europe, founded by
Soren Kierkegaad and subsequently by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche in
the 19th Century.

• This philosophy is contrary to idealism and realism because it focuses
more on experience that is gained from senses such as sight, sound and
taste. Most ideas and knowledge of a person originates from
independent experience or laissez-faire. The purpose of this philosophy
is to enable every individual to fully develop the potential for his own

• In terms of metaphysics, this doctrine believes that reality is the
existence of individuals. This development is highly dependent on the
environment that can be freely determined by individuals.

• Existentialism is of the view that individual knowledge is derived from
his own experience with the environment. Therefore, it is relative in
nature and changes according to suitability of time and circumstances.

• In education, since every individual has specific needs and interests to
work on upgrading their own self-achievement, there are no fixed,
structured or systematic curriculum. On the contrary, students use

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experience, and materials related to certain subjects and intellectual
skills to achieve their goals, which is self-harmony. Apart from that,
students are encouraged to carry out projects that can sharpen their


The meaning of Islamic education in terminologies TaÊdib, Irsyad and Tadris is a
continuous effort the potential development of individual Muslims as slaves of
Allah and his messengers on earth in totality and a unified manner to create
individuals who are balanced in terms of spiritual, Aqliah (mental), emotional,
faith and physical based on the teachings of Islam.

(a) Educational Concept
In Islam, education is compulsory for everyone. Education is an act of a
certain society, culture or civilisation to preserve life continuity. If
education fails to implement its functions, it will generally bring about
destruction to humans and the world.

The educational process should be life long as explained in Al-Quran and
Hadith. The process starts from the beginning of life until the end of life.
Education does not focus on teachers, content, source or process, but
focuses on individual development in a balanced, harmonious,
comprehensive and integrated manner encompassing intellectuality,
spirituality, emotionality and physicality.

(b) Educational Functions
One of the educational functions in Islam is preparing the future generation
to play a positive role to oneself, other humans, environment and Allah.

Education in Islam is to transfer values to the next generation as responsible
messengers. Values in Islam are based on the Al-Quran, Hadith and Qiyas
(analogy). Good values should continue from one generation to another.

Apart from values, knowledge should also be transferred. Knowledge is
divided into two which are revealed knowledge and acquired knowledge.
Revealed knowledge comes from the Creator to humans, knowledge that
resides in the Al-Quran, Hadith and Qiyas. Acquired knowledge is
knowledge gained by humans from their own efforts using their minds and

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(c) Educational Source
In Islamic education, there are six main sources: the Al-Quran, Sunnah of
the Prophet (sayings and practices of the prophet S.A.W.), statements of the
ProphetÊs friends, usefulness for societyÊs benefits, values and norms in the

The Al-Quran is the divine book of Allah sent to mankind through Prophet
Muhammad S.A.W. The Al-Quran consists of miracles and guides
encompassing all aspects in the life of humankind.

Sunnah is everything uttered by the Prophet S.A.W in the form of sayings,
deeds or approvals.

Meanwhile, according to al-Ghazali, societyÊs benefits are things that bring
about benefits and avoid harms. It comprises five components: towards
protection of religion, life, intellect, offspring and property.

Values are values from the Islamic revelation, which are absolute in nature
and based on rules, culture and human actions. The societyÊs norms are
good practices because valuable human norms can bring about goodness
and become Islamic legal rules.

(d) Educational Content
Education should focus on humans as its main object. All considerations are
towards the studentsÊ well being. The principle that should be adhered to in
Islamic education is humans are the best creation of God as compared to
other living beings; humans are born sacred; the role of humans on earth is
as a messenger of Allah, and humans are creatures granted with

(e) Educational Goal
The goal of Islamic education is to equip every individual with Islamic
knowledge so that he can live as someone who is spiritual, with high
morals and knowledge and perform piety duty.

2.5.1 National Educational Philosophy

Apart from political stability, economy, culture and societal value system, a
nationÊs development depends on its education system. A good educational
system must be based on a clear philosophy.

Policies formulated in certain educational systems are based on the educational
philosophy. Philosophy becomes the thrust of the educational system because it

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consists of goals to be achieved; educational implementation methods to be
adopted; characteristics to be formed; and coverage of the educational system.

(a) Formation of the CountryÊs Educational Philosophy
Educational philosophy has been a continuous process in line with the
development process. It started since the country demanded for their
independence from the colonial masters.

After independence, a committee, named as the Rahman Talib Committee,
was formed. Its aim was to study the Razak Statement and Education
Ordinance 1957 which was applicable in the education system after
Independence. This committee issued a report called the Rahman Talib
Statement 1960.

The Education Ministry was then guided by the Razak Statement 1956 and
Rahman Talib Statement 1960, in an effort to provide education to the
people of Malaya. The question of racial unity became the main agenda in
the implementation of educational activities then.

The Education Act 1961 was formulated based on the Razak Statement and
Rahman Talib Report 1960. The objective of educational policy as
comprised in the Education Act 1961 is as follows:

• Social dimension: By looking at education as developing the people of
Malaysia who are able to contribute towards peace and harmony of
family, society and the country.

The National Educational Philosophy should become the thrust towards
developing people with a high quality of self-esteem. Individual
development should be based on a balanced, integrated and harmonious
life development mentally, physically and spiritually to determine the well
being of the country and the people.

(b) The CountryÊs Education and Educational Philosophy
Educational philosophy plays a vital role in the education system in our
country. The policy, direction and guide are all efforts that are made to
improve the quality of the countryÊs education.

A clear implication of the educational philosophy in the country to the
national education system is the formulation of the national curriculum,
KBSR and KBSM. The curriculum continuously goes through developments
as the result of changes. The aspiration is based on the countryÊs
Educational Philosophy and the national Educational Philosophy. Among

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the obvious changes are emphasis on the aspect of unity and totality
including basic education and general education.

In the educational process, there are opportunities to develop balanced and
harmonious individuals in all aspects of life including the development and
inculcation of a positive value system. This process also often develops
education that is comprehensive and integrated.

To realise the educational philosophy as infused in the KBSR and KBSM
curriculum, which have been formulated and continues to develop from
time to time, there have been various important changes particularly in
terms of the educational institution itself. An obvious change is the
improvement in school facilities and restructuring of studentsÊ ratio in
every class.

The implication of the countryÊs Educational Philosophy and the national
Educational Philosophy to academicians, particularly teachers in schools is
obvious. Teachers should be more committed in educating students as the
new generation who will lead the country in the future. Teachers are those
whose careers have great implications and their responsibilities are
futuristic in nature.

Toward this end, teachers should intensify efforts to improve knowledge as
much as possible; while improving professional skills and developing
positive qualities including universal values.

(c) Excellent Education Policy
Education is a mechanism towards the development and unity of a country.
Without a perfect and strong education system, there will be various
educational types and models, which is imperfect in nature.

Education is one of the most important mechanisms for the country to
achieve Vision 2020. By 2020, Malaysia will become a developed nation.
Efforts toward this end, requires energy and expertise at various levels of
knowledge and skills, and this can be achieved through discipline and high
ethics. The requirement of energy and expertise can be created through the
education system.

There are strengths in the Education Act 1996 towards the direction of
achieving Vision 2020 as well as for the well being of the people, race and
country. Various strategies to achieve the educational policy goal should be
enhanced mainly by making the national language as the main medium;
having a standardised curriculum; and creating uniformed examinations for

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Physical and mental development should be balanced with spiritual
development. Therefore, spiritual, moral and disciplined education is also a
strategy that should be included to achieve the educational policy goal
towards Vision 2020.
The countryÊs Education Philosophy and the National Education Policy is a
strong conclusion for a Malaysian race, which has noble and great
aspirations, vision and ambition.

Its excellence becomes a motivation and catalyst to all Malaysians to fight in
improving the prestige of the Malaysian race towards success and nobility
at an international level.

To ensure success of the countryÊs goal, the education system which is well
equipped and solid, should be established and understood by citizens of all
levels. A comprehensive and organised plan should be introduced so that
education plays a role to ensure the success of the goal. All parties should
be directly involved in education, and even parties who are not involved
should move collectively and together to ensure success.

All parties should have high commitment and spirit to improve the position
of the race through the tradition of knowledge excellence based on the
latest technology as well as noble values as a strong basis for a generation
that will be competitive at a global level based on the countryÊs Educational
Philosophy and national Educational Philosophy.


1. Explain idealism and realism in the Western philosophy.
2. Elaborate the Islamic Educational Philosophy.
3. Discuss the importance of the National Educational Philosophy in

achieving Vision 2020.

• The word philosophy originates from the Greek word, „philosophia‰ which
means wanting to know in-depth or deep liking or loving.

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