IPOH: Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik has pledged to introduce more kindness into the school system, including through the successful #StandTogether National Kindness Week introduced earlier this year.

“Kindness is a part of human nature – this is what we have forgotten in our educational system,” said Dr Maszlee.

“We emphasise a lot on exams and test results that we forgot the very basic human element in every single individual – kindness.”

Dr Maszlee was speaking during the ministry’s World Unesco Day event at Bulatan Amanjaya, where he also pledged to further support National Kindness Week in schools next year.

The inaugural National Kindness Week campaign was initiated by R.AGE and property developer SP Setia, in response to a spate of deadly bullying cases in 2017.

With the aim of ending bullying by promoting a culture of kindness, the campaign quickly drew support from then deputy education minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan and numerous stakeholders.

Over 730 schools signed up to incorporate the #StandTogether National Kindness Week activities in the first week of April, and over 130 student-led kindness projects were submitted for the #StandTogether Competition.

Dr Maszlee called on Malaysian students to continue taking the initiative to shape their future.

“Most young Malaysians are optimistic of the future – 68% of them say they believe the world will be a better place by 2030.

“There are now many opportunities for youths to play an important role in solving global problems,” added Dr Maszlee.

R.AGE deputy executive editor and producer Ian Yee said the #StandTogether Committee, which includes SP Setia, Unicef Malaysia, Digi, 100% Project, Petrosains, Study Hub Asia and Teach For Malaysia, is already looking forward to National Kindness Week 2019.

“We already have some big plans to take the campaign to the next level and further empower students for kindness, so to hear Dr Maszlee pledge his support is really exciting.

“And since (Permatang Pauh MP) Nurul Izzah Anwar and (Batu MP) P. Prabakaran also recently pledged to push for a National Kindness Week in Parliament, we now have three MPs in our corner,” said Yee.

Students at the two-day World Unesco Day event, which will continue today with more educational booths and performances, said bullying is still a very serious issue in Malaysian schools.

“If you don’t get bullied (by a senior), it is considered something odd. They will say that if you don’t bully or if you were not bullied, that you have not made enough memories,” said former boarding school student Anis Nadhrah Tajui Azman.

“We must help students develop soft skills that help prevent them from bullying. It is something that is very difficult to teach, but it has to be ongoing.”

Find out more about the #StandTogether National Kindness Week by R.AGE and SP Setia at www.standtogether.my.