Strengthening patriotism among students through patriotism-based courses



30 Aug 2023 07:02pm
The Yan Merdeka Jalur Gemilang Convoy were welcomed by the Sekolah Kebangsaan Sungai Limau before moving to Kuala Sala, Kampung Seberang Jaya and ending their tour at Guar Chempedak. (BERNAMA PHOTO)
The Yan Merdeka Jalur Gemilang Convoy were welcomed by the Sekolah Kebangsaan Sungai Limau before moving to Kuala Sala, Kampung Seberang Jaya and ending their tour at Guar Chempedak. (BERNAMA PHOTO)

Has the move to strengthen patriotism among students via patriotism-based courses been proven successful?

Great news! A lot of positive changes have been done to the educational curriculum. These subjects are no longer boring and dull having to solely memorise facts and historical events. That is ancient history.

When it comes to nation building courses, learning process must be fun yet effective. Almost every year, many would voice out that patriotism is at a low level among citizens. This issue has been actively debated especially on social media.

Meanwhile, educators all over the nation are doing their best to increase students’ level of patriotism towards their home country.

Patriotism refers to the pride and love of the country and willingness of a citizen to sacrifice for the sake of the beloved country. Does it mean sacrificing lives or can it also include time, energy, fundamental freedom, finance and more? But how do we sacrifice for the love of our country?

Sometimes or oftentimes egocentric patriotism is the one that is accidentally being inculcated in citizens instead (especially when you think you know it all). Egocentric patriotism refers to a citizen’s feelings of loyalty and love, for if whatever happens to this country be it good or bad, the country must be defended because it is one’s country.

On the one side, citizens are willing to sacrifice and pour out their blood, sweat and tears not expecting much in return; not benefits, incentives nor privileges from their motherland.

Remember: expecting to get and getting are totally different.

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On the flip side, egocentric patriotism can form reckless patriotism which forms an obsession; triggering ethnocentrism which refers to an ethnic group feeling that their group is more superior to other ethnic groups.

To solve the issue, a just patriotism is a solution. Just patriotism is based on equity; highlighting elements of morality and knowledge of history hence preventing the triggering of extreme emotional attitude towards the country as well as enabling the combat of ethnocentrism.

When youngsters treat blatant insults towards the elements in the Federal Constitution covering aspects of the national language, royal institutions, and Islam as the religion of the Federation as the new norm and nothing out of the ordinary, that calls for prompt action. Due to the lack of understanding of the meaning of nationhood and the country’s history, you might be adding fuel to the fire.

If you truly love yourself and your country, a citizen who has just patriotism will support efforts made for the prosperity and well-being of the country relying on the historical experience for you and your country’s future peace and growth.

How can this knowledge and experience be shared among youngsters?

Firstly, patriotism education focuses on two aspects, namely basic programs such as in the form of seminars and courses in addition to side programs such as camping, running and expeditions.

Second, the application of patriotism is implemented through programmes that are organised by the government such as Keluarga Malaysia.

Third, the cultivation of patriotism through electronic media such as broadcasting patriotic songs in local radio and television stations, organising activities and competitions such as cultural dance, essay and poem writing competitions can instil and strengthen patriotism among the younger generation.

I too, started with the National Service Training Programme launched more than a decade ago.

Hence, these can be important tools for producing people who are proud of their country; its culture and heritage, food and travel destinations. The list goes on and on!

Let us free our mind and practice new patriotic values not done before, be it involving multi-ethnic students in group activities, organizing a patriotism-based musical performance or debate, organising community service activities, and using the picture of historical figures for classroom activities.

A learner who is mentally matured and far-sighted will feel that such courses can add to their personal value through the enrichment of soft skill elements such as decision-making, leadership, teamwork, communication and so on.

If we do not learn from the past, history tends to repeat itself. Happy 66th Independence Day, Malaysians!

SYAZUIN SAZALI is a Subject Matter Expert in soft skills. She aims to continuously advocate for progressive growth in education. Linkedin & Instagram: @syazuinsazali, Email: [email protected]