General education in Malaysia is deeply influenced by the state schools system in Britain and the church Sunday school movement. The state schools in the British Isles, which adopted the schooling-instructional model, were developed in 1870s to efficiently train a workforce to be minimally literate for the industrial revolution. Australian educator Brian Hill calls this “schools for the industrial society” (1985, 42). The Sunday school movement was started earlier in the 1780s and was influential in teaching children how to read, write and numeracy skills as well as learning about the Christian faith. In the nineteenth century, after its formation the state schools began to take over the function of the Sunday schools in teaching the children in the 3 Rs (writing, reading, arithmetic). The Sunday schools gradually began to focus solely on religious education. However, following the state schools, they adopted the schooling model (Hill 1985, 46). During the nineteenth century, the schooling-instructional paradigm found its way into other formative areas of Christian faith communities and gradually became the mainstay of education in Christian faith communities.

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