A comparative study on the role of religious interest groups in the formulation of educational policies in the Philippines and Malaysia
de la Cruz, Rica Melanie Perez
Von der Mehden, Fred R.; Thomas, Albert
Doctor of Philosophy
Religious interest groups play a significant role in the formulation and/or implementation of educational policies in the Philippines and Malaysia. In the Philippines, the groups are very active in developing ways to affect the kinds of policies being passed in government as they pertain to the educational process. The groups use a variety of mechanisms to influence government, including the publication of newspapers, pamphlets, books, monographs, etc. which clearly state their views on certain issues; extensive lobbying efforts at city hall and governmental agencies or offices; establishment of alliances with other groups of similar and sometimes even dissimilar religious persuasions; and frequent interaction with the members of the academic community. These are intended to make them more aware of the educational issues that they have to be concerned with, as well as their repercussions. The groups' active participation in government may be attributed to a variety of factors, including the separation of church and state as provided for in the constitution, the variety of religious denominations in the country, the importance of religion to the lives of the people and the absence of any restriction on the efforts of the groups to influence policies. In Malaysia, the groups are more concerned with policies after they have been implemented and react accordingly, with the intention of making government aware of their perception of the policies at hand. Like the groups in the Philippines, they utilize a variety of tools to achieve their stated objectives, as the formation of alliances, publication of journals, public rallies, among others. They have also developed ingenious ways to encourage their members to be more discerning with regard to governmental action. Thus, they form small discussion groups, which allow them to understand the necessity of Islamic education; hold prayer meetings; and even form Islamic communities where they live according to the tenets of their faith. These activities may be results of the process of Islamization going on in Malaysia, the restrictions imposed on any form of non-Muslim activity, the close relationship between ethnicity and religion and the political supremacy of the Malays in the country. These findings though preliminary, may lead to increased interest on the role of interest groups in the political process in Southeast Asia and the need to further investigate the increasing influence of religion in the various aspects of life in the countries in the region.
Political science; International law; International relations