Making another pitch for PPSMI
PETALING JAYA: The Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) today submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak in a fortified attempt to halt the abolishment of the Teaching and Learning of Science and Maths in English (PPSMI).
Also included in the memorandum were Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, secretary-general Rosli Mohamed in the Education Ministry, ministers in the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) as well as National Key Economic Area (NKEA) education director Tengku Azian Shahriman.
The PPSMI controversy has been raging for the past two years since Muhyiddin announced its replacement with another policy of upholding the Malay language and strenghtening the command of English (MBMMBI).
The uproar sparked by the policy reversal has continued to this day with even students now joining in the protests.
Yesterday, Muhyiddin confirmed that students will not be able to choose between English or Malay as the medium of instruction for the learning of Science and Maths.
In its third memorandum to Najib since its formation, PAGE pointed out that evidence of the PPSMI’s success could be seen in the UPSR, PMR and SPM results over the years.
“The highest passing rate in Science and Maths was in 2007 while the lowest was in 2001 before the PPSMI was implemented,” said PAGE chairman, Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim.
“The highest passing rate in English was recorded in 2008 while there have been no signs of any adverse effect on the passing rate in Bahasa Malaysia.”
The memorandum was further accompanied by figures and charts which also showed a marked improvement in the performance in Science and Maths among rural students.
PAGE noted that these findings have debunked the government’s claim that the PPSMI had weakened the performance of students in these areas as compared to their urban peers.
“PPSMI has not only boosted the level of English but also the performance of students in rural areas,” Azimah emphasied. “The false accusations of extremist groups must be halted because their assumptions will only jeopardise the dignity of our race and country.”
Azimah reminded the government that the PPSMI Facebook page had garnered over 100,00 supporters while 56,000 more had signed a petition in the last two weeks.
Research conducted by PAGE’s newest partner, Jaring Melayu Muda (JMM), also showed that 55% of parents and 79% of students surveyed in rural areas are in favour of the PPSMI so as to enjoy the same future opportunities as those in the urban areas.
PPSMI should be retained
IT’S disappointing that the views of a significant, if not the majority of Malaysian parents who want the continuation of the PPSMI policy of teaching Maths and Science in the English, is not being heard.
We ask how the Education Ministry can say in one breath that it wants to increase the importance and teaching of the English Language and in the next breath, insist on teaching vital subjects like Maths and Science in Bahasa Malaysia?
The ministry should be consistent with the national vision to make Malaysia a developed country by 2020.
We have to transform our people’s psyche to strengthen our national language and at the same time, to pursue the competence in the international language which is, whether we like it or not, the English Language.
Where would our leaders and our country be today if not for our current, albeit declining, proficiency in English?
How far would Malaysia have developed if not for the past wisdom of promoting the teaching and use of English?
By rejecting the sound policy of PPSMI, we will be taking a regressive step backwards!
We would jeopardise our aim to achieve the aspirations of Vision 2020.
Worse still, we will create class distinctions and widen the already worsening income gap between the rural and urban populations and the poor and the rich citizens of the country.
The Government is obliged to consult the voters more widely and substantively on this very important national issue or risk national progress and the people’s support.
We therefore appeal to the Education Minister to uphold the PPSMI and to make the necessary announcement as soon as possible to avoid chaos and more confusion.
TAN SRI RAMON NAVARATNAM,
Centre of Public Policy Studies.
PPSMI – Selfish Muhyiddin has made the biggest blunder for Malaysia
“Most parents are in favour of English being used to teach the sciences in English. When we expose students to the sciences in English we are not teaching them English but making them become familiar with scientific English terms and lexis right from young. This would help them at the tertiary level. Pursuing scientific knowledge in English cannot be matched using the Malay language as the latter is inherently not a language for the sciences. Information throughout the world is fed to the people through English and translating all of this into Malay is almost impossible. We just cannot cope with the volume. Translating needs skills in English and Malay. When we are not skilful in English, there is no way translation can be done. Ironically, those who are against the move to use English to teach the sciences are those who studied literature and not the sciences. To seek knowledge in the sciences and become competitive we have to master English. When English is ignored our people will be less competitive. Malaysians would be left behind.”
The PPSMI incurred over RM5 billion of taxpayers’ money only to see it culminating to the announcement of the policy’s reversal in 2012 by the present administration. Critics may say that some of those countries adopting English in their education system are poor despite using English as the medium of instruction in schools and universities. But they fail to figure out that it is not the language here that makes those countries poor but the value systems they accede or adhere to that have made them not progress much. The fact however remains that countries like India, Pakistan and the Philippines have produced many scientists, intellectuals and professional expertise who are working in all parts of the world. The English language has always become their asset. Malaysians in general could not match these achievements of theirs.
Politicians should stop twisting research facts
Research has also shown that 23 percent of Malaysians who are exposed to English and speak English at home would consider English as their native language. They need a school just like those existing vernacular schools to have their children to be taught in English. Denying them this privilege is not fair and undemocratic. In fact, they would want English to be the medium of instruction throughout their education.
Politicians should stop twisting research facts on the use of English to teach the sciences. This to the academics is an intellectual crime. Being a body that also looks into the sensitivity of the people throughout the world, UNESCO, have to promote mother tongue-based bilingual or multilingual approaches in education. UNESCO has not specifically mentioned that only mother-tongue language has shown positive impact on learning and learning outcomes. The reason is that many countries have adopted foreign languages in their teaching processes. It works and this does not exclude the use of English if a nation decides to opt for it. In other words, UNESCO asserts that bilingual or multilingual approaches work in most countries. Research shows that this has positive impact on learning and learning outcomes – citing European countries, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong have adopted English to be their medium to teach in schools and universities.
Thus based on this premise what parents desire now is for the country to give students a choice to learn the sciences in English. No single person should decide the future of out children and nation. Education policy cannot be the privilege of a few elected politicians to work on. Education is a basic right of the people and they have a say on what they desire most for their children.
PPSMI not Muhyiddin’s call alone, let parents decide
We reject the excuse given by Deputy Prime Minister who argued that giving the option to schools will create havoc “kacau-bilau” to our education system. Firstly, these schools have already been conducting their lessons for Mathematics and Science in English over the past 10 years, hence there will be no extra effort incurred to retain PPSMI in these schools. Instead more effort will be required to withdraw PPSMI.
Secondly, and more importantly, every effort should be made to ensure that our schools are able to produce the best human capital for Malaysia as we seek to be part of the knowledge economy, to become a high income nation.
The important principle that the Ministry of Education must adopt is that advanced students should not be held back because of students who lagged behind academically. If parents prefer English as the medium of instruction and the students are more than able to cope, then every effort should be made to allow such schools to continue with PPSMI.
Therefore the argument of administrative hassle as a result of providing the option to parents and students is completely unacceptable as the quality of education our students receive is of paramount importance.
We call upon the Ministry of Education to review its decision to withdraw its decision to withdraw PPSMI completely and to allow room for certain schools to proceed subject to meeting certain requirements such as parental approval and students’ performance.
Tony Pua is the DAP MP for PJ Utara
Polls backlash for BN from PPSMI snub
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 — Barisan Nasional (BN) risks losing votes in upcoming polls if it continues barring students from learning science and maths using English in schools, a parents lobby group said today.
The Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE) wants the 10-year-old policy of teaching science and maths in English at national schools (PPSMI) to be made an option for students in primary and secondary schools.
“If it is political (decision on PPSMI) give us the PPSMI option in national primary and secondary schools, and we will give you the two-thirds majority, which you are making increasingly difficult for us to do.
“Do not make us give the opposition our vote,” said PAGE chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said in a statement to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today.
“We would not like the Najib administration to be remembered for abolishing PPSMI, for not regaining the two-thirds majority and for making our children yet another lost generation,” she said bluntly.
Noor Azimah stressed that the government’s past decision in introducing PPSMI in schools was not “flawed”, adding it would empower students with the skills and knowledge needed to compete with other countries should the policy be retained.
She criticised Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for saying yesterday that the education system will turn chaotic if parents were allowed to freely choose the medium of instruction for their children.
Calling it “unacceptable”, Noor Azimah charged that all science and mathematics teachers should be able to teach in either Bahasa Malaysia or English as the PPSMI policy had previously been in place for nine years.
“If the number of schools that choose English are small, then it would be even easier to provide the teachers. The reasons should be addressed head-on and not swept under the carpet after spending RM3 billion of the rakyat’s hard earned income. We want an explanation,” she said.
Noor Azimah said that the current education system only divided children according to race-based schools, a split that was slowly incorporating class differences as seen in the growing popularity of private and international schools.
Data shows better Maths, Science results during PPSMI
The Parent Action Group for Education (Page), who are at the forefront in the struggle to have Maths and Science taught in English, today said that research findings found that the performance of students in the subjects of English, Mathematics and Science improved when the latter two subjects were taught in English.
Quoting research by the 2010 update report for the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals for Malaysia, Page said that results show that the policy was starting to work when the decision to abolish it was made.
The results also showed an improvement in performance in mathematics and science in rural schools.
“PPSMI is working, even for the rural students… (The examination results) show improvement in English, no reduction in Bahasa Malaysia and improvements in Science and Mathematics in the last few years,” Page said, referring to the policy by its Malay language acronym.
Tracing performance national and vernacular school performance in science and mathematics from 2001 to 2009, the research found that the passing rates were “the highest in 2007”.
It took a dip in 2008 but picked up again in 2009, which was the same year the government decided to phase out the policy. The policy was introduced in 2003.
“The best achievement in English was in the year 2008, and the trend is on the incline since the start of PPSMI,” Page said.
Student performance in Bahasa Malaysia remained constant, showing that the policy had no effect on mastery of the national language, although some decline was seen in vernacular schools.
The study traced a big dip in passing rates for lower secondary assessment (PMR) in Science and Mathematics in 2004, but marked improvement from 2006 to 2009.
“English improved, evident in the year 2003 and 2009 with PPSMI in operation. Bahasa Malaysia remained constant throughout,” Page said.
‘Rural students did better’
The Education Ministry also refutes claim that rural students are left behind by PPSMI, as these students consistently outperformed their urban friends in the subject of Science while it was taught in English.
“The highest achievement in Science (pass rates for SPM) was in 2008, by rural students… Clearly the rural students were able to cope with PPSMI,” the NGO noted.
Rural students also showed improvement in Mathematics, with SPM pass rates for the subject on a significant upward trend since the introduction of PPSMI.
“The best percentage increment (of pass rates for mathematics for SPM) took place between the year 2009 and 2010, recorded by rural students,” it said, referring to a leap of about four percent.
Rural students followed an upward trend in English with the passing rate for the subject up from 61.4 percent in 2004 to 71.2 percent in 2010, while in urban areas, students performed 7.3 percent better in 2010 compared to 76.4 percent in 2010.
Consistent with PMR and school examination results, passing rates for Bahasa Malaysia in SPM remained fairly constant from 2004 to 2010.
According to Page, this evidence clearly goes against claims by the government as well as anti-PPSMI PAS-led Gerakan Mansuhkan PPSMI (GMP) who claimed that only 3 percent of pupils benefit from the policy.
Appeals for PPSMI as Option (Video)
Yes to PPSMI: ‘Don’t play political games’
About 150 concerned parents and students gathered here today to voice their support for the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI) policy and urged the government not to “play political games” with the education system.
The hour-long “open-air meeting”, which took place at the park opposite Amcorp Mall, saw parents and students making short speeches arguing for the PPSMI policy to be retained.
They said that abolishing it would affect the progress and competitiveness of the country globally.
Banners which read “Kita Mahu PPSMI diteruskan (We want PPSMI to continue)”, “Tun (Mahathir Mohamad) supports PPSMI”, “Yes to PPSMI”, were displayed to put the message across.
They also shouted “1Malaysia for PPSMI”.
“We are not picketing, we are not demonstrating, I am not Bersih 2.0. We are just voicing our concern because we (concerned parents) have been ignored for far too long,” event coordinator Shamsudin Bin Hamid told the crowd.
He added that the backing for PPSMI transcended racial sentiments as the policy has also gained support from Malay NGOs such as the right-wing group Perkasa and Jarigan Melayu Malaysia (JMM).
Shamusudin said that in Perkasa’s newsletter dated Oct 15, a two-page spread was dedicated to the implementation of PPSMI.
It won’t break national unity
Another speaker, Lee Hui Seng, asked the government “not to play political games with the education system”.
“The (sentiments of the) parents here today also represent the millions of parents out there who are the silent majority.
“This is not an issue which will break the unity of the country,” he said, drawing instant applause from the crowd.
Speaking to FMT later, Lee, father of a 16-year-old studying in a national school in Petaling Jaya, said that the government need not be afraid that the PPSMI would instigate racial backlash.
“We, the parents, are not asking for Bahasa Malaysiato be abolished. We are just asking for Maths and Science to be taught in English,
“(The implementation of PPSMI) is not about learning the English language, but to learn right scientific terms in English,
“If you have bilingual textbooks, it will benefit those in the rural areas, so why abolish PPSMI?” he asked.
Lee said that the issue was important for the progress of the country.
“Some politicians decide on policies because they think it may win them votes from a certain race, but they have to stop this; this is not the way…,” he added.
Give parents their right to choose PPSMI
OCT 21 — The teaching of science and mathematics in English or PPSMI is once again at the forefront of the news headlines. Over the past few months, the Parents Action Group for Education (PAGE) has been lobbying hard to keep the PPSMI policy alive, citing various reasons for doing so.
As parents whose children go to one of the schools in Petaling Jaya that supports the continuation of such a policy, my wife and I received a passionate plea last week to sign an online petition in support of PPSMI.
We have duly done so as we believe that the teaching of science and mathematics has indeed helped my children with the understanding of English as a whole. Also, my children too have given feedback that their interest and proficiency in English have peaked, using English as the medium of instruction for science and maths.
There have been hoards of people who have spoken out about this issue and written in to the press expressing their views, either supporting or taking their stand against it. I too have written about it on this portal.
In July, I wrote about how a fully functioning democracy is founded on the bedrock principle that a government is elected by the people, for the people. As such, it necessarily means that when governments do not govern according to the wishes of the people, that government could then be booted out, through free and fairly administered elections.
Couple this with the current mantra of this current administration, “People first, performance now,” under the tutelage of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, I am frustrated and disappointed that the government isn’t listening to the wishes of its people.
So often, the Right Honourable PM states that he wants to achieve a developed status for Malaysia, and to do so by being inclusive and by listening to its citizens as espoused through his 1 Malaysia policy.
But when the rubber meets the road, his 1 Malaysia tagline, remains just that — a tagline, fit only for the billboards, TV commercials and rhetoric speeches made in public.
From what I understand, PAGE has on several occasions tried to submit a memo stating its stand on why it believes PPSMI should continue. Rational reasons from how students have fared better in their examinations to the argument that parents have a right to choose the best possible education for their children as enshrined in the Education Act 1996 have been put forth.
And yet there has been a deafening silence on the part of the incumbent government over this issue.
In the run-up to the Sarawak state elections earlier this year, news reports noted that the PM was willing to re-consider this issue with an open mind. Of course, many have said that this was merely another empty election ploy on Najib’s part, which is not surprising given how the PM has shown how he’s often flipped-flopped on so many crucial decisions.
But it was his deputy and education minister who drove the final nail into the coffin on this possibility when he said that there will be no going back to the PPSMI policy.
There are many reasons why I find this whole issue objectionable, besides the clear politicking of this issue. But by far for me, the greatest indictment to this administration is the fact that the moving from the PPSMI to MBMMBI (the reversion to Bahasa Malaysia for science and maths) will definitely set the country back.
What remains to be seen is how far we’re going to be set back.
It’s completely oxymoronic to speak about wanting to take Malaysia to the next level of achieving a per capita income of US$15,000 (RM46,500) in tandem with becoming a developed nation by 2020.
This very group of people are the ones who are expected to form a large part of our workforce by then are being shackled from achieving their highest potential without being able to master English, especially in science and maths.
Retain PPSMI As An Option
Please email, share and/or share this with all your friends so that we can quickly collect the numbers that we need to transform us all into a voice loud enough to be heard. Hopefully with everybody’s effort, we can make this go viral on the internet and strengthen our voice in the shortest time possible.
Dear Students, Parents and Malaysians,
MALAYSIANS APPEAL TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE OPTION TO LEARN SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS IN ENGLISH (RETAIN PPSMI AS AN OPTION)
You would have heard by now that the teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics in English (better known as PPSMI) will be abolished in January 2012. The Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE) has been in the forefront to champion the cause to maintain the policy for those who wish their children to learn these two (2) subjects in its lingua franca that is English.
Here is how the abolishment of this policy is going to affect you.
For Primary School Students
You have been learning Science and Mathematics in English since Standard 1, however when you enter into Form 1, you will have to learn these subjects in Bahasa Melayu until Form 5 and do your PMR and SPM in Bahasa Melayu. After SPM, you will revert the study of these two (2) subjects back to English.
For Secondary School Students
If you are entering Form 1 in 2012, then you have been learning Science and Mathematics in English since Standard 1, however in 2012, you will have to learn these subjects in Bahasa Melayu from Form 1 until Form 5 and do your PMR and SPM in Bahasa Melayu.
If you are entering Form 4 in 2012, be prepared … you may have to switch to Bahasa Melayu for Science and Maths after learning these subjects in English for the past 9 years, do your SPM in Bahasa Melayu and then switch back to English when you enter college or university. Yes we know this is crazy and unless you are “super-adaptable”, you will most likely be stressed out and confused. We have heard that the choice of language for Form 4 in 2012 may be determined by the Gurubesar of the different schools (???).
If you are not in Form 1 or Form 4 in 2012, there is no escape either. You WILL eventually be affected by the change when you reach Form 4.
If you have just completed your SPM in 2011, then you are in the luckiest group !!! You will be able to go straight into college and continue to do these subjects in English.
Student warns of dismal future without PPSMI
KUALA LUMPUR: The volley of brickbats against the abolishment of the Teaching and Learning of Science and Maths in English (PPSMI) has intensified with just one more month left in the school year.
After nine years of implementation, the PPSMI will be replaced with the latest policy of upholding the Malay language and strengthening the command of English (MBMMBI).
The policy reversal has received strong protests mainly from NGOs, particularly the Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE), but now even students are boldly raising their voices.
Just last week a Form Three student penned an open letter to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and his deputy, Muhyiddin Yassin, asking them to reconsider the PPSMI abolishment.
And now a university student has issued a dire warning to the Education Ministry – the failure of Malaysians to master the vital disciplines in English will plunge the nation into the same realm of disconnectedness as North Korea.
In a letter to PAGE, the student, who goes by the pseudonym of Nate Light, pointed out that international collaborations are conducted in English for viable communication among different nationalities.
“A scientist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) would never understand a physics research paper and mathematical lemmas written in Malay,” Light said. “A tech start-up in Malaysia will not gain traction in English-speaking foreign markets.”
“In a globalised world, there is simply no demand for professionals who don’t speak English. The outside world will turn to other countries that provide English-fluent professionals and leave us unattended.”
Light scoffed at the “absurdity” of translating scientific texts into Bahasa Malaysia (BM) only to later translate them back into English when used.
The student also questioned the accuracy in translating terms like “inertia”, “gravitational potential” and “quantum entanglement” into BM, and predicted that students would now be embattled with language barriers in their studies.
Of greater importance, Light noted, is that fluency in English is a pre-requisite for entry into the best research institutions in the world like MIT and Caltech, both of which are located in the US.
“From my observation, lack of fluency in English is the greatest drawback for many talented Malaysians,” Light said.
“Many end up getting rejected from the US institutions because of their poor command of the language and their regret over not being English-educated like the Singaporeans is common.”
Light pointed out that Singapore’s emphasis on English has rewarded it with an AAA credit rating based on intellectual commodities while Malaysia still lags behind with a credit rating of A-.
“If we choose to close the door, the decline of the nation is inevitable,” Light concluded. “But it is also up to civil society to predicate its fate.This is a democratic nation and the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government.”
“The future belongs to us, the students and the parents. We should move forward to refurbish English prowess among Malaysians and detest the scrapping of PPSMI.”
A right to PPSMI
OCT 17 — The abolishment of PPSMI will benefit students whose mother tongue or first language is not English because studies have shown children learn better if the language of instruction is their first language.
Furthermore, the United Nations, in its various declarations and conventions, has continually affirmed the universal right to an education where the language of instruction is the first language.
This fundamental right for students whose first language is Bahasa Malaysia or Mandarin or Tamil is thus respected by abolishing PPSMI.
However, the abolishment of PPSMI will in turn be unfair to students whose first language is English.
Malaysian students whose first language is English are growing in number from diverse ethnic backgrounds. They include Chinese, Indians and Malays.
These students are already discriminated against in education on the basis of language because there are no English-medium national-type schools to accommodate them.
This discrimination on the basis of language contravenes the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
The abolishment of PPSMI will further discriminate these students on the same grounds.
They have the right to continue studying science and mathematics in English and also the right to study all other subjects in English, their first language.
Thus, PPSMI must at least be retained as an option so that they can learn science and mathematics optimally as their peers whose first language is Bahasa Malaysia or Mandarin or Tamil.
If we were to have English-medium national-type schools, it would be justice indeed.
To vote for PPSMI as an option, please go to http://www.pagemalaysia.org/news.php.
Parents can vote for the establishment of English-medium national-type schools at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NKRJVDH and join PENS (Parents for English-medium National-type Schools) at http://www.facebook.com/groups/PENSmember/ to support the campaign.
* Lan Boon Leong is an associate professor at Monash University Sunway Campus.
Call for a referendum on PPSMI
EDITOR’S PICK Why are we playing dice with our children’s education? The teaching of Science and Mathematics does not infringe on the status of Bahasa Melayu as the national language of the Federation of Malaysia. It can still remain the main medium of instruction in schools and higher education. But in order to create a competitive and globally viable society, English should be allowed to take its place as a means to educate students in Science and Mathematics.
In a joint press conference, the Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE) and Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM) feel that there should be a referendum if that is what it takes to have Science and Mathematics taught in English (or PPSMI) as an option in schools. “We are only asking for our children to be given the opportunity to study Science and Mathematics in English,” said JMM president Azwanddin Hamzah.
Would the Minister listen
They were reacting to Education minister Muhyiddin Yassin who last month closed the door on English for the two subjects. “We cannot sacrifice our national language for another language. As a country which has achieved its independence, we have to strengthen Bahasa Melayu,” said Muhyddin.
A referendum as a final option to gauge what the majority of parents really want is indeed a good suggestion and something the Education ministry should take into consideration. But of late, the ministry is as fickle-minded and hydra-headed as most politicians who sit in Parliament.
Yet, even with a referendum, would the Education minister listen to the voice of the people? There is talk that books have already been printed in Bahasa Melayu, thus an about-turn on the decision to teach Science and Mathematics in Bahasa Melayu would cost someone somewhere millions in unusable books.
Would the Minister be forthcoming in even allowing the people to discuss and debate the use of English or would he merely put a stop to all debate and enforce his will and assertion that Bahasa Melayu would remain the medium of instruction for Science and Mathematics?
Who should in charge: Educator vs Politician
There is no point lording over the use of Bahasa Melayu in primary and secondary school, when in university, the language of choice for technical subjects is English. Do we really want to impede our children the moment they pursue their studies in university?
And if politicians have their way, we may indeed put our children at a disadvantage when they step into a shrinking world that speaks English.
Here lies the fundamental problem. Why are we allowing politicians free-rein to determine the fate of our future generations? For starters, is an educator holding the post of Education minister? Is there a viable and reasonable reason for not using English? It is time, we have educators advising the nation on what is best for our children’s education and not some seasoned politician who is out to garner votes and not to educate.
Reconsider stand on PPSMI
If I remember correctly, it all started during the annual general assembly of a political party where one of the delegates opposed strongly the use of English in teaching Science and Maths. This had a spiralling effect.
THE Education Ministry through its Corporate Unit had said that PPSMI (the teaching of Maths and Science in English) was definitely going and there were no two ways about it.
As an educator of 30 years and a parent of successful children, I am terribly upset with the Government’s insistence on dropping PPSMI. The least it could have done was to allow those who were already into it to finish their full cycle.
The Education Ministry is doing injustice to students who diligently poured their heart and soul into acquiring knowledge through PPSMI.
My son, who is in Year Five this year is very comfortable learning through PPSMI, and all his teachers are conversant enough in the English Language. He dreads the consequences of learning the same subjects in Bahasa Melayu next year after spending five years amassing the knowledge he has now.
It is not that he does not like Bahasa Melayu. He is well-versed in Bahasa Melayu, but how is he going to express himself when it comes to Science and Maths? Even adults, and for that matter teachers, would find it difficult switching code in a short span of time.
The Government had spent not millions but billions of ringgit in implementing PPSMI but now all the effort is going down the drain. It is not only the monetary loss but also human resources.
It took not one, two or three years to train teachers of Science and Maths for what they are today. Now, the Government has to re-train these same teachers. Do not take for granted that all these teachers will automatically be comfortable reverting to Bahasa Melayu.
After the many years of PPSMI, we will be seeing the first batch of graduates coming out from tertiary institutions any time now. Are these graduates of no use now to teach Science and Maths in English?
I am not asking for these graduates to teach the English Language, but Science and Maths in English. There is a whole lot of a difference in that!
PPSMI is right policy
I REFER to the letter “Why PPSMI is abolished” (The Star, Oct 5) by the Education Ministry. My children attend a national school for two main reasons.
First, with PPSMI, there is an ideal balance of teaching in Bahasa Malaysia and English, with the added advantage of having the technical subjects of Science and Maths in English.
Then there is the bonus of the mother tongue being taught (at least in my children’s school, although the implementation can be greatly improved).
Second, my children can mix with children of other races.
After the announcement to abolish the PPSMI, I observed a drop in the number of Chinese students enrolled in my children’s school.
My son’s best friend also switched to a private school because of this change in policy. This is not conjecture.
The students who are poor in English should be the main reason for the PPSMI in the first place.
When you look at the teacher’s use of language in the subjects, fingers should not be pointed only at the students.
Some of the Science and Maths teachers are not adequately prepared to fully teach in English. Not conjecture either.
Again it has been pointed out that the weakness in the implementation is not the fault of the policy itself, nor should it be that of the students.
Every child can be taught. It is for the adults, the teachers and parents to make it happen. We have to start somewhere.
If the ministry believes that these students are “victims” now, they will be even bigger victims when they reach tertiary level.
Malay NGO backs PPSMI policy
PETALING JAYA: A Malay non-governmental organisation backs the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English following a survey result among 15,000 respondents nationwide.
Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM) said the four-month survey found that 54% of the respondents nationwide, including parents from rural areas, preferred PPSMI to be retained.
Some 70% of the respondents were Malays.
Although JMM’s constitution stated its role in upholding the Malay language, the demands of the parents supporting the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI) must not be denied, said its president Azwanddin Hamzah.
“We have refrained from making any statement until the completion of the survey.
“Now, based on the findings, we urge the Government to listen to the voices of parents who want the best for their children and review its decision to abolish PPSMI,” Azwanddin said.
The survey also stated that 66% of parents from rural areas agreed that teaching Mathematics and Science in English would give their children a chance at a brighter future.
“Instead of abolishing it completely, the Government should give parents a say in the education of their children.
Parent Action Group wants English-language option restored
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 17 — The Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (Page) wants Putrajaya to restore ‘teaching science and maths in English’ option before it kicks off a new policy next year.
Its vice-chairman, Sulaiman Mahran, ticked off Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for saying the Education Ministry will study further the possibility of using two languages to teach the two subjects in national schools, as reported by state news agency Bernama yesterday.
“It’s only buying time until 2012 when the MBMMBI will be fully implemented,” Sulaiman said in a statement, referring to the “Upholding the Malay Language and Strengthening Command of English” policy that is to take over the existing language policy for science and maths (PPSMI).
The English-language lobbyist pointed out that the long-term advantages of English had been identified during the Mahathir administration but that its implementation was miscarried during the Abdullah administration.
“Datuk Seri Najib’s administration should repair its implementation, not dismantle it,
“What should be studied deeper is MBMMBI, which is clearly defective because it reduces the students’ exposure to English by 50 per cent,” Sulaiman said.
Prior to the Sarawak polls on April 16, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had also announced he would consider using dual languages as the medium of instruction for Mathematics and Science in schools.
PPSMI was first introduced in 2003 but the Education Ministry decided last year to stop it by 2012 after consulting with teachers and parents around the country.
In the uproar that followed after PPSMI was abolished, Putrajaya introduced MBMMBI, which will see the teaching of Mathematics and Science revert to Bahasa Malaysia from 2012 while more contact hours for English would be offered in order to improve students’ skills in the language.
In May The Malaysian Insider reported that the Najib administration had not decided on switching back to English for Science and Mathematics (PPSMI) because several Cabinet ministers felt any change would be another embarrassing flip-flop.
The Education Ministry has also announced it would hire 10,000 teachers to teach English in local schools.
Najib has also got a promise from the United States to send Peace Corps volunteers to teach the language in the country.
Page accuses Putrajaya of ‘buying time’, wants English-language option restored
By Debra Chong
August 17, 2011