Today, I had a huge debate with several of my colleagues in the school canteen.. It's about PPSMI. What else..
We, as parents, are very concerned about this national issue. Of the six colleagues, one teacher is really against the PPSMI. He, of course, teaches Bahasa Melayu.. He cited the rural students having difficulties in learning Science and Maths in English.. Not his kids, of course.. His kids are in town, learning Science and Maths in English..
Bahasa Melayu is the medium of teaching in all schools in Malaysia. It has been so since independence and it took one man in Malaysia to make a small change to have the two subjects to be taught in English. This man has 20-20 vision and he made one bold move in 2003 to introduce the PPSMI. Of course, there was chaos in the early implementation of the PPSMI, but as years go by, everybody noticed the benefits of the PPSMI. Those students entering tertiary education benefited a lot from PPSMI. The standard of English, as a whole, was even better among students...
But, as of next year, the PPSMI will be off..., slowly, as it seems.. The first batch of year 1 in 2011 will have their Science and Maths in Bahasa Melayu. Back to square one.
The recent "Budget 2011" was addressed as the budget by the people... The PPSMI will be scrapped out by the Ministry of Education beginning next year. How nice if the PPSMI issue is to be judged by the people.. Parents should have the choice of sending their children to schools that have PPSMI. This means that students who have bright futures should be given the opportunity to study Science and Maths in English, in line with preparing them to further their studies abroad or local varsities... They don't have to be that good in English. It's just that they are exposed to scientific terminologies in English at school level... That helps a lot !!!
As usual, my views are also shared by parents all over the country... Here are some of them:
Tuesday October 19, 2010. The Star.
Science and Maths: Fitting square pegs in round holesBASED on the Education Ministry’s Schedule for Policy Transition from PPSMI (Teaching of Science and Mathematics in English) to MBMMBI (Upholding Bahasa Malaysia and Strengthening the Command of English), Science and Mathematics will be taught solely in Bahasa Malaysia in all national primary and secondary schools by 2016.
However, students in Forms 6, matriculation and universities will study the two subjects in English as it is done now.
I find a serious mismatch here between students learning Science and Maths in Bahasa in secondary schools and potential Science and Maths teachers being trained in the two subjects in English in universities.
The Ministry is implementing its plan to have only graduate teachers in all secondary schools and according to the Schedule, all Science and Maths graduates would have studied the two subjects in English in Form 6, matriculation and university but they will go back to schools to teach the two subjects in Bahasa.
Are we not fitting square pegs into round holes as far as the language of instruction is concerned? Would their competency be compromised? Would we not be sacrificing on quality? This predicament will magnify itself after 2015.
The Schedule is consequential to the proposed policy change. It spells out the subsequent steps to follow in the years to come. But it cannot be right if there is an inherent fault in the policy change. As it is, it does not compute!
To remedy the mismatch, schools should be allowed the option to continue teaching Science and Maths in English at secondary level. This is the desire of many students and parents.
If we can have a budget by the people as proudly proclaimed by the Prime Minister, let’s also have an education system by the people.
LIONG KAM CHONG,