Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Importance of PPSMI...

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 holes

BASED 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.

Maths and Science: Questions need to be answered
F.S.Klang, Selangor
I REFER to the article, "It begins next year" (NST, Oct 17). As I read this news, a few questions arose:

- Is the decision to phase out the teaching of Science and Maths in English next year an apt one?
- Why now, when it's only two months shy of a new school term?
- How would my child cope when her early education is in English?

Any parent facing the same dilemma would be able to relate to my anxiety.
As a student of the 1980s to 1990s, my early education was in Bahasa Malaysia.
Tertiary education, however, was in English.
I am currently a part-time educator.
From my experience, I find that students are able to cope with the transition of learning in English.
This does not pose a problem as these children are being taught from their early pre-school years in English, in line with the current syllabus.
I also see a lot of differences and how at ease these students are when Maths and Science are taught in English. They are comfortable with the language.
This is not only true with Indian and Chinese students, but also with Malay students.

As a parent with young children and upcoming leaders, I would definitely prefer my child to have an early start in education and not let them be guinea pigs of hastily-made policies.
I do not want them to go through their education without mastering any language, whether English or Bahasa Malaysia.
It is also a fact that the outcome of any policy can be known only after many years, not within a mere six years.
I appeal to the government to let the teaching of Science and Maths in English to continue for now.
Phase it out gradually.

I hope the Education Ministry will consider the best option for these young children who are the leaders of tomorrow.

Math and Science: Sliding backwards

L. CHOO, Kuala Lumpur

WE will deprive the young ones who are starting school next year of a great start to education through picking up Science and Maths in English. We were, not long ago, applauding the bold and wise stand on raising the bar in the standard of English.

But, now, we are sliding back.
Schools and institutions that feel strongly about this decision should protest against it for the sake of our young ones. 

My personal comment:
Actually, the idea of the PPSMI is great... But, the implementation was bad.. And to scrap it might be a BIG mistake !!
Just for thoughts..
Have a nice day.....


Rusnizah said...

As someone who thought english at tertiary level, i was surprised the first time i thought the first batch student of PPSMI. Then i realised the reason why. They were not the best but they were better. At least they know more of what I was saying when I thought them. But pronunciation is a different thing. I do not know why they never bother to pronounce things correctly.
Like you said earlier, the implementation was bad...Indeed.... May be teachers at school have to be fully prepared with this implementation. Not sending them to certain hours of courses, then they are prepared. The idea was to give them sometime to study of what they have to thought. Preparation is important.... Now you have teachers who do not know how to pronounce things and use terms in class...and when student comment, they were angry and at the same time ashamed, then they blame the student for commenting them...????... Happened to my son at school... I was so surprised.... Are the students to be blamed if these kind of things happen at school? Think wise.... I understand that most of the teachers do not have enough time to study to teach in English. But, at least they have to learn bit by bit. And let the ministry that they need more time to learn. I also happened to have friends that thought these school teachers to use English as medium. Most of the teachers are above 45 years. And most of them wouldn't respect my friend because she was very young compared to them. They teases her most of the time. And "Take five" will take place every half an hour. They are not serious. And how the **** do you think these teachers will use English in their teaching. It is not that they do not know, they do not want and they never bother to learn. I am sorry, I am not saying that all teachers are the same. I respected to those who are trying their hard to get things right.
These are for the sake of our future generations. They will face all the consequences that we have set up. Let us look at this situation. In school and university, we are telling student that great CGPA will promise them great job. This only happen in fairytale land. Reality was, the better they sell themselves, the quicker they can get job. English has become the medium for interviews in many many companies nowadays. If they cannot communicate well, how do you think that these students can 'sell' themselves. Their vocabulary are very very limited. And confidence also very low. Let alone the pronunciation. How on earth do you think that these students can do well in an interview? If our country is like Japan where they do not care about English, then we can ignore this. But Malaysia is different. English has becoming the medium of everything nowadays. It has to start with us now for our children in the future.

DESS said...

There you go...., PPSMI 1 - MBMMBI 0.
We'll wait for the next comment. He, he..

Anonymous said...

A good account of what's happening in the real world. Good report from Miss Rusnizah. The problem now is that those MBMMBI supporters are not reading the English newspapers like the Star or the NST. They are reading the Utusan Melayu everyday or Kosmo or Metro.
Can we find a way of sending this message to those fanatics?

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