Friday, October 22, 2010



I received a pleasant surprise this morning.., at 9.42am.  An email from the Prime Minister of Malaysia, inviting me to have dinner with him, at his official residence in Putrajaya on the 5th of November, 2010. I was speechless for about 10 minutes before breaking the news to my colleagues. You know how I felt.... I was over the moon !!! Better still, I was over planet Pluto !!!

What I'm about to write in this post suddenly pop-up after receiving that email. I was wondering..., wouldn't it be nice if Malaysian schools have two mediums - the Malay Medium and the English Medium - like we used to have in the 60's and 70's... But this time, only for Science and Maths subjects. Let's call it the PPSMI medium and the PPSMM medium.
PPSMI will have Science and Mathematics in English, while PPSMM will have Science and Mathematics in Malay. Wonderful idea, isn't it? I think I'll forward the idea to the Prime Minister at the dinner, this 5th November.
In this way, parents who have 2020 vision don't have to send their kids to International schools or private schools in Singapore. We don't have good private schools in Malaysia.., except for, that Kolej Yayasan Saad (KYS) in Malacca...
Parents who are so inclined to Bahasa Melayu can send their kids to normal schools that have the PPSMM medium. They don't have to complain anymore about the difficulties studying Maths and Science in English..
That brings to the question of the choice of schools that provides the PPSMI or the PPSMM. All daily schools will cater the normal PPSMM. Selected high performance schools (Sekolah Berprestasi Tinggi) like Sultanah Asma in Alor Setar and Cluster schools (Sekolah Kluster) like SMK Derma, Kangar, will cater for the PPSMI.  Now....that's what I call  "Fair and Square"...
I'm sure a lot of teachers themselves will agree totally on this idea.. If you not well versed in English, go to the normal daily schools... Don't make so much noise after this... and make sure your own kids stays with you !!

Just for your information, I've received a lot of positive feedback from my former students all over the world, stating that the PPSMI had really helped them in their tertiary education. I dare say, all of them. Nobody is complaining. Even, lecturers in universities and institutes of higher learning have expressed satisfaction on the standard and attitude of the product of the PPSMI students in their English classes. They claimed that the students are more capable of speaking better English compared to the previous batches. What is more important is their attitude towards the English language... That's positive feedback !!! You can refer to a comment on my post recently on "The importance of the PPSMI".

Well, well, well.... I hope this idea will matters soon... Abolishing the PPSMI is a big mistake !! Take my word for it...
Have a nice day...

As usual, I'm not alone. 2 comments in the NST today to support my views...
Science and Maths: Our kids shouldn't be left behind
I REFER to the report "It begins next year" (New Sunday Times, Oct 17) and wish to state that the Education Ministry has done a grave injustice to our children, including the children of teachers, who want to continue to pursue the learning of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI), a policy implemented by our visionary leader and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The ministry has said that the bilingual option will be available for schools to choose next year until 2015.

As head of the parent committee of SMK Seri Hartamas, I urge our Science and Mathematics teachers in this school to continue to teach these subjects fully in English until 2015, allowing the Form One students coming in next year to completely learn these two subjects in this language until they finish, reflecting the results of an earlier survey among our parents.

This appeal, in line with the spirit of the Education Act 1996, which states that children should be educated according to the wishes of their parents, will better prepare our students when they leave to pursue Form Six/college and be on a par with Malaysian students at international schools comprising children of policymakers who claim this is the best they can do for our children.
If policymakers are truly sincere about the education of our children, then we would like to see our children being educated on a level playing field with their children and, therefore, vie equally for the 3.3 million jobs that the Economic Transformation Programme will create for them.

PPSMI has made the national schools the school of choice and they are not necessarily confined to urbanites but people as far as the interiors of Sabah and Sarawak.

In turn, national schools are best at nurturing integration at an early age without having to wait for Khidmat Negara (National Service).

The learning of Science and Mathematics in English should not be exclusively for the rich. Isn't "inclusiveness" the word of the day nowadays?

The decision to support PPSMI is to give students of national schools the right to the best education the country can provide. The slogan "people first, performance now" must be executed, not just uttered.

We urge the government to give schools the option to teach mathematics and science in English, Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin or Tamil, not forgetting that the students of national schools are the rakyat, too.

SALMAH ABU BAKARHead of Parent CommitteeSMK Seri HartamasKuala Lumpur

Give them a choice
IN the reply by the Corporate Communications Unit of the Education Ministry (NST, Oct 11) on the topic of reverting to the teaching of Science and Mathematics in Bahasa Malaysia, spokesperson Mohd Solihan Badri said that the decision to reverse the language of instruction was in line with Article 152 of the Malaysian Constitution, which ensures the freedom to teach in other languages, including English, Chinese or Tamil.

He said it was also in accordance with the Education Act 1996 (Act 550), which states that the national language is the main medium of instruction, including the teaching of Science and Mathematics in national schools, while Chinese or Tamil can be the main medium of instruction in Chinese and Tamil schools.

To fulfil the provisions of the two acts, this means that Science and Mathematics can only be taught in three languages, that is Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese or Tamil because there are essentially national schools, Chinese and Indian schools in Malaysia (if we do not take into account private schools).

As a 39-year-old Malaysian, I am grateful for having learned Bahasa Malaysia and English for it is Bahasa Malaysia which is the "glue" of Malaysians and English, the language of local and international competition.

Bahasa Malaysia helps me converse and connect in my dealings with people working in the ministry while English is used whenever I do online research for data and knowledge presentations.

I am lucky to have travelled to some Asean and Asian countries and have seen how students there are taking every opportunity to speak English with foreigners and friends alike. Please remember that Malaysia is a trading nation, beautifully located in the middle of all the larger trading continents, connecting the West with the East.

The importance of Bahasa Malaysia should always be enshrined because we are all Bangsa Malaysia. At the same time, we must realise that to learn in universities, exchange or absorb knowledge from elsewhere, and to get more foreign investments into Malaysia, the ability to think and speak English is also of equal importance, more so now that our neighbours around us are narrowing this gap in English.

We should also realise that rules made a decade ago were for that time and purpose while in this decade, with knowledge readily available through the Internet via laptops, iPhones or iPads, we should make teaching in English a choice for the parents, and work according to demand and supply. Here I propose two things:

One, to amend the Education Act of 1996 (Act 550) to be relevant and include English in obtaining knowledge.

Two, to let parents have a choice by getting the Education Ministry to look into allowing urban national schools to continue using English side by side with Bahasa Malaysia. I am very sure there are many Malaysians who understand that English will provide their children that extra edge in life later.

Lastly, how about some input from Victoria Institution, Penang Free School and the La Sallean schools, which are great in producing high-calibre students, statesmen and professionals? 
Have a nice day....


hanan said...

its a good idea sir!
im with u.. : )
so,people can choose which language they want before entering school offered language they want

DESS said...


Amin said...

People who don't like the PPSMI are the orthodox generations. It's a good idea to have the PPSMM instead of the MBMMBI.

Anonymous said...

Typical Malays. No vision. Luckily we have Tun Mahathir. If we had Abdullahs all the while, it will be MBM all the while.

jeej said...

Lots have been done to implement this. What are the drawbacks that the government wants to revert back? If they said that the student cannot perform in school, i have student both from urban and suburban school, and their achievement are almost the same. At least the students from 'kampung school' can used words like differentiation, variables, equations, acceleration etc comfortably without having to refer to the dictionary. This is the reality. I am not saying that they are perfect in their grammar. Grammar is a different thing and vocabulary is another. We are not born as having english as our mother tongue. Even most of the english speaking people are not perfect in their grammar. Most of the successful scholars themselves also are not perfect in the english grammar BUT they are able to convey their thought and express their feeling. The most important thing is the vocabulary. They have to be exposed to english from the early age. These students performance in the tertiary education are better then before. So, why do we have to change? The students labelled themselves as the 'guinea pig'. This is true. Pity them and stop making them one!

DESS said...


Post a Comment