Sunday, October 23, 2011

Yes to PPSMI !!!

Yes to PPSMI: ‘Don’t play political games’

PETALING JAYA: 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.
No official statement
Another parent, S Natha Kumar, told FMT that he was worried that Malaysia would eventually turn into a despicable state like Zimbabwe if English was not given priority.
“IT programming language is in English, the international medium of instruction is in English. I’m here not only for the sake of my children but also for the country’s future.
“If we cannot compete in a globalised world, I’m afraid we might turn into another Zimbabwe in the future,” said the father of two teenagers, who are both studying in a national school here.
Nantha also took a swipe at the government for not issuing an official statement to end the uncertainty facing Form Three students.
These students have learnt Science and Mathematics in English since Form One but now have to switch to learning in Bahasa when they move to Form Four next year. This came about as a result of the implementation of the “Upholding the Malay Language and Strengthening Command of English (MBMMBI)” policy.
“The headmistress at my daugther’s school said that her school is not affected but the education ministry must come out with an official statement,
“Also, we parents are important stakeholders, so the government must consult us before deciding on the matter,” Nantha said.
PPSMI was introduced in 2003 by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who believed that the policy would boost Malaysia’s progress and global competitiveness.
By 2008, PPSMI had been fully implemented in all primary and secondary schools nationwide.
In 2009, however, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also Education Minister, announced that PPSMI would be abolished as it had failed to achieve its objective of raising students’ proficiency in English.
The policy has been replaced by MBMMBI.
Another parent, Rohiny Chandran, a former teacher, said that this reversal in policy would mean that a lot of time would be wasted translating books into Bahasa Malaysia.
“I have helped with translation work before for the education ministry. I was one of the few teachers commissioned to translate some topics in Mathematics,” she said.
“It was so time-consuming. It is not direct translation, but you have to translate in such a way that students will understand the concepts,” she told FMT.
“For students who have learnt the subject in English all this while, the sudden switch to Bahasa Malaysia would affect their studies.
“They will be struggling to understand the language (Bahasa Malaysia) half the time and the other half will be wasted trying to understand the concepts.”
A student, Tedrick Chia, 15, feels anxious and uncertain over the sudden switch in the medium of instruction.
“I have been learning Mathematics and Science in English all this while…. it’s so much easier to understand it in English,” he added.
Tarani Palani, October 22, 2011, Free Malaysia Today.

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