I strongly urge the government to reconsider the announcement made by the Prime Minister cum Acting Minister of Education, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad over the possible revival of the use of English in the teaching of science and mathematics in Malaysian schools.
We must accept the importance of English, but to reintroduce PPSMI has a major impact on the effectiveness of education. It is hence important for us to recall why the PPSMI was abandoned back in 2012.
Basically, the PPSMI as implemented led to students with weak English skills facing difficulty in learning mathematics and science.
An entire generation of students from such backgrounds were arguably “lost” to those subjects as a result.
Indeed, there were teachers during that period who faced the dilemma whether to make the switch to English as they had students who simply could not keep up.
This was to say nothing of the fact that there were also educators whose English was not good and who could not be brought up to scratch or be easily replaced.
We must be clear about what our objectives are in the first place.
If Malaysians want to strengthen the standard of English among students, we should work to improve the quality of that subject and its syllabus in our schools.
That would do more to improve the standard of English in our country rather than switching the teaching of other subjects to it.
On the other hand, if we want to strengthen our mastery of mathematics and science, we should not forget that the Dual Language Programme (DLP) has been in place since 2016.
The DLP basically gives eligible schools the flexibility to use either Malay or English in their teaching based on the capacities of their students and choice of parents.
I am sure that this is the better approach as parents and individual schools will have a better gauge of their own students and teacher’s abilities compared to a one-size-fits-all system.
Look I am a father of a school-going kid in a national school. I would rather the government make the existing system work than keep tinkering with things.
We should avoid making sudden and changes to our education system without planning and patience. The students and teachers will suffer as a result.
We should be seeking to uphold the spirit of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 that was issued by the-then Minister of Education, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. The parameters that it set ought to remain the framework that governs our educational policies.
Our focus should be ensuring that all Malaysians have access to the best educational opportunities possible as well as boosting investment in the same.
Also, efforts to strengthen Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) should continue, as well as ensuring that our students at all levels are being prepared to compete in the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Again, what is required is consultation, foresight and patience.
NIK NAZMI NIK AHMAD
KEADILAN CHIEF ORGANISING SECRETARY
KEADILAN CENTRAL LEADERSHIP COUNCIL MEMBER
SETIAWANGSA MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT