Those already in the PPSMI system will be allowed to continue learning Maths and Science in English until they complete their studies in Form 5, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said.He said this when announcing the soft landing approach to the shift away from PPSMI (Teaching of Science and Maths in English).
Below are highlights of his announcement:
> All Year 2 to Form 5 students who do their Maths and Science in English this year will be allowed to finish their studies in those subjects in English.
> Next year’s national school students of Year 3 to Year 6 would be allowed to continue their studies in both subjects in English, Bahasa Malaysia or both.
> Those who have been studying those subjects in Bahasa Malaysia, or both languages, would be allowed to continue studying entirely in Bahasa Malaysia.
> Teaching and learning of both subjects will be done entirely in Bahasa Malaysia in 2016 for primary schools.
> For secondary schools both subjects would be taught fully in Bahasa Malaysia in 2021.
But Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin stressed that it did not mean the government was making a U-turn in its decision to scrap the policy.
“With this decision, the abolition of PPSMI stays. The government does not plan to reintroduce the policy, as requested by several parties,” he told a press conference today.
Muhyiddin continued to defend the scrapping of PPSMI, saying it does not mean the government was neglecting the importance of mastering the English language.
He said the ministry was introducing new initiatives aimed at improving students’ English language skills like increasing contact hours for the subject, training teachers, improving the English curriculum under the ‘Primary School Curriculum Standards’ initiative, providing better quality reading materials and digital learning equipment in classrooms.
“The ministry is also studying several new initiatives to implement programmes like Oracy Skills (OPS-ENG), which aims to improve the students’ oratory skills,” he said.
Muhyiddin added a study by his ministry had found that at present, less than five per cent of 7,495 primary schools and under nine per cent of 2,192 secondary schools use English completely in the learning of mathematics and science.
He said the schools could continue to decide what medium of instruction to offer their students in school but the MBMMI policy must be used for those beginning Year Two in 2012.
English lobby group Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) and opposition parties have been demanding the Education Ministry stick to PPSMI and allow students the flexibility to choose between the languages, saying it would help the country to retain its best talents.
The growing row over the education policy has split the country along racial, political lines ahead of national polls likely to be called early next year.
Vocal fundamental groups are using the issue to champion their version of nationalism.
Several non-partisan civil societies have recently banded together to counter this tide but the powerful Malay-dominant political parties appear to be reluctant to commit to this hot potato issue ahead of the 13th general election.