GEORGE TOWN: The learning of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), in either Bahasa Malaysia or English, remains an option and cannot be forced on anyone, an education-interest group said, in taking a swipe at Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy.
Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) chairperson Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said the call by DAP’s Ramasamy to have the dual language programme (DLP) abolished was an insult to parents as it was their choice in the first place to have it put in place.
“The DLP is optional. Parents are asked the language of preference at the beginning of the school year and their children will be placed in the respective classes.
“It is clear that Ramasamy did not do his homework. What he has called for is regressive and careless. It is quite an insult to parents,” Azimah told FMT.
The DLP is the Education Ministry’s move to teach Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in English.
To qualify for DLP, schools must have adequate learning materials; willingness of the principal and teachers to implement DLP; full support from parents and students’ proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia must be better than the national average.
Ramasamy had said the ministry ought to abolish DLP as it was a danger to vernacular schools, especially Tamil schools.
He felt there was no need for Tamil school pupils to learn STEM in English or Bahasa Malaysia, as they fared well learning the subjects in Tamil. He said even Chinese schools had rejected DLP outright.
Although the DLP remains optional, the ministry had selected 300 schools in January 2015 to be part of a pilot programme.
Ramasamy said 49 Tamil schools were also selected to be part of the programme.
Azimah pointed out the DLP would be most beneficial to Tamil school pupils as they would have to adapt to either English or Bahasa Malaysia in secondary school eventually.
“There is no Tamil secondary school and most of these Tamil primary school pupils would have to go to secondary schools which teach these subjects in English or Bahasa Malaysia.
“Why cripple our children from young by holding back on the DLP? It will benefit them, opening the door for more opportunities,” she said.
Azimah said the DLP was conceived after a lot of study involving over 100 interested parties.
She said PAGE had an active role in analysing the programme, fixing loopholes and possible weaknesses in the system before it was implemented.
“We need to look beyond the DLP as it would ensure our children have jobs and a better future.”