PETALING JAYA: The Melaka Action Group for Parents (Magpie) says teachers have not been properly trained to teach the contents in imported English textbooks.
In a statement today, Magpie chairman Mak Chee Kin said many teachers were worried and feeling stressed that they would not be able to teach their students properly.
“How are they going to teach when they themselves are not sure and have no experience using the books before?
“Worst still, they are not properly trained to handle the books,” he said.
The issue of imported textbooks was first raised by Bukit Bendara MP Zairil Khir Johari last month.
He had questioned why the government rushed the introduction of imported English language textbooks, saying the use of such books should be reconsidered.
The books in question are Super Minds from Cambridge University Press for primary school pupils, and MacMillan’s Pulse for secondary school students.
They are meant to replace local English textbooks, to align the curriculum with the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR).
Mak also said some teachers had told him that only one teacher was sent to attend a course on the imported textbooks’ syllabus.
“Each school was allowed to send only one teacher for the five-hour course.
“The reason given was budget constraints,” he said, adding that the teachers who attended the course were required to train other English teachers at their schools.
Mak said the teachers had claimed that the trainers only knew 80% of the content of the books.
“Teachers only get 80% of the trainer’s knowledge. When they go back to the school, they can only teach 80% of the knowledge to their colleagues.
“I want to know how much knowledge is then left to be passed on to the children.”
Mak said most teachers were in the dark as to how they were going to set English examination questions based on the textbooks’ syllabus.
“Why did the ministry have to rush the implementation?
“Even if we want our students or syllabus to meet international standards, it takes time to implement. This cannot be done overnight,” he said.
Zairil had said the new textbooks were far more expensive than the existing ones, with Super Minds priced at RM38.80 a copy, and Pulse 2 going for RM38.
Based on the current enrolment figures of 450,000 students in Year One and 400,000 in Form 1, he said the total cost of providing these textbooks for each child would amount to RM33 million.
This was in contrast with locally published textbooks, which cost less than RM10 a copy.