Putrajaya studying return of PPSMI, says Dr M

Dr Mahathir Mohamad arrives at the Parliament building today, ahead of a vote on lowering voting age to 18.

KUALA LUMPUR: Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the education ministry is studying “in detail” the reintroduction of the Teaching and Learning of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI) policy first introduced in 2002.

“They are looking at a new system which will rely on the teaching of these two subjects in English through IT, where lessons taught by the best teacher will be recorded and used in all schools.

“This way, all students will see similar results,” the prime minister told the Dewan Rakyat today.

Mahathir was responding to Fahmi Fadzil (PH-Lembah Pantai) who asked if PPSMI would be re-introduced.

He said English is used internationally, including within the business community, while fluency in the language is taken into account during the hiring process.

The Langkawi MP added that new scientific developments are made all the time, and that research by experts is not written in Bahasa Malaysia.

“So English is important. Bahasa Malaysia translations cannot be made except by those who are fluent in English.

“If a person is fluent in English, he or she will gain easier access to new-found knowledge,” he said.

Mahathir gave the example of the Arabs whom he said were forced to learn Greek in order to widen their knowledge. Europeans, subsequently, needed to learn Arabic.

“And now the language of the Europeans has become the language of knowledge.

“If we want to learn from them, we need to learn their language.”

To a supplementary question from Fahmi, Mahathir said the National Education Advisory Council is still providing its views based on its study.

Generally, he said, opinions are split on whether Science and Mathematics should be taught in English.

The PPSMI policy, which was aimed at improving students’ command of English, was dropped in 2012 amid strong protest.

The government’s plan to reintroduce it in schools had teachers and Malay advocacy groups up in arms last month.