PETALING JAYA: Two activist groups have voiced their disappointment over the government’s decision against reintroducing the teaching of science and mathematics in English (PPSMI), a policy the previous administration had planned to revive.
Mak Chee Kin, who chairs the Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education (Magpie), said the arguments offered were weak.
He told FMT he did not agree that students in rural areas would be disadvantaged or that teachers were not ready.
“We need to give children the opportunity to learn the subjects in English through exposure,” he said. “We’ve had many ministers who come from rural areas but are able to speak well in English.”
As for the preparedness of teachers, he said the government could provide incentives and training to build their competence.
The Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE), in a statement sent to FMT, alleged that education policies were being subordinated to political motivations and said the nation’s children would be paying the price.
It said the government should be building upon “good progressive education policies for the future of our children”.
Education Minister Radzi Jidin told the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday the government had no plan to revive PPSMI, which was introduced in 2003 and discontinued 10 years later.
In 2018, Putrajaya introduced the Dual Language Programme (DLP), but last July, then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the revival of PPSMI was being considered, provoking an outcry from Malay advocacy groups and a number of teachers.
Both Magpie and PAGE said DLP should be continued. PAGE called for its expansion to more schools, saying it should benefit as many children as possible.
But Mak also said his group was still hopeful that PPSMI would be revived.
“When we talk about science and mathematics, the resources are mostly in English,” he said.
“It is better to expose children to learning in English at an early age. Otherwise, they will struggle to adjust when they further their studies.”
Fake or not? Check our quick fake news buster here.